If you’re writing a children’s book you might find this first page check list handy when you’re revising your work. Ask yourself the following five questions.
1) Have you started with something that will grab your reader’s interest?
Children usually glance at the opening paragraph of a book and if it doesn’t appeal to them they probably won’t read any further. So don’t waste words describing the sunset, start with action, dialogue, in the middle of a scene or just before a big life change. Grab their attention – and hold it.
2) Have you introduced the protagonist?
It’s best to introduce the protagonist within the first couple of sentences. Let your reader know who the story is about, their name, age and something about their personality that will instantly attract the reader’s interest and want them to read what happens to them.
3) Have you set the scene?
Where does your story take place? At home, at school, on a farm, in space? What time of year it is? Is it a weekday, a weekend, a school holiday? Let your readers know as soon as possible so they can place the character in a setting.
4) Have you introduced the problem?
If a character doesn’t have a problem to solve then you don’t have a story. Make sure that your readers know what your protagonist is trying to achieve or overcome, so they can identify and sympathise with your character and be rooting for them. It’s also a good idea to give a hint of what’s stopping them from achieving this, of how high the stakes are if they fail.
5) Have you set the mood?
What sort of story is it? Funny, adventure, scary? This should be clear in the opening paragraph then your reader will know what to expect from your story and get in the right mood to read it.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Do share your own tips with us by commenting below.
For further writing tips you might like to read my book GET WRITING CHILDREN’S FICTION.
Available as an e-book and in print from Amazon and other bookstores.