Creating a Children's Book

I'm always excited when I visit an elementary school and discover that children are creating books before they can even write!  By dictating their stories to their teachers, they learn how to structure their ideas and even create illustrations to go along with them.

So it came as a delightful surprise how much I could actually teach them about the process I use in creating a children's book.  Please share this with the little writers in your life!

Create You Character

Every story needs a main character.  So the first thing you will want to do is decide who your main character will be.  It can be human, or it can be an animal.  You will also need to decide whether it will be a girl or a boy.

Give Your Character a Name

Naming your character is like naming a pet.  If you've ever had a puppy or a kitty or even a parakeet, you know how much fun it can be to choose a name!  Choosing a name for the character you have created is also fun!

Draw a Picture of Your Character

I always love to know what my character is going to look like. Having a picture of your character will help you determine his or her personality as well.  If you like to draw, you may wish to draw your own character.  If not, perhaps you know someone who likes to draw and can draw your character for you.

Give Your Character a Personality

A personality describes who your character is.  It is what makes your character special and sets it apart from all the other characters in the universe.  You must decide what kind of personality your character will have in  your story.
 
I am going to list the different personalities of two of my favorite characters, so that you will better understand what I mean.  Then you can create your own personality for your character.
 
PJ Funnybunny: He is fun-loving, an average student in school, a leader amongst his friends, a little bit spoiled, stubborn, athletic and at times he can be very ornery. 
 
Alice From Dallas: She is a spunky little girl who loves anything having to do with cowgirls.  She wears cowgirl hats and boots.  She rides a stick pony.  And she dances to cowgirl music.

Put Your Character in a Situation

When you know your character's personality, you know exactly what your character will do in any situation.  So choose a situation and see what happens!  (Your story will almost write itself at this point!)
 
For example, when I wrote "Alice From Dallas", I asked myself the questions: "What would happen if Alice wasn't the only cowgirl in school?  What if a new girl moved to town from Texas wearing fancy cowgirl boots?"  By asking these questions, I had many ideas as to what would happen and "Alice From Dallas" began to write itself!

Your Story Must Have a Beginning, Middle and End

It is very important that you know how your story will start, what will happen in the middle and how it will end before you even begin writing.  For me, this is the hardest part of the writing process, and it often takes the longest amount of time.  In the long run, it will save you time, however, because when you start writing, you will know what is going to happen along the way and how it is going to end.  

Sometimes I like to lie down, close my eyes and picture my character in a situation, watching how he or she will act.  This is when you really begin to use your imagination!  It's so much fun because you can create whatever you want to have happen. You are in charge!