by Yvonne Blackwood
After much thought and utilizing the idea generation suggestion in my previous article, you have decided on a fabulous idea. You are going to write a children’s story about Ronnie Rabbit, and he is going to be anthropomorphic. Although you have seen rabbits in the backyard and at the petting zoo, you really do not know much about them, except that the meat is eaten because you have seen it at the meat market. How are you going to write a convincing story about a rabbit without appearing stupid and uninformed? You must research diligently.
Research the subject
Research is a major part of writing for children. Besides researching your subject, you must also research the market place. First, the subject. What are rabbits anyway? Are they herbivore or carnivores? What do they eat? Where do they live? (You don’t want mention in your story that Ronnie Rabbit lives in a kennel!). How large do they become? What are their habits? Gathering all this important information not only provides fodder for your story, it gives it authenticity and will make Ronnie Rabbit seem real even if he is fictional character.
When I decided to write my children’s story, Nosey Charlie Comes To Town, the only thing I knew about squirrels is that they are always hiding nuts. I had no idea what they ate—it could not be just nuts! —although I have observed a determined little squirrel who regularly visits my backyard and tries every possible way, including lying vertically against the fence, in order to eat the seeds in the bird feeder. Research taught me that their diet consists of nuts, fruits, and seeds. This valuable information was handily incorporated into the story and will certainly be used again and again in future episodes.
Research the market
Second, you must research the children’s book market. Are there books about rabbits and similar animals? How many are there? Tapping into Amazon.com and Google will give you a good idea. You should also check how recent the last books on the subject were published. Are rabbits a popular subject in the children’s book genre? Read pop culture magazines and watch recent cartoons to get a sense of trends in the market. Once you obtain answers to these questions, and you are satisfied that there is a market for your rabbit story, prepare move on to step # 3.
Guest post contributed by Yvonne Blackwood.