One of the things we often forget when we’re writing, is our readers. And when writing for children this is even more important – because they just don’t read like us, or even like each other.
Something I’m working on at the moment is aimed at a primary school level. I thought it was working well. My eleven-year-old had read it and thought it was great. So I gave it to my eight-year-old reader. She loved the story too, but some of the sentences were just too long for her. She worked her way through, but the humour was lost with the effort it took to get through the sentences. It made her want to take a break – and that’s not the effect I wanted.
So who is my real target audience? They’re both in primary school, but their reading abilities are quite different due to their ages.
My novel is really aimed at an eight-year-old – so back to the drawing board for me. Sharper, shorter sentences are required.
The moral of the story? If your novel’s aimed at an eight-year-old, find yourself an eight-year-old to read it – if you can.
It could be a real eye opener.