The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Short Story for Kids

Last Updated on July 20, 2022 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD


Do you want to write a story for kids but don’t know where to start? Not to worry – this step-by-step guide will take you through the entire process! To write a great story for children, you need to understand what they like and what grabs their attention. We’ll discuss all of that in this post, tips on story writing, characterization, plot development, and more. So get ready to begin your journey towards becoming a children’s author!

What are the basics of writing short stories for kids?

When writing a short story for kids, it is important to keep the following things in mind:

  • The story should be relatively short (no more than a few thousand words).
  • It should have a strong central plot.
  • It should be appropriate for the age group of the intended audience.

In addition, the language used should be simple and easy to understand, and the story should contain elements that will appeal to young readers (such as humor, adventure, or suspense). By following these basic guidelines, you can ensure that your short story will be enjoyed by the young readers for whom it is intended.

8 Steps for Writing a Short Story for Kids

Here are the eight steps you need to take to write a great short story for kids:

Step 1: Choose an interesting story idea

This is the most important step in the process, as it will be the foundation upon which your entire story is built. When brainstorming ideas, think about what kinds of stories you enjoyed as a child – chances are, kids will enjoy similar tales today.

Some classic story ideas include a child who goes on an adventure, a tale of friendship, or a mystery to be solved. Once you have settled on an idea, it’s time to start developing your characters and plot.

Step 2: Develop Your Characters

One of the most important aspects of writing a short story for kids in developing the characters. Without well-developed characters, the story will lack depth and dimension.

There are a few key steps to take when developing characters for a short story. First, consider what your protagonist and antagonist stand for. What motivates them? What do they want? Once you understand your characters’ motivations, you can start to flesh out their personalities. What kind of people are they? How do they interact with others? What kind of language do they use? By taking the time to develop fully developed characters, you will be able to write a short story that kids will enjoy and remember.

Your story will need at least one main character, who should be relatable and likable for your young readers. Think about what kind of personality traits your protagonist will have and how they will change or grow throughout the story.

It is also important to create believable supporting characters who can help move the plot along and provide assistance (or obstacles) for the main character.

Step 3: Write a Compelling Plot

Now that you have your story idea and characters fleshed out, it’s time to develop the plot. Begin by creating a basic outline of your story, including the main events that will take place. Once you have an outline, you can start filling in the details.

A compelling plot is essential for a short story for kids. The entire story should revolve around the plot, and every scene should contribute to it somehow. The plot should be simple and easy to follow yet still engaging and exciting. The story’s climax should be the most thrilling part, leaving the reader eager to find out what happens next. By following these tips, you can ensure that your short story for kids will have a captivating plot that will keep readers hooked from beginning to end.

As you’re writing, keep the age group of your intended audience in mind. What kinds of things will they find exciting? Suspenseful? Humorous? Make sure to include plenty of action and adventure and elements that will keep kids engaged from beginning to end.

Step 4: Figure Out the Main Problem

Every good story needs a conflict or the main problem. This is what drives the plot and propels the characters forward. Without a conflict, the story will lack tension and excitement.

The main problem should be something that your protagonist must overcome, such as an evil villain, a natural disaster, or an impossible challenge. The main character should grow and change throughout the story as they face and eventually overcome the main problem.

Step 5: Use Repetition

When writing a short story for young children, it is important to use repetition. This can help engage young readers, as they are likely to be drawn to familiar stories. In addition, repetition can help to reinforce key messages or themes in the story. For example, if the story is about a character who is learning to be brave, repeating key phrases such as “I can do this” can help to instill a sense of confidence in the reader. Using repetition is an important tool that should not be overlooked when writing for young children.

Step 6: Illustrate the Story

One of the best ways to make a short story for kids enjoyable is to include illustrations. Kids love seeing pictures, and they will be able to connect with the characters and events in the story if they can see them visually.

A well-illustrated story will capture young readers’ attention and help them visualize the events taking place. When choosing illustrations, be sure to include much detail, and this will help bring the story to life and make it more enjoyable for kids to read. For example, if the story is about a princess, include intricate details such as her beautiful gown and sparkling tiara. You can ensure that your short story for kids is both entertaining and engaging by following these steps.

If you’re not an artist yourself, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to find illustrations for your story. You can hire a professional illustrator, use royalty-free images, or even create your illustrations using basic drawing software. You can try social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to find someone who can help you with your illustrations.

Step 7: Write the Right Length

Another important consideration when writing a short story for kids is to make sure it is the right length. While there are no hard and fast rules, most stories for young readers should be between 500 and 1,500 words. This may seem like a small window, but it’s plenty of space to tell a satisfying tale.

Many famous short stories, such as “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Most Dangerous Game,” fall within this word count. So don’t be discouraged if your first draft is longer or shorter than intended; focus on getting your story down on paper. With a little bit of editing, you’ll be able to get it to the perfect length.

Step 8: Write a Satisfying Ending

Once you have written the story’s climax, it’s time to start thinking about how to wrap things up. The ending should still be satisfying, leaving room for a sequel or further adventures.

If your story is part of a series, include a cliffhanger at the end that will leave readers wanting more. If not, provide a satisfying conclusion that wraps up all the loose ends and leaves the reader feeling satisfied.

Endings are just as important as beginnings, so spend enough time developing a strong finish for your story.

How to come up with ideas for your short story

Coming up with ideas for writing short stories for kids can be a daunting task, especially if you’re starting from scratch. However, you can use a few methods to generate ideas for your first draft.

