By Jeannette Jones
Writing stories for kids is never easy. But trying to find your next children’s book idea? That tends to be even more difficult. Some writers seem like they have an endless stream of story ideas to pull from. Meanwhile, other writers draw a blank when trying to come up with a single one.
If you fall into the latter category, just know that coming up with story ideas for kids is actually a lot easier than you think. Keep reading to learn reliable ways to brainstorm your next children’s book idea.
Table of Contents
How to Consistently Find Children’s Book Ideas?
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1. Think big…then go small
For this, you need to let your imagination run amok. What’s the wildest, craziest idea you can think of?
Step into the unlimited mindset of a kid and let yourself have fun. Without the self-imposed obstacles of logic, you’ll find it a lot easier to brainstorm ideas.
Once you do come up with a concept, it’s time to narrow it down. What’s the main story? Who are the characters and what do they want? What’s going to stop them?
2. Give your take on other children’s book idea
Think a concept or idea has already been done before? Don’t let that stop you! Take a common or “overused” idea and give a fresh spin or new perspective to it.
When it’s difficult to come up with a story idea for kids that’s never been done before, there’s nothing wrong with taking a trope and making it completely unique.
How would you write about vampires or wizards who go to school?
3. Observe your surroundings
When trying to find your next children’s book idea, it can be helpful to take a step back and observe what’s around you. Surrounding yourself with different environments is a great opportunity to get ideas flowing.
Venture outside and people-watch. For every person you see, make up a story for them. Who are they? Where are they going? And for every place that you go, what’s it like? What happens there? How would you describe the buildings in a city or the flowers in a quiet park?
4. Read…a lot
You’ve definitely heard this a thousand times, but this tip bears repeating. Like any skill, writing requires practice, and one of the best ways to do that is to read.
While you should read in the genre you write, it’s also important to branch out. Read current events, historical accounts, or tutorials. Read articles, poems, writing prompts, and essays. When you read widely and frequently, it opens your creativity to interesting ideas.
Perhaps a weather headline will make you want to write about characters surviving in the wilderness, or a poet’s words will inspire you to write a few stanzas―what about Shel Silverstein’s poetry for children?
You can also read in your preferred genre to better understand common techniques or trends. What plot lines, characters, or settings stick out to you? What makes them so successful?
5. Write your heart out
This one’s a no-brainer, but it’s essential that you write consistently. Write in a journal or join a monthly writing challenge, like the Monthly Twitter Writing Challenge.
Participate in word sprints with other writers, where you can set a time limit and try to write as much as you can. How about NaNoWriMo?
While you don’t have to write every day, it’s best to write regularly. Doing so will make you more comfortable with the craft, hone your skills, and open you up to more ideas.
6. Write down everything
Don’t let potential ideas slip past you. As writers, it’s pretty normal to think up interesting scene descriptions or snippets of dialogue. Therefore, make sure to keep a running list in your phone or journal of dialogue, character, and plot ideas.
Later, you can come back to that journal and pick out some gems. You never know where a single sentence could take you.
7. Don’t think about it
Sounds counterintuitive, but the best story ideas for kids come when we aren’t thinking about them. So go wash dishes or fold some laundry. This way, you’re not forcing yourself to come up with something. That kind of pressure can leave you feeling frustrated and uninspired.
Take a break with some low-maintenance tasks and allow your creativity to work in the background.
Final thoughts on finding your next children’s book idea
We all know how story ideas work: either they jump out at us in the middle of the night as we scramble out of bed to write them down…or they don’t come to us at all.
It’s especially frustrating when we’re ready and motivated to write but don’t have an idea of what to write about. But the search to find your next children’s book idea isn’t all too difficult if you know how to brainstorm effectively.
Hopefully, these seven ways will jump-start your creativity and get you on the way to an exciting journey.