When asked to write an utterance, nursery children and kindergartners often produce strings of unrelated characters. We analysed whether these invented writings reflect similarities and differences in the phonetic and semantic aspects of the utterance. One hundred and twenty Israeli children were asked to write pairs of nouns that share a syllable (e.g. pe ‘mouth’ and perach ‘flower’) and series of sentences that share either mainly nouns or mainly verbs. The older the children, the more their invented writing reflected common linguistic elements and length of utterance. Similarities and differences on the word level were represented at a younger age than those on the syllabic level. Nouns were represented in children's written productions earlier than verbs and adverbs. Invented writing was interpreted as a linguistic act, drawing on the semantic, syntactic and phonological levels of language.