Friday, Oct 16, 2009

Common Mistakes Made by Children’s Writers

I love to write for children and, over the years, I’ve had articles, short stories, and poems, as well as three books, published for kids. As I have worked with both editors and writers, I have discovered some common mistakes made by most children’s writers along the way to publication. Take a look and see if they apply to you. 

1. There is no good opening hook to draw in the reader.

2. An adult rescues the child protagonist, solves his problem, and saves the day.

3. Dialogue is not age-appropriate nor generation-appropriate.

4. The story is “told” and not “shown”.

5. The author uses more than one point of view.

6. There are too many adjectives and adverbs.

7. The verbs are weak.

8. There is little conflict.

Although these are only a few of the mistakes made by children’s writers, they are among the most common. If you recognized any mistakes you are making, find a more experienced children’s writer and learn how to correct your mistakes. It could make the difference between an abandoned manuscript and a sale. 

P.S. If you need an editor for your children’s manuscript, check out our very own Pam Halter at

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4 thoughts on “Common Mistakes Made by Children’s Writers

  1. You are right on, Mary Ann. Another thing people think is that it’s easier to write for children because the books are shorter. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A shorter book means you have to say the same thing but with less words! Every word counts.

    Thanks for the plug! 🙂

    October 16, 2009 at 5:05 PM