Kids Writers on FictionPress
Discussion on writing for children.
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Sophia Victoria
Hello, reader! Just tripped into this forum for kids! I'm sorry if my topic would be pretty stupid and shallow, but . . . Anyway, what enters in your mind when you see the phrase "horror for kids"? Typically, this pictures dolls attempting to kill a kid, a crazed mother abusing her child . . . and the child eventually haunts her in another realm. These are the archetypals, but how about some more 'mature' topic? Like the child has a very deep problem (let's say holding a secret that could really alter our modern history books) and has been obliged to hold that burden . . . and share it to the world. But on the child's way, he/ she encounters some terrifying and cryptic experiences that will really creep the child out. . . and the child dies on the process, leaving the antagonist, carrying the 'secret'. . . uh, I haven't made a story like that before. . . maybe sooner. So, what do you think? x/ Dark Snow Angel /x
2/12/2007 #1
Will Sachiksy
The way I see it, writers for kids have two audiences: kids and parents. I doubt many parents would let their kids read a book that dark (there are exceptions. Look at the latter of the oft-referenced Harry Potter books). I'd suggest that if you're dead set on writing this, write to an age eight-to-ten or ten-to-twelve bracket. Horror can work in children's stories, but you should be willing to show at least a somewhat happy ending (e.g. even if a monster is still around, its not going to harm the characters anytime soon). There are exceptions to every rule.
2/12/2007 #2
Sophia Victoria
That's the reason why it saddens me! Why do bad guys have to vanished in the ending?
2/16/2007 . Edited by Will Sachiksy, 3/5/2007 #3
Will Sachiksy
There may be kids reading this forum. More importantly, there may be parents of kids reading this forum, so please watch what you say. The problem with horror for kids is that many kids can't handle truly horrific things. There are, of course, exceptions in the audience, but you risk making parents of terrified readers very angry. Now, there's nothing wrong with writing a story with a child character in a very horrific or mature situation. After all, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was definitely not intended for children, and Pan's Labryinth is often quite disturbing. Take my advice at your discretion.
2/16/2007 #4
Sophia Victoria
Oh, I apologized . . . I guess I just have to stick to the basics. What do you think of a kid being haunted by spirits into persuading the kid to join in some sort of a cryptic rite. Like hieros gamos for instance. It may not be horror. but . . .
2/18/2007 #5
Will Sachiksy
The kid being haunted by spirits to do something for them could work. I actually think I've seen something like that done before to good effect. The cryptic rite... again, look at your audiences. Just to be safe. And depending on your perspective, the example you gave would definitely be horror. Again, you're looking at an eight-to-ten or ten-to-twelve age bracket.
2/18/2007 #6
I don't know. Some of my favorite books when I was a child was the E. Nesbit books, and they were filled with dark rites and such. But she had such a light style, it made magic distroying atlantis seem quite quaint, and charming. And there were parts of the story that scared me rediculously when I was about seven and reading them - stone dinosaurs coming alive and eating people- but my parents encouraged them anyway. Then again, they're very brisk on that sort of thing - they didn't coddle us in the way of censoring literature.
2/21/2007 #7
Will Sachiksy
[q] Like hieros gamos [/q] I doubt many parents would like their child reading about that example. Another rite, maybe. I don't like censorship in most contexts. I'm just saying he'll alienate a lot of readers (and especially parent of readers) if he writes about that.
2/21/2007 #8
Bri Neves
Horror for kids? Interesting. Somehow, the topic title made me chuckle. Perhaps because I was imagining ways in which writers would attempt to create a scary story. Okay, I just HAVE to do this: "Suddenly the boogey man jumped out and grabbed Little Timmy by the wrists. Little Timmy, in shock and fear, attempted to crawl away from the Boogey Man's clutches, but was instead dragged to the boogey man's dark, secret dungeon in Scaryville. Crying in horror, Little Timmy wished and hoped for sweet liberty. Then, in a sudden and miraculous turn of events, the Brave Man, the Boogey man's righteous arch nemesis and superhero of the world, jumped in to rescue Little Timmy. The Boogey Man was then locked in jail where he belonged and everyone lived happily ever after." Don't worry. The above plot was intended to be abysmal. :p In my view, as long as you don't make your stories too graphic, they should be fine for children to read. Everyone has his or her own standards of what's appropriate but I'm sure you'll be able to distinguish the imaginary line that should not be crossed. Good luck if you decide to act on your idea. Personally, I find it fascinating. Of course, this comes from a girl who has loved horror stories since about ten or eleven years old and read the “Tall-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe in fifth grade.
