How to Write a Children’s Book Book Excerpt

Mining Continued

In the last excerpt from the How to Write a Children’s Book book, I walked you through the first part of the mining process.

In this section, we move on to the second part of mining which is one of the most important parts of the writing process: choosing.

Here’s another excerpt for you:

 To continue the mining process, we are going to – dare I say it – choose only three. Only three items on your list will make it through to the next round. But, dear writer, you cannot just choose your favorites. Oh, no. They have to meet certain criteria.

CRITERIA

 The items you select from your list must meet the following criteria:

  1. You must have more to say on the subject.
  2. You must be interested in writing about the topic.
  3. It must be easy to write.

More to Say

 During the continued mining session, you might have found yourself spending more time on one item than the others. The details came you to quickly and easily. You may have even stopped filling in the details because there were far too many. If you had an item like that, choose it to move on to the next round. You clearly have more to write about this item.

Interested

 If you found yourself thinking about a particular item after your ten-minute mining session concluded, you might have another candidate to move on to the next round. Perhaps, you wrote something on your list that is an area of expertise for you or is a hobby of yours. If it can easily be translated into teachable content for children, then bingo! It makes it to the next round.

Easy to Write

 The subject of your book must be easy for you to write. If there is research or planning involved in an item on your list, skip it for now. You’ve got your whole life to work on the other items, but right now is your time to finish a book.  

 Choose the items that feel like you could write it in a day. Find the story subjects that seem to write themselves. Those make it to the next round.


Thanks for reading this preview section. If you enjoy what you’re reading, you may want to check out the How to Write a Children’s Book course on Skillshare and Udemy.

If you’ve already taken the class, please let other students how it’s going by leaving a review or a comment in the class. If you’ve finished your children’s story, let me know! That’s a big deal! Tell everyone!

How to Write a Children’s Book Book Excerpt

Another one thousand words towards to the How to Write a Children’s Book book in the bank today.

Here’s another excerpt for you:

Mining for Ideas

You might have felt like you could have done more after the brainstorming segment, and you’re right. There is more beneath the surface of your ideas and concepts. To get there, we need to do a little mining.

MINING

In this step, we will start to figure out which ideas and concepts have legs. You might have an item on your list that you are passionate about or one that is your favorite.  You may be tempted to work only on that idea, but what mining will show us is that being the favorite or most interesting does not always matter.

To mine your list, you will need to read over it and add in little details about each item on that list. Some items on your list will prompt single word details like colors, smells, or locations. 

You may come across an item on your list that yields nothing extra. When you come across items like this, ask yourself your favorite five questions from every English Literature class you’ve ever taken: who, what, when, where, and how. Answer as many of those questions you can, and then move on to the next item.

Being fast is essential. This is not a time to linger. To ensure you do not set up camp here, you’ll need to set a timer for ten minutes. You have ten minutes to fill in story details in an efficient way. Here and now,  punctuation is not important. Spelling doesn’t matter. Typically, no one will see this phase of your work, so do not be precious.


Thanks for reading this preview section. If you enjoy what you’re reading, you may want to check out the How to Write a Children’s Book course on Skillshare and Udemy.

If you’ve already taken the class, please let other students how it’s going by leaving a review or a comment in the class. If you’ve finished your children’s story, let me know! That’s a big deal! Tell everyone!

Brainstorming Actions – How to Write a Children’s Book Book Excerpt

Here is another excerpt from the How to Write a Children’s Book book. To read the previous excerpt which will make this one make more sense, click here: https://hellothisisbarbara.com/2020/04/22/excerpt-from-how-to-write-a-childrens-book-book/

Enjoy!


  1. Ready your writing implements
  2. Set a timer for 10 minutes
  3. List all of the concepts and ideas in your head as quickly as possible.

Tip: Number your document 1 to 20.  

The first ten items you will list will most likely be in two camps: old and used.

The old items are the ones that have been floating around in your head for a while. Getting them out of your head and onto the page will help them breathe.  

The used items will be things you’ve read or seen before online or on television, which is no big deal. We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. It is good to borrow notions from bits of literature or other entertainment that you love, but we do not want to steal or be boring. This is why we number the page 1 to 20.

