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Lobby 2. Welcome Main Community Discussion Board topic #90886
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Subject: "Children's Stories - NOT A Genre Question" Previous topic | Next topic
Mesg #90886 "Children's Stories - NOT A Genre Question"
Author Wandering Author     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Jun 01st 2007
1569 posts
Date Mon May-21-12 09:33 PM
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I need the input of those who don't usually write children's stories. I don't usually write children's stories, and in this particular case, I'm not concerned with the rules of the genre. The problem is a bit more personal. My oldest grandson is 5 1/2, and pretty bright. So I offered to write a story for him... I let him pick what it would be about. He asked for two. One about a cop and a robber (which is on hold until the first is done) and one about a boy who goes into space.

I have a story. The setting, or backstory, or whatever you want to call it, is a bit more up my usual alley, and not at all material for a six year old. Or five and a half, obviously. But that part isn't spelled out; only I know what's going on, and adults might guess some of that if they read it. (I don't spell it out, there are just hints. Like the World War Two stories I used to read with kids as MCs, where they didn't really understand what was happening, so unless you already knew that, you wouldn't get the horror behind the little incidents.) So I think that's okay. And the real story is okay for him; the MCs four year old brother gets lost on a space station, and the MC becomes a hero for figuring out where he's hiding when the adults don't get it.

I'm trying to keep it to fairly simple words. On the other hand, I am not capable of writing a "See the bunny run." type of story. My mind just doesn't gear down that far. (I was reading Readers Digest by the time I went into first grade, so although I did read really basic books when I was three and four, I grew out of them too fast.) On the other hand, I've read that it's best not to try to talk down to kids too much. And even if he's not quite getting into Readers Digest, he's ahead of where most kids his age are. So this is a weird situation, and I'm trying to write a story for one specific bright kid. (If it could be published, I can worry about that later, and figure out the "right" age it ought to be marketed to. That's another matter, and not my worry at the moment.)

So I'm hoping there might be a few others who have faced similar issues, and might even have a few tips for me... Or words of wisdom, or whatever.

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Mesg #90888 "RE: Children's Stories - NOT A Genre Question"
Author CatrinP     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Dec 05th 2005
2772 posts
Date Mon May-21-12 11:04 PM
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In response to Reply # 0

I've written a grand total of one story specifically for a child. It was the same situation, a friend's son had a birthday (10th) and I offered to write a short story for him (with his mum's permission). He asked for a werewolf story - which was fantaistic since I write werewolf stories (not sure if his mum had a hand in that decision, but no matter).

The boy is bright and reads adult fiction, but I was conscious I write stories along the adult romance line, so my biggest hassle was keeping that side of me out of the story. I also write horror - I did go with that genre, although toned down and with a happy ending.

I gave story to the boy's mum to vet before handing it on and although she said she could see the backstory she was confident her son wouldn't grasp it.

He enjoyed the story a lot.

I hve written many other stories for specific adults; some that give vague outlines similar to what you have been given, other have been very specific in what they want happening; down to the description of the characters and thier behaviour in specific situations as well as word count.

Those that are very specific are the hardest, the most challenging, but the most pleasing when you get it right.

My words of wisdom

- like with any story, if you don't enjoy the story yourself it won't come out the best.

- again as with any story to be publised in any form, proof it, get someone else to proof it, and proof it again.

- Use simple, common words. I do this no matter what age I'm writing for. It doesn't mean you can't write well, or emotive, or get an exciting story going. It means don't cause your reader to go to a dictionary to discover what you mean. but if you want to use a word that might stretch the reader add in an explanation so that the meaning of the word is easily understood. Same as if you used a word from another language, or a made-up word.

Not sure if any of that helps, but I wish you words.

Cat

  

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Mesg #90889 "RE: Children's Stories - NOT A Genre Question"
Author Silvara     Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Aug 11th 2002
2880 posts
Date Mon May-21-12 11:31 PM
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In response to Reply # 0

One idea would be to add illustrations. These could clarify parts or words that might be confusing to a younger reader. If you aren't artistically inclined, for personal use you could pull so pictures off the internet to incorporate into the story.

Another idea might be to include asides or a glossary to explain stuff that might be confusing. Nick Bruel does this in his "Bad Kitty" chapter books to nice effect.

When my niece was that age, she and I used to write stories together. I would write the words and she would draw the illustrations. It was great fun and a nice bonding experience.

Good luck with your story and have fun with it.

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Mesg #90890 "RE: Children's Stories - NOT A Genre Question"
Author RavenCorbie     Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list Click to send message via AOL IM
Author Info Member since Oct 17th 2005
7824 posts
Date Tue May-22-12 12:23 AM
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In response to Reply # 0

I have a couple of suggestions:

1. Just don't worry about it. Write the way you normally write. If he has a question about a word, he can ask someone or look it up. This is, in my opinion, probably the best, since he'll get exposure to unknown words and do the learning himself.

2. What I'm doing: I wrote a story for SAD that I decided I would share with my 7th graders. I wasn't thinking AT ALL about language/vocabulary at the time, and some of them are very low readers. So, I made up a hand-out with the words that I think might cause them problems. It also has a lot of references to pop culture and literary works, so I put all of those in as well (even if it seems obvious to me, there might be someone who hasn't heard of it, and some of them would be very obscure for a 7th grader). If I was giving them all copies (22 pages - nope), I might not do this, but I'm reading it aloud, so they won't be able to look anything up or ask questions.

3. Imagine that you're telling him the story, and just write naturally with him in mind. This is probably only going to work if you're writing in omniscient, though. Or, if your main character IS at his reading level, it might also work.

These are just a couple things I thought might be helpful. Good luck whatever you decide!

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