Friday, April 4, 2008

Writing For Children

When writing for children a popular way of getting started is to begin with an incident or happening. Any particular incident, whether you've read about it, or maybe heard about it on the news, or maybe a chance phrase or a meeting with someone may create an sudden unshakeable conviction that this is something which may one day be the beginning of a book. Writing for children is, contrary to what many people believe, just as difficult and challenging as writing for adults, indeed in many ways more so, so when you are writing for children, do select your incident or happening carefully as you need to gain, and keep a child's notoriously fickle attention.

In any case it may take years for you to begin writing for children, but the idea remains firmly fixed in your mind, and so does its potential for a good storyline. Consider the story of the manager of an orphanage who was aware that many of the children in her care had invented"real belonging mother" all of their own. In some cases the mothers actually existed, but many of these absent moms were invented by the children themselves to fill an aching need, because they didn't know who their real mothers were, they simply invented them.

When you are writing for children, you could perhaps consider this situation- store it away in your mind and give it time to take root. Possibly years later you may be able to use and develop it. Here's one possibility ....

Children in an orphanage create fantasy mothers for themselves. Some fantasise about wonderful, cuddly moms who love them deeply and only left them at the orphanage because they had no other option in a cold, hard world. Maybe other children that fantasise about heartless, evil women who simply abandoned them out of cruelty and spite - sounds a bit like a wicked stepmother - doesn't it? And we all know what wonderful tales have been woven around wicked stepmothers!

Of course not all situations will develop well. You do need to consider carefully what might be worked into a good storyline and which scenarios should be left well alone when writing for children. After all, you don't want to make your stories too scary! Remember those fantasy moms - those kids needed make-believe mothers who would support rather than destroy them, and any writing for children should always leave the reader feeling warm and reassured after the conclusion has been reached.

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