A Challenge to Write a Children’s Story

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Red Dragon - LongChildren’s stories were something I had not contemplated for one reason. They are deceptively simple. After writing poetry for twelve years and loving sonnets because of their tight structure. I was reluctant to dive into a story with an equal amount of difficulty. Yes, those well-loved childhood stories hide a secret. They require a high level of execution and craft. If someone had asked me earlier I would have avoided the challenge. The thought of all those restrictions made me squeamish.

The Challenge

I was commenting on the story structure in a children’s book. My friend seized on the opportunity to issue a dare. Write a children’s story that begins with ‘once upon a time’ and ends with ‘the end’. I accepted. After ten years of writing novels, including the painstaking task of editing. I thought it was time to go back and revisit some of my old poetry skills. This combined with a rigid structure and reading level sounded like a fun exercise.

The Task

After having written 70,000 words (260 pages) a length of 500 words looked tiny. I love creating titles, all my books began with a title and this was no exception. The list of titles grew to eighteen in all. Instead of writing just one I wrote three stories with a fantasy theme. I have always preferred fantasy when escaping from the real world into reading. For me there is only one type of fantasy and it involves a dragon, a large clumsy one named Bruce.


Words matter with children’s stories. The first 100 words, the second 100 words, and so on. These are the common words that children learn when they are beginning to read. This enables them to branch outward when learning. I did say that this was going to be difficult, and fun. Playing with words is a challenge but it can also be rewarding.