Creative writing for the little people is not the same as writing for adults In fact, it may even be more difficult, as the first qualification of writing for children is being able to think like a child

Creative writing for the little people is not the same as writing for adults. In fact, it may even be more difficult, as the first qualification of writing for children is being able to think like a child. While that may not be a problem for the life of the party who likes to play with flatulence pillows, it is a challenge for most people.

The best research you can do is to play with children and listen to them talk. You will be amazed at their patterns of logic. Once upon a time my daughter asked me whether a zebra had black stripes on white, or white stripes on black. Another time she asked whether there might be a dark blue piece of material across the night sky and it was blocking the sunlight. She asked if the material might have little holes in it, and if we might be seeing the sunlight through those little holes, but that we called the little holes "stars". What an exciting way to see nightfall – but to adults, it is just a midnight sky with stars.

If you want the proper perspective of a child, pretend that you can think clearly but that you have limited expressive skills; then stoop down and twist your neck to look up at a six-foot tall person standing over you.

When you write for children, be ready to paint the unbelievable… such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny delivering goodies to the world in one night. Fantasy fits into their make believe world perfectly. Think of personification with tables, chairs, marching knives and forks, etc. Look at everything with wonder, and see it as an opportunity for investigation, because this is how children see life.

When you set the scene, set it as though you are looking through a child's eyes. For example, if a little boy walks into a newly decorated living room with a tray of cookies in it, what would he notice first? The new sofa, chair, carpet and drapes? Or the cookies? It would be the cookies, of course. He would be able to tell you every kind of cookie on the try, but it would be unlikely that he would notice the change in furniture until the cookies were gone.

One of the best ways to get into the proper mood is to revisit your own childhood and think in the terms you used then. Remember the things that seemed so important to you at the time? Did you do magic tricks? Did you try ventriloquism? Did you make mud pies and feed them to your dolls? Did you have tea parties? Catch lightening bugs and put them in a jar? Lie in bed and listen to the cricket outside your window?

When you are able to harness your childhood memories and add that mood to listening and watching children of the 21st century, you will do just fine in writing a story for children. For more writer's tips, see below.