If you don’t make it to 20, don’t stress out. You can also do a second round of 10-minute brain dumping, but please keep it to only two rounds. Our goal is to finish a thing, which means we have to put some minor limitations on ourselves and our writing exercises.


Thanks for reading this preview section. If you enjoy what you’re reading, you may want to check out the How to Write a Children’s Book course on Skillshare and Udemy.

If you’ve already taken the class, please let other students how it’s going by leaving a review or a comment in the class. If you’ve finished your children’s story, let me know! That’s a big deal! Tell everyone!

The First Section of the How to Write a Children’s Book Book

The How to Write a Children’s Book book is coming along. The book is not yet available for preorder, but the How to Write a Children’s Book course is available on Skillshare and Udemy.

As soon as the book is available for preorder on Kindle and in paperback, I will let you know. In the meantime, enjoy a few previews of the inside of the book right here on the blog.


Hey, there! Welcome to the How to Write a Children’s Story in Seven Days or Less extravaganza!  

I have been told on more than one occasion not to tell you this process will take seven days or less, because it sets unrealistic expectations. Allow me to clarify:

If you schedule the time to write and work on your story daily for the next seven days, you will have a complete story by the end of this experiment of ours. If you miss a day, you will be a day behind, because that is how time works.

Like many things in life, you get out of it what you put into it.  

Also, please note that I keep saying “write” and “writing.” While I will provide you with some technical tips and professional recommendations for having your book illustrated and publishing your book, the seven days or less part of this whole thing is the writing bit.  

If you do not have words on the page, you do not have a book. Do the writing part first. It is the piece of the puzzle over which you have the most control, so do that part first, fast, and now!

End of disclaimer.

A LITTLE ABOUT ME

I’m Barbara Burgess. I am a multi-genre author with a variety of author voices. My children’s books are written under the author voice Barbara Ann Burgess. You can find those books and others at https://www.hellothisisbarbara.com/books

I’ve written and published four children’s books, but I have many more written and awaiting illustrations. As I write this, I have twenty-four. In this book, I will layout the system I used to write these books quickly and efficiently.

I know that words like “system” and “efficiently” sound like I am setting out to squelch your creativity, but I promise you I am seeking to do the opposite. There is a lot of freedom in structure. Also, time limits and deadlines, dear friends, are your friends!

If you are still into it, let me tell you more about this book and how to use it.

THIS BOOK AND HOW TO USE IT

This book is laid out in the order in which I intended it to be used. Please, stay on the garden path, dear friends.

Because I would like you to experience the magic of finishing a children’s book in seven days, I have named each step of the process Day and the corresponding number of said day.

For some of you, this might feel like too much pressure. To those of you who feel this way, please feel free to imagine the word ‘day’ as ‘week’ and start the project. Thinking about the project is not starting the project.  

I will outline in each section what your tasks are, and then I will give you an example of how to do it.  

In the simplest terms, you will need to read the section, read the example, and then do the steps in the section yourself. It’s like grade school, but more fun.

Okay. If you’re ready, I’m ready. Let’s start with Day One – Brainstorming.


Thank you for hanging out and reading the Welcome section of the How to Write a Children’s Book book. Again, as soon as it is available for preorder, I will let you know! In the meantime, enjoy the courses on Skillshare and Udemy.

Children’s Book Map

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

After publishing four children’s books and writing 15 or so other children’s stories that have yet to published, I have finally found a good system that works for me.

This is not a technical guide to publishing or story writing.

This is a way to take the guess work out of mapping out your children’s picture book.

Since the only place I like fluff is on my dog, let’s dive right in.

This is exactly how I wrote my last book, and how I intend to write them going forward.

While I call this a template, it is really just a numbered list. You can easily make this in Pages, Word, Open Office or similar word processing programs. You can also use pen and paper.

Number Your Document 1–32

These numbers represent pages. You need your book to be 32 pages for a couple of reasons that are unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Just stick to 32 pages in the beginning.

