This weekend I’m celebrating the release of my new junior fiction title, Homework on Pluto published by Maverick, and as part of that I’ll be giving away a free signed copy to the lovely readers of this blog. To take part, just comment on this post and I will choose a winner at random on 15 May by printing them out and putting them in a hat. (A sou’wester probably, judging by the weather at the moment…)
Junior fiction or chapter books are great fun to write. Here are my tips:
- Write to the right length. 6-10,000 words are what you are aiming for. So think in terms of 6 chapters of 1000 words each to give you a rough outline.
- Keep it punchy. You’ve got a lot to fit in to make a complete book work within this small space, so don’t waste words on lengthy descriptions or long dialogue exchanges.
- Write a series. Readers this age (around 6-10) love series. Conversely, your first book should be able to stand alone, just in case it doesn’t get followed up. And you only need present one book to the publisher, as long as it has series potential.
- Create memorable characters. Think Mr Gum, Horrid Henry, Flat Stanley… The character is the book.
- Utilise humour. Don’t be afraid to be silly. Silliness is underrated.