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VIDEO – Laura Backes on Developing Stories for Different Age Groups

Laura discusses how to polish your idea to fit specific age groups.




Laura Backes

Laura is the founder and publisher of Children's Book Insider, and co-founder of Her work has appeared in Writer's Digest and The Writer magazines, as well as on numerous writing blogs. She's the technical editor of "Writing Children's Books for Dummies", and her book "Best Books for Kids Who (Think They) Hate to Read" is published by Random House. Through webinars, workshops, and online courses, Laura has taught thousands of children's book writers how to improve their craft .

16 Responses to “VIDEO – Laura Backes on Developing Stories for Different Age Groups”

  1. jenny l bailey

    Laura, as always, your videos never disappoint me. How do we nominate CBI Clubhouse to be one of the best 101 websites by Writer’s Digest?


    Thanks so much for doing this! I found this sooooo helpful. It answered a lot of questions I had and now I know exactly where my present manuscripts fit and what categories my WIPs can be placed in.

  3. Laura Backes

    Thank you Jenny! This year’s list of 101 Best Websites for Writers just came out from Writers Digest, but we’d be thrilled to be nominated for next year. I suggest you go to the Writers Digest website and search for a nomination form for next year’s list. We’d really appreciate it!

  4. Ursula Dunn

    Hi Laura. I am new to this and found your video to be the most helpful tool for breaking the age groups down. A way different experience than reading about it. Thank you.

  5. Laura Backes

    Thanks Ursula! I’m glad the video was helpful. And thanks for being such an active participant on the Clubhouse!

  6. Sheri Rad

    Thanks Jon for helping me decide what to write about. But my passions for reading as an adult and for writing for children are way different. I haven’t the slightest idea how to begin a children’s chapter book for easy readers or lower grade student chapter book with a mystery to solve. Yes, I have read the Cam Jansen series, and Nate the Great, and the Magic Tree House and several others. But I don’t know how to structure the book and start from ground zero. Any suggestions? Can you make a video on this kind of thing for children’s writers?


  7. William Fu

    Hi Laura, my name is William and I’m new to CBI. I love your videos, I would always refer to them whenever I needed help to get inspired and motivated. But I do have a question, is it possible to write an epic-picture book story? I mention ‘epic’ because I noticed that you said, its probably not the best idea to have subplots for picture book stories and I agree, but since my goal is to write a picture book with character development, not just only for the main character, but also others as well, I felt that the story is kind of broad in terms of the different characters background stories. I was hoping to illustrate the actions by myself as well, but I may have to chop down alot of the things I’ve written just so that the text won’t get too long.
    So is it possible to write an epic-picture story book? Or is there a requirement to exactly how many pages a picture book should be?


  8. Debbie Carpenter

    Thanks!  It gives me a lot to think about and research!

  9. Lauriann Sayers

    Thank you so much.  This has been very helpful in helping me to understand better the different approaches to writing for the different age groups.

  10. Arti Sonthalia

    HI Laura, 
    i think this video is fantastic, very inspiring and at the same time really helpful. I really liked he way you have described the difference between the young adult and middle grader books. I was not aware of this hence it is an achievement. 
    i am not as regular as i should be with this website but i really like it. 

  11. Arti Sonthalia

    Hi LAura, 
    i just did the write up for the whats your passion module? 
    sometimes i am confused. I have ideas but i am not putting them into words or action. Then there are time when i cant decide what i really want to write. 
    Cud you help?

  12. Kathy Ruth

    I've just finished watching Laura's video and have decided that CBI is my new destination for me in my writer's life.  I am finding so much vauable information about the craft of writing here in this one site. Previously I've wasted  time on web-based searches, buying books on amazon, or joining other groups which has turned out to wick away valuable writing time AND leave me floundering.  Now I know to start my day with a cup of coffee at CBI, then I am inspired and suited up for the dive into my current picture book project.  Thank you for offering this one-stop shop.

  13. Vermilion

    I'm just getting started in the process of writing for kids. This was very informative, especially the part about the YA books. Knowing that in YA books the child leaves childhood and becomes more adult makes the difference between the middle school and YA level clearer to me. Thank you.

  14. Janet Hatfield

    Laura I really enjoyed your video.  I took a lot of notes to refer to later. I've been a member of CBI for some time now and I really haven't experienced much of the vast information that has been available to me.

  15. Marilyn Cullen-Reavill

    This video is very helpful and is just as relevant and true as it was five years ago when it was created. Several of my questions about genre and age were answered by it. Thanks.

  16. Navin

    I have been researching on books for 3-5 year olds- in the picture book category. Your helpful video adds lot of value. Thank you for sharing

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