The other day I was asked for my do’s and don’ts when writing for children. I resisted, with difficulty, the obvious reply – don’t write for children (or at least not if you seek an easy, lucrative living) and attempted to say something sensible. It was more difficult than I thought. So off the top of my head:
Don’t patronise your readers – children are demanding readers and hate being patronised as much as I do. They will notice if a plot doesn’t make sense, and being cute is no substitute for being entertaining.
Do think about the age of your would be readers and their interests.
Don’t make your sentences too long, your language too complex and don’t try to show off. Delete any beautiful sentences that stand out – chances are they belong to another book.
Do write vividly and clearly.
Don’t summarise events too much and get lost in your characters’ heads.
Do dramatise as much as you can ( ie show don’t tell, but I hate that phrase.)
Don’t write stereotypyes
Do write compelling characters (though that one is a bit hard to define.)
Don’t expect to be the next JK Rowling/Stephanie Meyer/ random multimillionaire writer.
Do enjoy what you do because if you don’t there is very little point
What would yours be?