Kids Writers on FictionPress
Discussion on writing for children.
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Kids aren't stupid. Write for them like you write for adults - believe it or not, they can figure it out.
3/5/2007 #1
Bri Neves
-applaudes- That's all I needed to say/do. -nods-
3/6/2007 #2
Will Sachiksy
Of course, depending on the age of the child, I wouldn't write something with the complexity of the Scarlet Letter. But yes, I think kids have larger vocabularies and story analyzing abilities than most people give them credit for. I'm so glad I never had to read the D***, Jane, and Spot stories. I know they would have bored me to tears as a kid.
3/6/2007 . Edited 4/29/2007 #3
Bri Neves
According to my Language Arts teacher, we're going to be reading the Scarlet Letter very soon. I am excited about this as it sounds interesting and I have heard good things about it. Did you like it? I've never even heard of those other stories you speak of. Is that bad? 0_o
3/6/2007 #4
Will Sachiksy
I liked it, but the it's a bit dense and contains a lot of symbolism. Count yourself lucky that you've never heard of this D***, Jane, Spot stories. Let me give you an example. "Look, Jane. See Spot. See Spot run. Run, Spot, run. Jane sees Spot run." This would be condescending even to a three-year-old.
3/7/2007 . Edited 4/28/2007 #5
Bri Neves
SOunds like I'll enjoy it. ^_^ Oh! So that's where those phrases are from!
3/7/2007 #6
Agent Awesome
I completely agree. When I was younger (around 6, I guess), I had a tough time finding books in my school library that I actually found interesting because so many authors assumed that every child had the exact same vocabulary and the exact same IQ and that none of them wanted to be bothered with asking questions or increasing their knowledge. I wound up being allowed to get books from the "older kids' section", but lots of kids thought I was weird as a result.
4/21/2007 #7
I remember when I was in first grade we were reading this weird story about this bug called Gus. It was really bad.
4/25/2007 #8
You dont really want to make to hard to read. You wouldnt expect a kid to read shakespear, or even the illiad. But you wouldnt write it as if it is a baby book either. The book that i am writing now is written in a way a children book would be written, yet it is aimed for adults.
6/16/2007 #9
Yes, kids are way cool. I do a lot of stuff that are children readable. Though imagine an M15+ chilren's book. That'll be cool too. And a children's version of something adult's only.
7/20/2007 #10
Elizabeth White
I have to agree with the earlier comment about that book written for three year olds being a little insulting to them. After all, they're really inquisitive and very bright. They can make great observations. I've baby-sat a three year old, and he once put himself in time-out. Talk about self-awareness. Would you see an older kid do that? I doubt it!
8/15/2007 #11
You are right kids are not dumb. They have feelings like adults although kids express them more freely
8/22/2007 #12
I agree completely with this, as I'm talking from personal experience. When I was about nine, I was getting so sick and tired of all the dumbed-down books (I'd already read most, if not all, the Goosebumps books to date), that I started looking in the adult know what I read first? Michael Crichton's 'Jurassic Park'. At age NINE. And I understood the majority of it, too. So, yes, don't dumb down to kids, it will only make them feel you're patronising them, and make them put your book back on the shelf, so to speak. SympleSymon (Dave)
1/16/2008 #13
Jenni Mills

I guess there is a difference between dumbing down, and using language that a wide base of kids can read. The average 8 year old doesn't know what 'quipped' means, and yet (as someone has already said on this forum) most kids can work out what it means in a sentence. i think it's important to get a balance between words that are familiar to kids, and thos ethat will extend them.

What I think really dums down books is childish concepts.

6/13/2008 #14

Kids are smart. They'll get alot of stuff. I read Harry Potter when I was 6 and I got the whole story. I also read 1984 and Brave New World when I was 9. Just got done reading Plato's Republic when I was 12. Now I am 14 and I am getting started on reading Paradise Lost. I think kids can handle it. I thougt I was going to die in sixth grade because my english teacher had some D*** and Jane in the classroom.

9/3/2008 #15

That is partially true but some kids may not be able to understand some of the more complicated words depending on the age group. For example I am pretty sure that most young kids would not not know that 'Vivacious' means flamboyent, cheerful. Some children may look the words up and learn some new things but for the most part most kids would just put the book down if it was anything but sparsely sprinkled with advanced words.

5/1/2009 #16

Uh-huh. Don't dumb it down. I hate books seeming all innocent. Like Dr. Seus. I went to wikipedia and found out much more interesting things than how to count to ten. (I'm 5, by the way.)

6/10/2010 #17

Yes, I completely agree with you. But, then I kind of don't.

Of course, you shouldn't be dumbing down stories for children, if it is not intended to be. That's just plain rude and uncalled for. But, of course, you must admit that the 'dumbed down' versions of books, are great for those people learning how to read. Or (sorry anyone) the 'stupid people', who just don't LIKE reading.

Yet, for the people, that say, give a, 5 year old- or possibly younger- story like that, well, unless they truly struggle with reading not being so exposed to it and all- that is just plain cruel. Show how much you really note on the child's reading level, now doesn't it?! *rolls eyes over people like that*

But, despite all that, I have to admit I don't mind actually READING the odd 'dumbed-down' book. Especially Dr. Suess. It's just a little guilty pleasure of mine. You can get a chuckle out of them, because it's just so... well.... hilarious.

11/6/2010 #18
A Fire Rose

I commend this thread so much. The more we dumb down our language, the less kids actually learn.

2/22/2011 #19

Mhm, A good writer doesn't just say "He was a (insert adjective) man." If there is a word a child maybe has never heard of then the context should explain the meaning - and, hey, they've learned a new word. I don't think we can hand a six year old a Jane Austen novel and expect them to understand it perfectly but we don't need to dumb down everything. I know when I was younger and read books targeted at my age range I felt a little insulted that the authors seemed to kids were clueless.

2/25/2011 #20
A Fire Rose

I so agree. The more we simplify our work, the more simple they become.

I have been reading children's fantasy novels from the nineteenth century, and man, it is above me!

10/14/2011 #21

Yeah, books like the Wizard of Oz are hard for me!

5/5/2012 #22
Cool Monsters

Kids are unlikely to read several chapters just setting up the characters and situations before something interesting happens. Some writers can keep their audiences for that long, for instance the first Harry Potter book is very dull until the invitations from Hogwarts start showing up, but few authors can do that, and some people only read until the story got interesting because friends had assured them it would get good later on.

12/22/2012 #23
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