Writing Childrens StoriesChildren's story writing
Writing stories for kids, what do I need to know?
Ever dreamt of writing stories for kids? The New Zealand children's book writer and publisher Don Long has a few hints to take your writing to the next stage. There are certain similarities between good stories from all tradition, among them persuasive dialogues, powerful personalities and catchy scenes. Though there are some important variations, this applies to both children's and adult stories.
Adult stories, for example, are not usually portrayed. And according to the ages of the kids you write for, there are aspects of force and sex that you want to omit or treat with great care. The following hints can be applicable to all stories for young and old and have certainly helped me write stories for them.
There''s more than one way to tell a tale. For example, the 53 Commonwealth nations have many different ways of storytelling for them. You can find a great intro to this under A River of Stories: There are stories that the whole wide planet is yearning for. That' s why you still see children's stories of Maui with illustration showing Maui in a boat that pulls an isle to the top at the end of a line.
Naturally, the narrative structure known to many English-speaking listeners, such as the classical Western folktale, also offers a wealth of idea how one can organize one's own idea in a narrative - and sometimes these structure is much wealthier than one might initially expect. Why should you organize your own idea at all?
Now, try to make a child narrative without having the least inkling of where your narrative is going - and you will soon see why it will help to organize your thoughts before you do. There is nothing like being in the midst of a storyline without knowing what to put next.
The storyline gives you a roadmap to work on. As you write part of history, you have a good feel for where the equilibrium of history will go. A River of Stories starts a Brunei Darussalam story: They' re all about winding up the readers in.
With this example above, we know in 30 words who the protagonists are, when the tale is playing and what the issue is. You can use them to communicate a personality, a storyteller, a setting and shockful information. Use them to tell your readers what to look for next.
Incidentally, how stories for kids begin is evolving, affected by the beginning of TV shows and movies. Whereas in former times the beginning of stories contained a lot of scenography and development of characters, now the stories begin right in the midst of the film. Here is a weird thing about the settings of a story: as an author you can say too much about it.
As an example, the writer Johnny Frisbie and I are writing a tale about the 1860s Peruvian slavery vessel Rosa y Carmen. The teenager figures are taken prisoner on the Pukapuka Islands and escaped to the Kermadec Islands. Nevertheless, a few revealing things make a big deal of distinction - for example the protagonists the Peruvians hear speaking in Spanish.
All you have to do is let these particulars drive your storyline forward. Irrespective of how tropical the scenery is - whether the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic winters or the cargo area of a Peruvian slaveship in the Pacific around 1800 - the task is to transform the backdrop of your history into a personality.
Locate the point in the actual design of a narrative you are working on - the point at which you first describe or imply the preference-set. Will it stop the narrative in its wake or does it all of a sudden alter everything? Every reference to the rosa y carmen's tons would keep our history alive.
How should a talk between two local people who go out to fish off the south-west Jamaica be?
Here is the talented author Jacintha A. Lee, who does it right in A River of Stories:'Compere Lapin couldn't bear to hear it. "Compere Lapin tried to tell them that this was a nasty habit....." Jacinta's prudent use of a vernacular language provides exactly the clue their reader needs.
It' an all too philanthropic mind for things you should never dare to do. Exit the computer or put a print-out of the tale under the sock in your tray. Tales that felt great in the first design quickly revealed their mistakes a few week later. In your second and following designs you can fine-tune the dialog, work on how you describe the settings, how you have organized your idea...
Try Robert McKee's story: Content, structure, style and principles of screening writing. Although these textbooks are not specifically about writing for kids, they are all excellent. And, yes, it seems strange to draw the attention of children's authors to a script-writing guideline. However, in Storyline Robert McKee provides excellent insight into what moves a storyline and how to do it as an author.
Writing for young readers is a good starting point: If so, take part in the Commonwealth Class Story Writing Competition or let your students join the children's group.