Writing Children in Adult Novels

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Feb 02 2021

Writing children can make or break your novel. I’m not to talking writers of children’s books. I’m talking to adult writers, writing adult novels.

Far too often I’m reading a submission and it’s the point of view of the child that kills the book for me and leads to rejection. Children don’t and can’t sound, well, childish. And yet somehow, in order to show they’re children, that’s what we do to them.

If you plan to include children in your novel you need to be reading books with children in them. Expand your repertoire to include middle grade and young adult fiction–books that feature children the age you want to write. Understand how a child can sound like a child and still sound real.

If you have done the research and still find yourself struggling to make a child sound like something other than a caricature of a child ask yourself if they need a POV at all. Or if you need the child there at all.

2 responses to “Writing Children in Adult Novels”

  1. Avatar Kim Beall says:

    I don’t know if merely reading other books with children in them would suffice. In my experience, at least, a large proportion of books with children in them or about children suffer from “stilted child character” syndrome. Apparently, most adults’ memory of what it was like to be a child is quite warped or faded. I think if you’re going to be writing children into your novel, you need to get to know some actual children. Preferably children of the exact age about which you’re writing. (You might replace also the word “child” in the foregoing with “horse,” “dog,” or “chicken,” too.)

  2. Avatar Jackson P. Leal says:

    Dears Literary Agents,

    The genre of my book is DIDACTIC AND SCIENTIFIC, specific to the areas of PSYCHOLOGY and the general public, as it brings the great DIFFERENTIAL for introducing “NEW TECHNIQUES AND STRATEGIES” in the field of cognitive behavioral psychological disorders that affect any range age groups. Therefore, I need to know if any of you are interested in representing my book “CONTEMPORARY COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOTHERAPY – In Pandemic Times – New Techniques And Strategies” It’s 420 pages of pure learning and new discoveries!