The Backyard Tales is the story of the bond shared between 17-year-old Mia Basu Roy and her beloved cat, Pippo. She seems to understand him far too well for a human. And he seems to have another life that Mia begins to suspect. She follows her cat to their backyard and down a very dangerous road which leads her to witches, talking animals, and a story that’s much bigger than what she initially suspected.
Read this story to discover all of Mia and Pippo’s secrets, be enchanted by magic, and get the answer to a question that has haunted us for ages: does a cat truly love their owner?
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Guest Post of Author
5 Things an author needs to keep in mind while writing a book for children
“All grown-ups were once children…but only few of them remember it.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
The biggest mistake authors make when they are writing for children, is forgetting the fact they too were once children. It is important to think about to the time when you were a child and try to remember what was the kind of content you liked consuming. Personally, I try to write the kind of stories I wish I had around when I was growing up. I got lucky that experienced the magic of Harry Potter. I grew up with the boy wizard. But I cannot help but wonder if I’d have enjoyed the later books had they released around the time I was still a precocious teenager? Probably not.
I have developed children’s comics before this. My first brush with writing for children came about two years ago, when I sat down and wrote An Awfully BIG Adventure. I remember struggling to ensure that story would sit well with my younger readers too. As authors, we have a responsibility to our readers. When I began working on The Backyard Tales back in, I believe 2015-2016, I would make conscious efforts of ensuring this story is absolutely for the children. Here are five things I tried my best to stick to while writing this novel.
Kids are smart
I remembered my childhood and how much I hated being talked down to. Kids are smart. We shouldn’t speak to them condescendingly. You’d be surprised at the response kids would have if you spoke to them as equals. I wrote The Backyard Tales in a way that kids understood the story was absolutely for them.
Language should be conversational
Which brings me to the second point. Remember Enid Blyton and how easy it was go on adventures with the Famous Five and then sneak off for midnight feasts with the girls from Malory Towers? The language used for these books were conversational and easy. When writing for kids that really need to be a yardstick against which we can measure our writing.
Stories need to be intriguing
The stories by themselves need to be compelling. Preteens and teenagers would not like to read stories that do not offer something new to them. Also, they love stories that have representation. Readers like to think of themselves as the hero in the novels. So it must be a story that kids would love to be a part of.
It should appeal to the adults too
At the end of the day, it is the parents or the grownups who make decisions towards which books the kids get to read and which they do not. Your story should be one that the adults are interested by too. Believe me, if they want to know how the story ends, they will buy the book and the subsequent sequels and tell the world it’s for the kids.
Covers shouldn’t be bait
While book covers are the first pitch of your story, and despite being told since time immemorial not to judge a book by its cover – book covers in present-day do matter. However, while they should be intriguing they should not be misleading. Ensure the covers are not baited but something that pique’s the interest of your potential reader.
I hope these five tips help future authors when they decide to lend their voices to the stories for children. Honestly, it’s not that hard. But it isn’t that easy either. Nothing worth anything in this world is.