Spirited Children’s Book Writing

What’s the secret of writing compelling children’s books? Learn tips from Emily Lim, an award-winning children’s author in Singapore. Watch the short video below for details.

  1. Be Less of a “Tell-Tale”
    Don’t narrate. Add dialogue, show action and create an emotional connection with your reader.
  2. Strong Beginning
    A compelling beginning will keep the reader turning your pages.
  3. Hopeful Ending
    Children need hope.
  4. Greater Purpose
    Don’t try to write a bestseller; try to write a “hope-seller.”
  5. Memorable Characters
    Characters should be realistic, relatable and possess a special quality that makes them stand out.
  6. Character Wisdom
    Your characters need to grow in wisdom. No one is all good or all bad. A good character should have flaws. A bad character should have saving graces.
  7. Clarity in Conflict and Resolution
    A good story has a clear story problem with solutions. Resolve your conflict satisfactorily by the end.
  8. Faith in Your Reader
    Don’t talk down to a child reader, don’t moralize as you write. You’re a writer, not a preacher. Have faith that your reader will take away some of your message.
  9. Truthful Voice
    Be authentic. Avoid cliches. Be true to why you’re writing.

Check out Emily Lim’s blog.

This video was shot by Team David Films at MAI’s international publishing conference, LittWorld 2015, in Singapore.

The Publisher’s Editorial Process

Here’s what the editorial process of developing a book manuscript looks like at one publishing house. Dan Elliott is editorial director at Tyndale House Publishers, based in Chicagoland, USA. Watch the short video below for details.

1. Read the whole manuscript without editing. Pay attention: what is your experience as the reader?

2. Establish relationship with the author. Learn about the author as a whole person so you can develop a good partnership.

3. Create a written review of the manuscript containing three parts:
a) Identify its strengths
b) Identify how it can be improved
c) Make specific recommendations
This review is confidential, for discussion and sharing within the publishing house.

4. Adapt the above review to create a personal letter from the editor to the author:
a) Offer praise of manuscript strengths
b) Be specific on what the author can work on
c) Focus on the big picture and clarify a time frame for next steps

5. Get the author involved and coach him or her on next steps.

6. Look at the big picture issues of the manuscript. Work with the author.

7. Edit the details of the manuscript. Work with the author.

8. Get the author’s approval of the final manuscript.

This video was shot by Team David Films at MAI’s international publishing conference, LittWorld 2015, in Singapore.

Chile: Writers Gain Strong Foundation

Omar Cisneros had been a skeptic from an anti-Christian background.  But now he serves in his first pastorate, shepherding a small Baptist church. Pastor Omar  dreams of writing his own story to reach skeptics. (See front row in photo below.)

In January he joined six other new writers for MAI’s creative writing workshop in creative-writing-seminar-santiago-chile-participantes-patricia-adrianzen-david-rogers-editorial-crece-pres-croppedSantiago, Chile, led by Peruvian author and publisher Patricia Adrianzén de Vergara (front left in photo). Participants included four pastors, an American missionary and two women working in children’s ministry.

“It was four days full of teaching, thinking, encouraging and sharing,” said David Rogers (back right) of Editorial Crece, the Baptist publishing house that organized the workshop. This year the publisher aims to produce seven to eight new titles for teens, young adults and family. Thus, the workshop focused on writing for youth and creating books from Biblical characters.

The seven writers dreamed, set writing goals and wrote, despite an inadequate AC unit on the stuffy third floor of a church. On several afternoons the fledgling writers moved to the basement parking garage to escape the heat.

writing-participants-at-tables-cropClaudia Mondaca (front right in top photo) oversees her church’s children’s ministry. She hopes to write materials for special education children to benefit multiple churches.

The other young woman, Cinthya Veloso (front, 2nd from left in top photo), had recently completed a draft of her first Sunday School teacher’s manual for primary children. During the workshop she gained practical methods for enriching her writing.

Editorial Crece plans to build on the foundation laid by the workshop. David wants to organize a writer’s club and invite each writer to complete a publishable article or book manuscript. He hopes to meet with and encourage each one at least once in the next three months.

Please pray that amidst many ministry demands these seven new writers will complete their writing goals. Pray for MAI’s increased training efforts in Latin America in 2016, including a writer workshop in Mexico and a training conference for the region’s Christian publishers and editors.

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Chinese Publishers Refreshed by LittWorld2015

141124LittWorldPosChina’s key Christian publishers were represented at a day-long meeting immediately following LittWorld 2015 in Singapore. Many were impacted by the challenges shared by publishers from Egypt, Lebanon and Nigeria.

“They enjoyed meeting new friends from other countries and came away so encouraged and enriched,” said MAI’s Ramon Rocha, who participated in the gathering. “I sensed LitWorld gave them a chance to know each other better and opened the way for future talks, fellowship and even possible joint projects.”

Before ending, the publishers stood huddled in a circle and took turns sharing prayer requests. They laid hands on each other to pray aloud for one person at a time.

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LittWorld2015 Inspires Participants from Fifty Nations

141124LittWorldPosSharper vision and skills were among the key takeaways of 277 talented men and women who attended our global publishing conference, LittWorld 2015, in Singapore, November 1 to 6.


Gökhan Talas (center) enjoys meeting publishers and writers from around the world, including Michael Collie (right) and Kelly Norman of Sparklit in Australia. Photo courtesy of Karen Crespo.

Gökhan: A visionary publisher
“In situations of persecution, books, magazines and other publishing ministries can reach people,” said Gökhan Talas (center in photo),  co-founder of Turkey’s first and only Christian magazine. He was inspired at LittWorld to create a simple digital version of Miras magazine to connect with more readers. Miras aims to build bridges between Turkey’s estimated 6,000 believers, their churches and denominations.

Before launching the magazine in 2012, Gökhan and his wife were planting a church until Muslim terrorists killed three of their teammates. “But we live the risk in Turkey every day,” he says. This year MAI is planning a writer workshop with Gökhan’s team. (Watch a 2-minute video of Gökhan at LittWorld)


Daniela, front left, enjoys a workshop discussion. Photo courtesy of Jeam Wong, Singapore.

Daniela: A strengthened leader
“I love encouraging young Argentines to read. When they do, they ask for more. Books can give them a new perspective on the Bible and their lives,” says Daniela Ortiz (front left). She manages Christian publisher and bookseller Certeza in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Certeza faces increasingly difficult political and economic challenges.

At LittWorld Daniela gained strategic leadership and marketing skills. “I returned with renewed strength,” she said. (Watch a 2-minute video of Daniela at LittWorld)

Josil: A dedicated writer 
Filipino Josil Gonzales serves the persecuted church as country manager for two josil-gonzales-cropSouth Asian nations. “I have decided to embrace my calling as a Christian writer,” Josil said, inspired by best-selling author Davis Bunn’s writing track.

After LittWorld, Josil and another writer became accountability partners, to “prod us to more writing.” He even named his new laptop “MAI,” for “pointing me in the WRITE direction.”

Pray that our author and publishing friends go forward in creating excellent books and articles for readers in challenging contexts.

<<Subscribe to LittWorldOnline for free resources and inspiration for writing, editing, publishing and training. You’ll also find videos of practical tips from world-class authors, editors and publishers.