If you want to jump into the business of writing children’s fiction, you may be unsure where to start. Maybe you have an idea but aren’t sure how to get it on the page, or perhaps you’re not yet sure what to write about, but you have a strong desire to create an entertaining tale for young readers.

Getting your kids’ story to the level of such writers as Daniel Handler, who is the name behind the fictional author Lemony Snicket, is not generally something you can just sit down to do without any prior experience or guidance. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you get started.

Read Children’s Books

This might feel like a no brainer, but you’ve got to be a reader to be a writer. When you read, pay attention to how the author crafted the story. Take notes and get a feel for what style of book you want to write.

Craft an Idea

Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. Practice letting your imagination go with writing exercises and asking what-if questions. As author Daniel Handler says, “I take a lot of notes and I put them in drawers.”

Make Your Story Engaging for Kids

Think of the stories the kids you know enjoy from books, movies, and television. What plot elements keep them interested and wanting to know more? Keep your books age appropriate and not overly complex, but don’t underestimate a child’s ability to learn new words.

Get Feedback and Edit

Share your story with some kids and adults that you trust to give you honest feedback, and take it all in objectively. Then be ruthless in your editing but true to your voice.

Once you’ve got your story complete, you’re ready to decide the next steps for your author business. Do you want to get an agent and go for a traditional publishing deal or are you ready to find an illustrator and self-publish? Both options are viable and come with their own challenges and rewards.

About the author

Cindy