31/10/2017
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How to write a children's story: Ian Beck

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Top tips on how to write a children's story from Ian Beck, who will illustrate the winning story in Amazon's A (New) Christmas Carol Short Story Competition

Child's Eye View

Try and see things from a child reader’s perspective. What is important to them or was important to yourself when you were a child. Try to be in touch with that child self, and remember the heightened emotions, the intense fears and joys, and the highs and lows.

Picture it

Remember that in a story of this kind, which will be heavily illustrated, the pictures will do some of the heavy lifting. There is no need, for instance, to waste words by saying that the sky was blue as the picture will (hopefully) do that for you.

Read Aloud

Concentrate on the arc of the story, the poetry of the words, the fit and sound of them working together. Reading aloud to yourself (or a child!) what you have written is a pretty good way to find the false steps in your text.

Best known for his beautifully illustrated picture books, Ian Beck has illustrated classic fairy tales and nursery stories and his own picture book titles for 35 years. He notably also illustrated Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. Most recently, he has illustrated The Jungle Books and Just So Stories (Alma Books) which were published in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Amazon's A (New) Christmas Carol short story competition is for a modern-day children's Christmas Story inspired by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The prize package includes worldwide publication through Kindle Direct Publishing and a £2,000 Amazon giftcard. Entry is free, and the closing date is 7 November. For full details, see the website.

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