So in the spirit of sharing here are the five rules I've drawn up based on the feedback I've received over the years.
Don't write about inanimate objects, especially those that talk. Talking and thinking inanimate objects is old fashioned. Children don't like to be 'talked down' to so they won't believe that inanimate objects can have a life of their own. So talking socks - oh no talking socks would never make a good story.
|An epic adventure that starts |
in a sock drawer.
Don't write about things considered to be 'adult' topics things like death, disability, bullying etc. So nothing like Gilbert the Great which deals with the lose of a friend - that'd never reach the shelves.
|Gilbert The Great White Shark |
loses a friend.
Never ever write about a character that is not cute. Children and adults can't bond with un-cute characters, they want a character that has the arrr! factor.
|Trolls aren't cute but I think I got away with it because|
this story relies on humour.
If you want your story to be published then it should have a 'proper' story arch with a beginning, middle and end. One where your character changes, gains or learns something. So a book where you make choices on behalf of the character would never get published.
|Well it does work and so well that this title has been|
followed by another including colouring books.
Your story should always have a happy ending. Leave your reader feeling positive. There's enough sadness in the world, so you don't have to introduce it to young readers in a book.
So now you know the rules guess what? Go on break them! If it worked for these authors then it might work for you.
|You'd never think a picture book where one of the main|
characters eats the other would work, but it does.
Mmmm what rule can I go and break?
Now for a blatant plug, so please feel free to stop reading now:
My latest short story collection Coyote Tales Retold is available on Amazon in ebook format. Also available Meet The Tricksters a collection of 18 short stories featuring Anansi the Trickster Spider, Brer Rabbit and Coyote is available as a paper back and an ebook.I run the following online courses for Women On Writing:
How to write A children's book and get published
5 picture books in 5 weeks
How to write a hobby-based how to book