How to Write a Children's Book Outline

Books help children experience life. Books open imaginations, introduce new activities and give children outlets for their energy and emotions. Writing a children's book that truly touches a child is an accomplishment. Whether you're writing a fiction or nonfiction book, it takes time and focus. Begin your project with a book outline and you'll be on your way to a finished manuscript.

Identify the key plot points of your children's book by asking yourself what action or actions will each character have to go through to keep the reader turning pages. List the plot points with space below them.

Brainstorm the main events you'll use to push your book's plot forward. For children's books the main character may be dealing with a personal problem, a family issue or something with a friend or pet. Think about the important aspects of your theme as you write each event under the plot points from Step 1.

Label the plot points and main events using Roman numerals or letters or numbers. The format you choose should enable you to navigate your outline quickly.

Scan your evolving children's book outline and think about the events. You may find there are smaller events or special scenes you'd like to include on the outline. Jot those down.

Grab resources, like a calendar or pictures, that have important significance to your story. They could be items that insipired you to write the story, or pictures that represent the characters or materials that help you show not tell the main events. Record more details if you feel you'd like them included in your outline.

Estimate the length of the book based on your outline so far. Remember that children's books vary from picture book to Young Adult novels. Check out the write4kids site to see where your story falls.

Rewrite your book outline neatly. Include your labels, main events, scenes and the extra details you want at a glance.


Remember that your outline isn't set in stone. Writing is fluid, and your events may change as the story unfolds. Revising your children's book outline keeps it fresh and pointed in the direction you need to get the manuscript done.

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