My age is not an age for giving advice. Much less advice about literature and much, much less, about children's literature and how to write children's stories. I say this because I believe that of all types of literature, it has been children's literature that has raised the simplest and at the same time the deepest issues of human existence.
Let me just share with you some ideas, which might be useful for those interested in writing children's literature; simple ideas derived from my work and that perhaps could be ideas of how to write stories for children.
How to write stories for children
1. Save yourself from infantilism
One of the things I try to watch out for is childishness in language. That is, one thing is children's literature and another is infantilism, which treats the child as someone who cannot understand or who is limited in some way. Never underestimate the abilities of children.
2. Write for wise
I think that when you write for children, you have to think that you are really writing for wise men. How to talk to a little girl or a little sage? That's the tricky thing about writing for kids. Perhaps it is the great challenge of children's literature to find the appropriate tone to speak to such venerable beings.
3. The subject can be any
The topic? Well life. Discoveries. There is always a moment in life when one discovers things for the first time. And I think that's what children's literature should be: a treasure, a source of discoveries for children. So the subject can be any ... whatever life is. Other subjects outside of that would interest a wise person?
4. Simply wonderful
Talk to the children about what you really believe in; of what is truly wonderful for you. And let your own amazement flood the children's eyes. If you write about something that is not amazing to you, you will hardly be able to surprise someone, not even an adult. To amaze anything goes: give voice to animals, give life to objects, create new worlds if necessary. If something is small, make it very small. If something is big then describe it as giant. Add an extra leg, or a third eye if necessary, but when you tell it, tell it from the heart, tell it as telling your truth and little by little you will discover how to write stories for children.
5. Don't be a mystic in your work (especially if you are not a mystic)
I particularly discard the issues that have to do with superheroes, ghosts, gods, even the ancestral ones. I've never felt good talking to children about those things that I don't believe in; It has always seemed a bit immoral to me. With children you have to be honest and it is not fair to talk to them about things or even values in which we really do not believe.
6. Be a libertarian in your work (if you are a libertarian)
But if instead you are libertarian, anti-authoritarian, make your stories speak of what you are. You do the world a great favor by making libertarian stories. You do great good by giving the world less obedience and more rebellion. Don't be afraid to talk about freedom in your stories. Outside there are many adults with fear of freedom that surround children. Don't be one more. Your stories may offend some of those adults or say that your stories are too strong for a child. But I have good news for you: children are not offended by freedom.
7. Don't seek to indoctrinate
Indoctrinating tales are a failure. They're terrible... Even if his message has goodwill and is disguised among the verdicts of history, a moderately critical reader will be able to know what a story was written for. For example... books to learn how to go to the bathroom... books to love God... books to learn the name of vowels, etc. They work well as educational cards... but they're far from childish literature. In short: no indoctrines, it simply counts and little by little you will discover how children's stories are written.
8. Don't be afraid to erase
To know how to write you have to know how to delete. Write and delete as many times as necessary. The school places special emphasis on writing... but little to erase. And it's critical to do so. Change the order, move, go from front to back, paraphrase. It's not always better as you first wrote it.
9. Stay away for a while
The dough is left to rest to make a good bread. When you write, pull him as far as you can. if it doesn't give you more don't write anymore. Hold on. Return to the text when you deem it necessary and read it as if it were the first time you read it. If you're capable, forget you wrote it yourself.
10. Tell your own story
Read aloud. If possible, record it as if some narrator told it. And this is very
important: if reading does not flow aloud, much less silent reading will flow. Rewrite, remove the unnecessary, debug and add where it is missing. Tell the story to others without reading the story. A good story can be summed up as you sometimes tell a good movie to someone who hasn't seen it.
11. When you finish typing...
When you feel like you're done, start another story, as Cherezada told her stories so she wouldn't die. Keep writing for a thousand and one nights or more.
I hope that these tips on how to write children's stories will be useful for all those who are interested in dedicating their time and work to children's literature.
Photography by: JeremyOK. Flickr. Creative Commons.