Writing for Children's Magazines
An Ezine
 

 

  Keeping It Lively  

  By Marilyn Kratz

 

 

 

Writing stories for very young children may seem simple to some people. Those people are NOT writers! The very elements which make these stories seem easy to write – uncomplicated plots, likeable characters, simple vocabulary – become a challenge when you consider that you must include all of those elements and yet create a story with enough sparkle to interest an audience which is known for its short attention span.

Fortunately, there are several techniques you can use which will help start these tiny “wiggle worms” on their metamorphosis into “book worms.” Not all of these will apply to every story you write, but perhaps one of them will be just the sparkler your story needs to make it livelier.

1. Use conversation as much as possible. It brings immediacy to your story and holds the listener’s attention. Keep speeches of each character brief for easier understanding. By giving your main character the first direct quotation in a story, you help establish viewpoint. Dialog is also an excellent vehicle for moving your story’s action along and for inserting necessary descriptive details and establishing moods of characters.

2. Rhyme is not easy to use successfully. In fact, editors seem hesitant to consider rhymed work because many rhymed stories sound strained. However, children love rhymed stories, especially if they are humorous. By reading published rhymed stories, you can get a feel for this type of storytelling. If doing your entire story in rhyme won’t work for you, you may try inserting a few rhyming elements.

3. Alliteration – repeating beginning sounds of words – is fun for youngsters to hear. It also helps them remember details. For example, they are more apt to remember a character named Pretty Patty Pennypaw than one named Suzy Brown – and they will have fun saying it. Please remember that alliteration is something like cayenne pepper – a little bit enhances; too much overpowers!

4. Little children love animals and the sounds they make. Sometimes you’ll have your animal characters talk as humans do. But try to incorporate their animal sounds once in a while. For example, “I’m in the moo-d for a parade,” Cora Cow said.

5. Repeating words or phrases adds rhythm to your story. After hearing an element repeated a time or two, youngsters begin to listen for it and delight in saying it with the reader.

All these devices are simply “glitter.” They will not help you if you don’t have a good story to tell. But, properly used, they will turn your good stories into lively stories that capture the attention of little children who are just beginning to discover the wonders to be found inside the covers of a book.



Writing for Children's Magazines, November 2017           Copyright Marilyn Kratz
 

 

 

   
Marilyn Kratz has been a free lance writer for 45 years. In that time she has had 5 books and almost 800 magazine stories, articles, and poems published, mostly in children's magazines such as Highlights for Children, High Five, Hello, Cricket group magazines and church school publications. Her newest book is Quilts and Country Gardens - Remembering a Simpler Time, which is available on Amazon.com. She is a retired elementary teacher and a member of SCBWI.

 

 


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