  • One way is to think about your childhood and what kinds of stories you would have enjoyed hearing. What made them so special? What lessons did you learn from them? Once you’ve identified a few key elements, it’s time to start fleshing out your story.
  • You can also draw inspiration from current events or pop culture. What are kids talking about these days? What concerns do they have? What are their favorite TV shows, movies, or books? By understanding what kids are interested in, you’ll be able to come up with ideas that will resonate with them.
  • Try thinking of familiar fairy tales or nursery rhymes and putting a new twist on them. For example, what if Goldilocks was tired of porridge and decided to eat the three bears’ cereal instead? Or what if Jack climbed the beanstalk and found himself in the middle of a high school biology class? By taking a familiar story and giving it a new twist, you can create something original and interesting.
  • Another way to generate ideas is to brainstorm with someone else. This can be a friend, family member, or even another writer. Brainstorming can help you come up with new ideas and perspectives that you might not have thought of on your own.
  • Finally, you can also look online for inspiration. There are plenty of websites and forums dedicated to helping writers develop new ideas.

Once you have a list of ideas, you can narrow them down by considering what would make a good first draft. What are some elements that would need to be included? You also want to make sure that your story is appropriate for the age group you’re writing for. For example, a high school student would likely be able to handle a more complex plot than an elementary school student.

Whichever method you choose, make sure to write down any potential ideas so you can refer back to them when it’s time to start writing your story.

Expert Tips on editing and proofreading your work

When you have written a manuscript for a short story for kids, it is time to edit and proofread your work before submitting it to publishers. Here are some expert tips on how to do this:

1. Read your manuscript aloud, and this will help you catch errors that you might not otherwise notice.

2. Have someone else read your manuscript, and another set of eyes can help spot errors.

3. Use spell check and grammar check. These tools can be useful, but they should not be relied on exclusively.

4. Take your time. Editing and proofreading require attention to detail, so it’s important to give yourself enough time to do a thorough job.

5. Make sure the story is appropriate for the age group you’re writing for. This includes both the content and the level of detail.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your manuscript is ready for submission.

FAQs about writing short stories for kids

What should I include in my short story for kids?

Answer: When it comes to writing for kids, a few things should always be included. The first and most important is making sure that your story is engaging and interesting. This will keep your readers hooked from the beginning to the end, and they won’t be able to put it down. Next, make sure that all the vocabulary is spelled correctly and that the story makes sense. Kids will understand it better if all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together neatly.
Finally, make sure that there is a moral to the story. This can be as simple as teaching kids about being responsible for their actions or a more complex lesson about life. Just make sure that the lesson is something that your kids can understand and apply to their lives. Writing for kids is an art form, and it is important to use your skills to create a story that will touch their hearts.

Should I keep it simple or do something more creative with my story?

Answer: This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on what you are looking for in a story. Some tips to keep in mind include finding a clear and concise plot, using interesting and relatable characters, and writing in an easy-to-read style. You also need to be sure that your story is engaging enough to keep the reader interested and that it has an ending that leaves them wanting more.
Remember, simplicity is not always a bad thing! Sometimes a straightforward and easy story to follow can be just as powerful as one that is more complex. After all, it is the reader’s experience that ultimately matters. So, let your creativity flow and worry about the details later!

What are the benefits of writing a short story for kids?

Answer: There are many benefits to writing a short story for kids. For one, it can help them develop their creative writing skills. A short story is a great way for kids to practice their storytelling abilities, and it can also give them a chance to explore different genres of writing. Additionally, publishing a short story can be a great way for kids to build their confidence and feel proud of their work. If you have a blog or website, you can even publish their story online for the world to see.
Short stories can be tailored to any age group, and children of all ages can enjoy them. They can be used as a teaching tool to help children learn grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary. They can also be used as a vehicle for children to explore different themes and learn about different characters.
Writing a short story for kids is a great way to improve your child’s writing skills and build their love for writing.

What are the 5 parts of a short story?

Answer: A short story is a type of story that is typically between 100 and 1000 words in length. It is written in a concise and easy-to-read format, and it is often used to teach a particular lesson or provide entertainment. The five parts of a short story are setting, character, conflict, resolution, and aftermath.
The setting is where the story takes place, and it can be anything from the present day to a fictional world. The characters are the people who inhabit the setting, and their personalities will influence the way the story unfolds. Conflict is the force that drives the story forward, and it can be anything from a love story to a battle between good and evil. Resolution is the event that resolves the conflict and usually leads to a change in the protagonist’s character. Finally, the aftermath is the aftermath of the resolution and often contains a moral lesson.

Which genre is best to write about: fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, romance, or comedy?

Answer: There is no one answer to this question, as it depends on the individual’s preferences. However, if you are new to writing, it is probably best to start with a genre that you are more familiar with. This way, you can improve your skills and learn the conventions of that genre. For example, if you are a mystery writer, writing a mystery may be a good idea. Alternatively, if you are a romance writer, writing a romance might be a good idea. Once you have experimented with a few genres, you can start branching out and trying new things.
Ultimately, the best way to learn is by doing. Write what you enjoy, and be inspired by the works of others in the genre. When writing, be sure to keep your audience in mind and cater your work to their specific interests. If you can do this, you will be on your way to becoming a successful writer!

Final Words

Writing a short story for kids can be a fun and rewarding experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can give yourself the best chance of success. With a little practice, you’ll be able to write stories that kids will love.

Now that you have the basics down, it’s time to start writing your own short story for kids! Just remember to have fun with it and to be creative. With a little practice, you’ll be churning out great stories. Thanks for reading! Good luck!


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