Tips For Editing Your Children’s Book

by Lisa Balthazar

At some point after you have a solid draft of the children’s book you’re writing, you must begin the editing process.

Here’s a quick overview of the salient points to keep in mind.

  • If a sentence doesn’t contribute to plot or character development, delete it.
  • Make sure your characters don’t all sound the same when they speak.
  • If you have a page or more of continuous dialogue, chances are it needs tightening.
  • When changing place or time, or starting a new scene or chapter, provide brief transitions to keep your story moving smoothly.
  • Make sure to keep the pace moving from action to action, scene to scene, chapter to chapter.
  • If you find yourself using a lot of punctuation (!!!), CAPITAL LETTERS, italics, or bold, chances are your words aren’t working hard enough for you.
  • When you can find one word to replace two or more words, do it.
  • Be careful with changing tenses midstream. If your story is told in the past tense, stick with it throughout. If present tense, then stick with that. Be consistent.
  • Watch excessive use of adjectives, adverbs, and long descriptive passages.
  • After you choose a point of view for a character, stick to it.
  • If your character hasn’t changed at the end of your story, chances are he isn’t yet fully fleshed out.
  • If your character talks to himself or does a lot of wondering aloud, he needs a friend to talk to.
  • If you’re bored with a character, your reader will be, too.
  • If you can’t tell your story in three well-crafted sentences: the first one covering the beginning, the second one alluding to the climax (the middle), and the last one hinting at the ending — you may not have a complete story yet.
  • If you find yourself overwriting because you’re having trouble expressing exactly what you mean, sit back and say it aloud to yourself, and then try again.

About the Author

childrens book editing services by Lisa BLISA BALTHAZAR is a publishing executive and book editor with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. She currently works with writers who intend to self-publish as well as writers who are preparing query letters and book proposals for literary agents and traditional publishers.

Lisa was Editorial/Publishing Director for Golden Books, Price Stern Sloan-Penguin Random House, Intervisual Books, Gateway Learning Corp (Hooked on Phonics), and other established publishing houses.

As an editor, Lisa has helped hundreds of published authors hone their skills as writers. She is always a writer’s toughest critic but biggest cheerleader.

Lisa's critique letter and developmental editing includes character development and character arc, storyline and plot points, drama and conflict, pacing, dialogue, writing style, effective transitions and chapter breaks, grammar, formatting, PLUS any issues with your novel you might not be aware of.

"Lisa is an excellent editor. She has edited several manuscripts for me that were sent to my agent who accepted them without change and sent them on to various publishing houses. They were published with a minimum of editing, thanks to Lisa's insightful and enlightened work. I highly recommend her." —Ellen Jones

Quick tips for children's book writers:

  • If your character hasn't changed at the end of your story, chances are he isn't yet fully fleshed out.

  • If your character talks to himself or does a lot of wondering aloud, he needs a friend to talk to.

  • Don't create main characters who have a problem they don't solve themselves or who don't change throughout the course of the story.
  • Don't talk down to children as if they're small, idiotic adults.

FREEBIE: Lisa's clients receive her Manuscript Formatting and Grammar Guide.

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