One of the things my young readers love about Vlad, the eponymous hero of my children’s novel, is that he starts off helpless and bullied, but ends by discovering he can succeed against his enemies. He doesn’t just save the day for himself, but rescues his old nurse and her husband, as well as the entire village in the process. Children love Vlad because he shows them even the most downtrodden of children can find a way to outwit their tormentors.
Tip 5 – Empowering the Reader
Children’s lives are controlled by adults, both at home and at school. Most young people dream of one day being masters of their own destinies and, through reading, they are able to live out, albeit vicariously, their fantasies.
In their favourite books, if the main character is under the control of mean adults, or older bullies, he or she always outsmarts them and wins the day. Children want to read about other children who have achieved things that are not possible for the average child, except in their dreams.
Try to make your readers feel as though they are being chatted to by another child.
Create characters who make their own decisions and are able to act alone.
Your young protagonists must solve their own problems, outwit the villain or bully, find the treasure, rescue the kidnapped dog, or whatever task it is that brings your novel to a successful conclusion.
You can have several characters within the plot who are working together, either a group of friends, or even an adult who is on the protagonist’s side. But the adult must not be the person who solves the mystery, or frees the captive, or any other important aspect in your story. The hero must always be one of the children in the book.
Through your characters, your readers will dream of what they could achieve if their parents were not around to protect them. Just think of the success of Harry Potter and such films as the Home Alone series and you’ll be on the right track.
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