Beside the numbers, label as follows:

Page 1 — Title + Author/Illustrator Credit + Copyright Statement + ISBN

Page 2 — Blank

Page 3 — Dedication

Page 4 — Blank

Pages 5 through 27 — Story

Page 28 — Blank

Page 29 — Ending Image/The End Statement

Page 30 — Blank

Page 31 — Author’s Note + Other Books

Page 32 — Blank

By knowing exactly how many pages I had to work with, I was able to make sure my main character visited supporting characters equally and my character’s reflection scenes always land on the same page.

This makes the books familiar to young readers even when they are new.

Having this plan makes me feel like I know exactly what I am doing when I’m writing. I know exactly where I am going because of this list that takes only a moment to make.

It’s my hope that this bit of structure will give you the feeling of safety it gives me.

How To Write a Children’s Book in 7 Days or Less – THE BOOK

Here’s a little preview of the opening of the forthcoming How to Write a Children’s Book in 7 Days or Less book!


Hey, there!  Welcome to the How to Write a Children’s Story in Seven Days or Less extravaganza!  

I have been told on more than one occasion to not tell you this process will take seven days or less, because it sets unrealistic expectations.  Allow me to clarify:

If you schedule time to write and work on your story daily for the next seven days, you will have a finished story by the end of this experiment of ours.  If you miss a day, you will be a day behind, because that is how time works.

Like many things in life, you get out of it what you put into it.  

Also, please note that I keep saying “write” and “writing”.  While I will provide you with some technical tips and professional recommendations for having your book illustrated and publishing your book, the seven days or less part of this whole thing is the writing bit.  

If you do not have words on the page, you do not have a book.  Do the writing part first.  It is the piece of the puzzle over which you have the most control, so do that part first, fast, and now!

End of disclaimer.

A LITTLE ABOUT ME

I’m Barbara Burgess.  I am a multi genre author with a variety of author voices.  My children’s books are written under author voice Barbara Ann Burgess.  You can find those books and others at https://www.hellothisisbarbara.com/books

I’ve written and published four children’s books, but I have many more written and awaiting illustration.  As I write this, I have twenty-four in fact.  In this book, I will layout the system I used to write these books quickly and efficiently.

I know that words like “system” and “efficiently” sound like I am setting out to squelch your creativity, but I promise you I am seeking to do the opposite.  There is a lot of freedom in structure.  Also, time limits and deadlines, dear friends, are your friends!

If you are still into it, let me tell you more about this book and how to use it.

THIS BOOK AND HOW TO USE IT

This book is laid out in the order in which I intended it to be used.  Please, stay on the garden path, dear friends.

Because I would like to you experience the magic of finishing a children’s book in seven days, I have named each step of the process Day and corresponding number of said day.

I understand for some of you this will be too much pressure.  To those of you who feel that way, please feel free to imagine the word ‘day’ as ‘week’ and start the project.  Thinking about the project is not starting the project.  

I will outline in each section what your tasks are, and then I will give you an example of how to do it.  

In the simplest terms, you will need to read the section, read the example, and then do the section yourself.  It’s like grade school, but more fun.

Okay.  If you’re ready, I’m ready.  Let’s start with Day One – Brainstorming.


I do hope you enjoyed that little preview. If you would like to know when and where you can get this book, I recommend joining the newsletter. You can do that by click on the bones to the right or by clicking here.

Once again, Udemy is having a sale, and this particular sale includes my two courses! You can click here to learn more about those courses.

Author Voices

As I type this, I have three author voices – the children’s book voice (Barbara Ann Burgess), the blog and article writing voice (Barbara Burgess), and the romance voice (Lily Dae). Come July, I will have another author voice to add to the club house of writers that inhabit my mind: B.A. Burgess, scifi and miscellaneous fiction writings.

Author Voices vs Pen Names

I get a little bent when people call my author voices pen names. I’ve called them pen names in the past which makes me aggravated at myself, but I did it to keep things from getting complicated.

If ever there was a place to get complicated and wax philosophical about something as meaning less as a pen name, it’s on a blog. So, here’s the conversation I try to avoid having with people concerning my author voices and why they aren’t pen names.

Unwitting Person (UP): Why do you write under a pen name?

Me: I don’t.

UP: Yes, you do. That romance book. You wrote that under a pen name.

Me: It’s a voice.

UP: A voice?

Me: Yeah. An author. One of the many that live in my head.

