How to Write a Children's Christmas Story

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Writing for children requires a great story, intriguing characters and descriptive detail, all couched in vocabulary appropriate to the age group. Use resources such as Alijandra Mogilner's "Children's Writer's Word Book," which is invaluable to the aspiring children's author. Create a book as a gift or to submit for publication by following basic guidelines.

  • Choose a type of story. Will you write fiction or fact? Is your setting contemporary or historical? Brandon Marie Miller, award-winning author of children's nonfiction, points out that fact-based books appeal to teachers and librarians as well as young readers.

  • Who is your target audience---are you writing for preschoolers or pre-teens? Language, configuration and word count change with each age group. Decide on the age group before beginning to write. Read books written for the age group to get a feel for the content.

  • Pick a theme. Is your story a religious one or secular? Examine the spectrum of Christmas celebrations to find ideas. Retell the Nativity story, spend Christmas in a historic setting, share a cultural tradition or visit an elf at the North Pole to find a focal point.

  • Conduct appropriate research. Identify the period attire, typical foodstuffs, method of travel and jobs available for the designated setting of the story. Make the story believable by making the setting accurate.

  • Identify the main characters. Choose names that are sufficiently different to avoid confusion on the part of young readers.

  • Outline the story to some degree. Some writers prefer a generic outline: Dad takes son to zoo for Christmas and they see many animals. Other authors outline almost every sentence, describing the order in which they saw what animal.

  • Begin the story, drawing on your research and decisions. Keep the action moving in a linear time line, straightforward and clear. Use dialog to advance the story and involve the reader. Bring the story to a clear conclusion.

Tips & Warnings

  • Writing for children requires tight editing. Rewrite the story as needed to achieve a story appropriate for the target audience. Read the story aloud---does it sound appropriate for the age group? Have children in the age group read or listen to the story and check their reaction.
  • Keep the story focused. If you try to cover too many ideas in one story, the audience will be confused. One well-developed scenario will be much more effective than an abundance of clever, but unrealized thoughts.

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