Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Shaping Small Souls
Since becoming a children’s author, I’ve often heard, “Writing for children is much easier than writing for adults. Right?” I smile, shake my head, and do my best to dispel the commonly believed myth.
Children are bright, witty, and love a good story, but successful children’s stories don’t just happen. They must be crafted well. I’ll leave the intricate details of plot, subplot, conflict, structure, voice, characterization, dialogue, and point-of-view to the experts, but what I’d like to inspire you with today is simple ways to keep your creative juices flowing and stop “writer’s block” from camping out at your place. I’ve tucked some tips I’ve learned on my writing journey in this simple acrostic—C.H.I.L.D.R.E.N.
C—Cherish childhood memories. Reminisce often. Take long strolls down Memory Lane. Draw from those stories and write about authentic, believable, and loveable characters.
H—Hone your craft. Join a writing critique group. Attend a writers’ conference. Allow seasoned writers to mentor you and influence your writing. Be patient and never stop learning.
I—Interact with children. Familiarize yourself with what issues children face. Observe their dialogue and actions when you immerse yourself in their world.
L—Learn the art of revision. After you feel your manuscript is finished, set it aside and come back later. Revision is your best writing buddy and will make your manuscript crisp and concise.
D—Develop an objective mindset toward your manuscript. This simple attitude adjustment will help you become a better writer and separate you from the pack of other writers.
R—Remember what it’s like to be a child. Don’t talk down to the little ones in your world. Speak on their level. Children are like wet cement and your stories are shaping their small souls.
E—Enjoy the ride. Don’t get all stressed out over your manuscript. If you have fun writing, it will show in the stories you write. Remember your story has the power to transplant a smile on the face of a hurting child and sow seeds in his or her small soul.
N—No egos allowed. Many writers feel their story is perfect just the way it is. This attitude will stunt your growth as a children’s writer. To become a better writer, you must leave your ego at the door and allow other writers to help sharpen your writing skills. You’ll be glad you did.
Get busy writing for little ones today! They need your amazing story.
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