UP: You hear voices, homey?

Me: No, but different stories require different writing styles and a different “mojo” if you will. So, I let different writing voices write different books.

UP: So, you basically get possessed and write all this shit?

Me: No, Jason. Listen very closely – Pen names are meant to hide the identity of the author. I don’t care if people know I wrote any of this stuff, but I need to keep all of the different genres separated by tone. The easiest way to do that is to organize them by voice. Giving each voice a name makes it easier for people to find the work they want to read, and it makes it easy for me to slip in and out of genres without getting writer’s fatigue. Does that make more sense?

UP: I don’t care anymore.

Me: I don’t either, man. I don’t either.

End of Song.

3 Pieces of Writing Advice

I like to finish projects. In order to get the rush of finishing something, everything I do needs to be efficient. It also means that I need to be okay with minimum viable products (MVP) while I am finding a system or process to do the thing I am setting out to do.

I am, among other things, a children’s book author. Children’s books are roughly 32 pages long and can have any number of words. Typically, they are mostly images, right? So, why, dear friends, did it take me nine months to write my first one?

I’ll tell you — overthinking.

I poured over my favorite children’s books from my childhood. I read new children’s books that were nothing like the books from my childhood. I asked everyone there opinion on using what I call “Scrabble words” in books for younger audiences. I asked people’s opinion on my book before I had even written it!

Do you see what I am getting at?

Here’s from friendly, generally writing advice:

1) No one in your inner circle is going to be your number one fan for your writing. Let them buy your book to support you, but don’t ask them to elaborate on their love of your work. Just say thank you, because they most likely didn’t read it. They are proud of you though, so let them be proud. Again — Just say thank you.

2) Since you aren’t worried about your friends and family reading what you’re writing, don’t worry about the language or ideas contained within your work. Use the language that is right for the piece, not the people. Your story will find its audience when it is finished, and you can help to shape that audience by adding language warnings, selecting demographics to advertise to, or publishing in specific categories.

3) Reading is a great idea, but I personally cannot read anything while I’m writing. It slows me down. So, yes, of course, read much as you like, but just read. Don’t compare yourself.

Read as a reader. Write as a writer.

New Year’s Resolutions – Writer’s Style

As we move into the new decade, we writers need to come to terms with what worked for over the last ten years versus what didn’t work for us so well. That means telling ourselves some hard truths about our habits and fears.

No More Half Written Novels

Stop calling your short stories, novelettes, novellas, whatever “half-written.” It’s rude. It hurts their feelings.

There is nothing wrong with writing short. If you’ve said all there is to say about Tom and Jacob’s tricycle gang that sold abandoned souls on the black market in 3500 words or less, then cool! Leave them to live their lives in those 3500 words.

Move on with your life. Stop using them as an excuse not to write that other story that you’ve been telling your friends you’ll “get to after your first book is done.”

MVP. Minimum viable products will get you through this.

The Book in Your Head Finally On Paper

You do not get a reward for thinking about writing a book just like no one gets brain surgery by me because I thought about becoming a brain surgeon.

Write it down. Type it. Speak it into a recorder or dictation device. Do something to free your characters from your mind.

You are their only hope of having their story told, so what, my darling, are you waiting for?

Read Less. Write More.

2017 was the last year I read 100 books in a year. Last year, I read 76 books. This year, I’ve read a little over 20.

In the last two years, I’ve written one novelette (and published it) and one soft sci-fi novel.

Additionally, I’ve begun teaching writing to fellow writers.

Reading is wonderful, but writing makes you a writer. Do both in as balanced a fashion as possible.

Write Daily, But Don’t Be A Jerk About It

Keeping that balance means writing daily, but be kind to yourself. I am not a fan of setting daily word count goals. I get credit every time I write anything toward my end goal. If I am not working on a book, then journaling and blogging count.

Penning poems and short pieces of fiction without planning are all forms of writing and count toward your daily writing goal because they use your creative writing muscles.

Emails and newsletters shouldn’t count toward that goal, because those items are admin related.

Set these resolutions for yourself. Keep them for at least three months to see if they work for you. If they do, let me know when you’ve posted or published something. I’m rooting for you.