I’ve always known that writing for children was a lot harder than writing for adults. The author has to get it just right or their young minds wander and then they are done.
Today I have a children’s author willing to share the secrets of her editing process. pull up a chair and welcome Stephanie Farris.
I feel like I’ve been edited in almost every genre imaginable. I started my career as an aspiring romance novelist and although I was never published, I had plenty of revision requests to teach me what romance editing was like. I also wrote for confessions magazines like True Story and went through multiple drafts, although those edits were mostly self-inflicted!
As a professional freelance writer, I deal with daily edits on the nonfiction pieces I write. In fact, I spent part of today editing an article on business marketing. At its very foundation, editing is editing is editing. However, children’s writing can be different from any other type of writing you’ll ever do, and the editing process is definitely different!
Editing for Voice
Voice is critical when writing for children. My chapter books have a completely different tone and sentence structure than my middle grade novels. Not only do my editors have to look for typos and grammatical errors, but they have to make sure I’m capturing the voice for the age group with every sentence I write. When we decided to age Piper up to seven from her Junie B. Jones-inspired age of FIVE, that meant a great deal of rewriting. But once we got the voice down for the first book, I could carry it forward to the books that followed.
Editing for Age Appropriateness
If you write for anyone under the age of sixteen or so, you always have to keep in mind that you’re writing for impressionable young people. This is especially true of picture books, chapter books, and middle grade fiction. Even with my middle grade books, I find some parents get upset if the characters have crushes or (God forbid!) kiss. Since the books are recommended for children between the ages of nine and thirteen or so, my editor keeps those things in mind, as well. Some of my edits have simply been to keep the books age appropriate.
Editing for Continuity
Piper Morgan is a series, and sometimes months pass between writing the next book. That means I need to go back and refresh my memory every time! Fortunately, if I miss something, my editor is always there to catch it, like a fairy godmother. But I suspect this type of editing isn’t limited to children’s writing. It’s something you take on if you decide to do a series.
Children’s fiction is challenging and fun, whether you’re plotting, writing, or revising your latest manuscript. I’ve been very lucky to have extremely talented editors who catch things I miss during the revision process. Without them, I can honestly say my books wouldn’t be nearly as good as they are!
Piper Morgan Makes a Splash
By Stephanie Faris
About the Book:
Piper Morgan tries her hand at acting in the fourth book of the charming Piper Morgan series.
Piper’s mom is helping out at a local pool shop, and the owner wants to shoot a commercial for his store. Piper thinks it’s the PERFECT opportunity to get in front of the camera and experience a little bit of showbiz. But will Piper’s contribution to the TV commercial make a splash—or will it go belly-up?
Stephanie Faris is the author of the middle grade books 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the Piper Morgan chapter book series. An accomplished freelance writer, her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Pacific Standard, Mental Floss, and The Week, among many others.