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Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Writing Tip: Know Your Audience

Jacqueline Wilson, an award-winning English author of children's books who has sold over 20 million copies of her books in the UK, believes that children grow up too fast.  I must admit, I haven't read any of Dame Jacqueline Wilson's books yet, but I do agree with her. 

It makes me sad, especially when I look at my children.  I wonder if they're going to be one of those kids that yearn to leave those stuffed animals behind them without a backwards glance, or if they will suffer from Peter Pan syndrome and never want to grow up.  

However, it is something important to think about.  Especially if you want children and teens to enjoy your books.  Think carefully about the age group you are writing for and write for them. Know your audience. Research the trends and the kid/teen speak.  Study how children/teens interact with one another.   Any other ideas?

If you know your audience, you can create the type of characters your audience will relate to. Now you've got to work on your story...

Out of curiosity, I put together a poll to see what people think about whether kids are growing too fast. Go and vote!

11 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

This summer I plan to do a lot more eavesdropping and recording. My neighbors with teenagers put in a pool, and I see much time hanging out with the parents and a notebook in hand!

Liz in Ink said...

Sigh...

Kim said...

Sad indeed.

Jen Barney said...

i think i will keep my baby here with me forever....

Anonymous said...

I've never read Jacqueline Wilson's books either. Thanks for the links. Seems like she tackled some dicey types of material that appealed to kids.

What happened to wholesome?

Kimberly/lectitans said...

I selected both Yes and that they act too young, because teenagers are doing lots of things younger and younger, but also seem to do other things for themselves much less than they used to do.

Cloudscome said...

I makes me sad that so many young children watch movies rated for adults and older teens. I hear first and second graders bragging about watching R rated movies and I think they are telling the truth. I don't know why parents allow or encourage that. I think it hurts their psyches to be exposed to so much smut and violence and horror - all given as entertainment. They should be on a diet of music, art, dramatic play and poetry celebrating life and beauty and joy.

It's the difference between organic, in season, just picked fresh fruit (yummy! good! energizing!) or uber-preserved high fructose corn syrup sugar processed bleached white flour. Yuck.

sheila said...

Ooh, what Cloudscome just said! I completely agree. Kids are exposed to too much adult stuff too early. There's no going back after that.

My kids homeschool and I notice a definite slowing down of the growing up meter as a result. One of the side effects I never thought about when we started all this.

MotherReader said...

Oh, you hit my mommy angst button. My sixth grader will only "play" with her little sister because no one over fourth grade seems to play anymore. When I asked what they did at recess then in fifth grade, she said the boys played ball but the girls just stood around and talked. So sad.

Sheri said...

Hip,
It's sad but true. I don't know if its technology, or society in general, but certain things make them seem older beyond their years and yet not...

By 5th grade, I had certain responsibilities I can't imagine my 5th grader doing. My children don't seem to be growing up too fast, but it is all around us. My daughter and her "BFF," actually fell out of friendship with another girl because she insists on coming to school with make-up on. Full make-up in 5th grade! I am relieved that my girls see that a 5th grader does not need to wear make-up!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I am so glad that my fourth grade daughter acts like a kid. She's not in a rush. I "sheltered" her from some things--like Hannah Montana, Cheetah Girls etc. I wouldn't mind if she began to watch now probably, but she's not interested.

She's not hip--she's nine!