2/21/2007 #9
Sophia Victoria
Really? William is on the other side! Huhu! ^-^
2/23/2007 #10
Will Sachiksy
All the advice I give on writing is at least nine-tenths opinion. Like I said in my last post, the suggestions I've made were more toward mainstream children's markets. If you want to write your idea, go ahead, but understand that some parents not as open to their children reading about this stuff might be angry at you (they really shouldn't, though. It's the parent's responsibility to look at what the child wants to read before they let him/her read it). Your going to find an even smaller audience if you use hieros gamos as the rite your character is tangled in.
2/23/2007 #11
Sophia Victoria
Oh . . . but let's bring the kids to a new generation . . . that would have to be leave on as another topic.
2/26/2007 #12
Agent Awesome
I would categorize the type of book you described as appropriate for an 8-12 year old bracket, as already stated. However, just because a book is listed as a preteen book doesn't mean that younger kids won't read it as well. There are the younger children who are interested in those types of books who do have parents that would allow them to read it. By setting it as an 8-12 book, you are classifying, but not limiting.
4/21/2007 #13
Do you think a kid's story about Freddy kreuger running a race with Jason voorees would be ok?
8/22/2007 #14
Hi all, new here, thought this was an interesting debate over audience. I'd have to say your story outline does remind me very much like Pans Labirynth, minus the fantastical journey... and I would have been thoroughly freaked out by that as a child I think. I liked being scared when I was a kid, but not by realistic things. I loved movies like "Aliens" when I was 10, and sure, it gave me nightmares. But I think had I read a book about a disturbed child who had to hold in a secret for so long it eventually killed them, I don't think I would have ever read a book again. A story about a child that introverted would be hard to write to keep a kids attention (unless it's wildly fantastical like pans labirynth,) and could introduce children to a side of depression that - hopefully - they haven't experienced yet. I agree something that dark would be best as a book for adults. Kids love the "monster" concept. But monster doesn't have to mean fantastical, it jast has to be the Jabberwock, the personification of a fear. Like a kidnapping, or finding something that a group of people want and will stop at nothing to get, or getting lost in the woods and hunted by a wolves, or trapped in a cave with a bear on a boyscout trip. A badguy focal point -human or other- is key in childrens horror I think.
8/30/2007 #15
Hey all, just checking into this forum to see if anyone's wondering the same things I am - and, lo and behold! Anyways, I;m just about to start work on a children's horror much in the vein (pun intended) of the Darren Shan books (although more like the newer Demonata series than his debut Cirque Du Freak series), about a boy who wakes up in hospital from a heavy, life-threatening concussion to discover that he can now see past the Mist, and perceive the creatures that have always existed in our world, just out of our limited perception of reality. Only, the creatures can sense his new presence, too, and they're none too he soon finds out when they trap him - and everyone else - within the hospital, picking off people as they try to eliminate their new threat. Trouble is, only the boy can see these monsters and adults, being adults, don't believe him when he says he can see all manner of nightmarish monsters...this slowly changes as, one-by-one, they themselves are eliminated, and the rest are forced to trust in the boy as he attemptsm to lead them safely out of the hospital. It will be gruesome, as anyone who has read any Darren Shan books will have guessed, but I believe I'm a good enough judge of my own work to know when I'm going to far, so it should be alright. I also have plans for this to become a series of books, revolving around the boy, and an organization he meets soon after escaping the hospital. What do you all think? SympleSymon (Dave)
1/16/2008 #16
Hmmm . . . that sounds more in the Younge-adult . . . I do like it though! If you want to make it more kid-friendly, I just wouldn't have any of the people 'picked off' be his friends, at least until the end. Good idea, though!
1/19/2008 #17
Thanks Kumquat, but don't worry. He's doesn't have any friends in the hospital, so the only ones getting picked-off are the unbelieving adults (doctors, orderlies, janitors, etc)...yes, they'll all get what they deserve!
1/19/2008 #18
Cool Monsters

