Actually, I guess that should really be a question; “How does one write a children’s book?”, and if you have the answer, or know anyone who does, please, please come and find me – I’m the mum in the corner of the coffee shop, trying to write crumbs of a story on my iPad, whilst dodging carrot puree bullets expertly thrown in my direction by Charlie, my 8-month old boss. Sorry, baby. I meant to say my 8 month-old, lovely baby.
I have decided to write kid’s books. AND get them published – two things in which I have no experience, and for which I have a very ad-hoc amount of time. Charlie thinks routines are overrated, so be it. Who doesn’t like a challenge?
So, here is a little journal on what I am discovering around how to write children’s books, how I got started, and what I’m doing next.
Oh, and who I am.
I am a French, first time mum on maternity leave from a fast-paced job as a management consultant in the financial industry. I’ve always written bits and bobs, here and there. I have started many novels, poems, short stories, but have only finished a few of them. So these children’s stories will be the first things I am committing myself to writing “The End” for. Well, actually I intend to write a series, so it will be “To be continued…” if all goes to plan (instead of to the bin, which is a short cut I don’t want to take this time).
I have written five stories so far (of what I hope will be a series of ten) about a little bear called Cosmo, the everyday adventures he goes on, and the friends he makes on the way.
For me, what is exciting about writing is that it can take you anywhere; your imagination is the limit. There is something really hopeful about starting to write a story, as it always has the potential to turn into anything: the next Tolkien, Shakespeare, or E.L. James (catering for all needs here).
Well, actually, the real limit, for me at least, is the motivation to delve into my creativity and dig deep. That is sometimes extremely difficult (more on that in a later post!). The rewards are worth it though, when I see that Cosmo is learning things, feeling emotions, and meeting new characters that appear almost from their own impetus, because they are called in by the natural evolution of the story.
First things first, I have a few ideas to put down. I have found some excellent tips on Blurb, an aspiring writers’ gold mine.
One of the key ones so far has been to write the entire story down from start to finish (even if it is just a skeleton), and then to go back and add some flesh to that bony synopsis.
So that’s where I have started. I must say that sticking to this principle has given me the structure I needed to get to the end of a story, instead of getting lost in the description of the Great Green Forest’s numerous quirky animals. Using some initial ideas that I had noted down every time I thought of them is why I now have five stories (instead of one, or none!). They are all at different stages of “stuffing” which is when I add depth to the plot, the characters, and the overall context.
And that alone feels great – Cosmo has started his adventure. And I have started mine!
Are you working on a story? I’d love to hear about it and anything you’re learning along the way!
Latest posts by Lucile Knight (see all)
- Writing Children’s Books, Part 2: Finding a story, and filling it with characters - March 19, 2015
- Writing Children’s Books, Part 1: Getting Going! - February 6, 2015