Sunday, July 10, 2016

I’m a Children’s Book Writer, What Am I Doing Writing an Adult Story?

When I began writing, it was natural for me to write for children. After all, it probably was my “inner child” that was the true author. Using a child’s voice to a middle grade voice was easy. Dialogue flew through my brain. Then one day I found myself under the mentor ship of a published author, Darlene Panzera, taking a class on how to write a short story, an adult short story.

I was sure that whatever I learned would translate into middle grade stories. No problem. But wait a minute. We were to create our adult characters, develop the plot, and when we were all done, we would publish them together in an anthology.

I had the kernel of an idea for a middle grade story and I thought I could use that. No. The main character had to be a woman. This story would be an inspirational fictional piece for women. I took my kernel and popped it, turning the main character from the granddaughter to the grandmother.

As we developed our story line, Darlene encouraged us to use Pinterest to pick pictures for inspiration. Pictures of location, people who looked like we imagined our characters to be, and jobs they might do. Looking under “older women” I found a wonderful picture of a woman holding a young child. She had whitish hair and a beautiful smile. She was a grandmother, but pretty. She was my heroine.

I had to find an antagonist to create conflict, so I went to “older men” on Pinterest. The minute I saw a picture of Paul Newman, I knew he was it. Whenever I wrote dialogue for his character, I heard his voice from movies I'd seen, I sensed his movements. He was handsome, but he made a good bad guy.

Developing the story line was a learning experience. For children’s stories, I let the children tell the story. I listened to them and they talked to me. Now I had to plan scenes with goals, conflicts, disasters, emotions, thoughts, and decisions. Darlene pushed us to find the deep point of view, get into the character's inner thoughts and emotions. I wrote and rewrote, edited, and rewrote some more. But in the end, I liked my story. I got to use big words, complicated sentences and adult situations. I was thankful for the experience and when it was finished I could say “It is good.”

There are still lots of children’s stories in my brain waiting to find the light of day, but I have learned that I might not stay to one genre. In the meantime, the anthology will be published in October 2016 as “A Christmas of Hope.” My novella included in it is “A True Christmas Present.” Look for it as an e-book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.