There are a lot of horror books for children out there. R. L. Stine's Goosebumps series, for instance. A problem is that people seem to think that horror is crazed maniacs attacking stupid people with knives or boat hooks, and there's a lot more to horror than that. Killing characters isn't necessary for horror stories. One death is enough to show the horror is serious. Something like Jason or Freddy where someone just chases and kills one person after another isn't scary, it's gross and repetitive.

10/15/2009 #19
Kids don't like the horrors being real. Ghosts and vampires aren't real and kids know that. And kids like happy endings. No matter how scary it is the horror should be over at the end and the kids should feel like they're safe. And boys might like blood but girls don't.
4/14/2012 #20
Cool Monsters

Children don't like seeing completely innocent people getting killed, turned into monsters, going insane, or whatever. Criminals, greedy people, bullies, they're more likely to accept getting the monsters' attention. They also don't like the horrors happening for no apparent reason. Kids don't like being told to try to figure out what happened at the end. It's too much like school work.

12/22/2012 #21

There's gotta be a way to fight the scary things. Like silver bullets or wood stakes or something.

1/27/2013 #22

huh. when I was younger I wasn't really into happy endings, and I went more on the boys side I guess, because I had no problem with gore. I think it sounds like a good idea, but maybe you should put it more for younger adults, or at least a 12 bracket, I don't know, it depends how you choose to write it out, An author could tell the same story but the word choice and the way it's told is what gets to you.

4/28/2013 #23

frankly speaking i think it's a nonsence. You can write different horror stories for different people, but not kids! Your story may have kids as characters, but it mustn't be intended for kids!!!!!! I'm against any horror story, movie, or game for kids, because I have a child and know what means when your child gets frightened and can't forget why he got frightened!

4/22/2014 #24

It depends on the degree of horror and the child. I was fine watching Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee as Dracula when I was little but I have a cousin that couldn't have handled it until she was older. If you mean something like Saw I don't think that's even appropriate for adults to watch.

4/22/2014 #25

I myself loved to watch horror films a pretty time ago. And my love towards this genre was obvious when I was a child. But don't you agree that a child must at least be 10 years old to watch a horror film ( not a cruel bloody one, of course). But now my son is 4 and sometimes he wants to watch some horror videos on Youtube. but i don't permit. It greatly affects on kids' phycology. They get not obidient, cruel towards animals, and sometimes frightened themselves without any serious rison.

4/22/2014 #26

Again depends on the child and the film. And that's why parents need to supervise what their kids watch and not just let the tv set be their babysitter, so they can see what they can and can't handle and explain things that upset them. Look at Disney's Pinocchio. Classic cartoon from 1940, considered by many Walt's greatest masterpiece. And scary as heck. The scenes where the boys turn into donkeys (especially Lampwick) is scarier than anything in Bride of Frankenstein or Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. I saw all three when I was like 5 or 6 and Pinocchio was the only one that scared me. The only thing that upset me about Bride was they took the old blind man with the violin away and the Monster went looking for him, crying because his only friend was gone. But that was nothing compared to Ol Yeller, and that wasn't a horror movie, it was a "heartwarming film for the entire family," rated G. The boy shoots his beloved dog at the end because he has rabies. That's the kind of movie kids shouldn't be allowed to see. I cried my eyes out and couldn't sleep after seeing it, and no horror movie has ever affected me that way. Similar stories are Where the Red Fern Grows and The Red Pony. After the pony dies a vulture pecks his eyes out and the boy that loved him beats the vulture to death then keeps hitting it until he's dragged away from it. At least ten to see something like Bride of Frankenstein or House of Dracula or The Giant Gila Monster? Not unless they have some problems unrelated to horror movies. Ten to see Ol Yeller or The Red Pony? At least, maybe older.

There are a lot of movies that show cruelty to animals. Yes it happens in a lot of horror movies, but like the "family" films I mentioned above they're not just in horror. National Lampoon's movies with Chevy Chase had a dog dragged to death in one film and a cat electrocuted by a Christmas tree in another. These were big budget comedies that people took their kids to see. Another "comedy" showed a cat jump out a window several floors up and die, and the Simpsons killed several cats in one episode while making jokes about it. Shows like The Simpsons (or worse, Family Guy) could do more harm to children than watching a bunch of black and white horror films but because they're cartoons many parents think nothing of letting their kids watch them. I remember that I was the only one in my kindergarten class that had seen a Frankenstein movie, but I was also the only one that had not seen the Simpsons yet.

4/22/2014 #27

I could handle scary movies when I was less than ten, so could my big sister. My little sister couldn't. As for stuff like Red Pony that would disgust me and give my little sis nightmares.

5/10/2014 #28
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