Children's Stories

Part of story-telling is in the HOW you craft a story.

Ask anyone who writes for children that you don't "dumb down" the nuance or craft of the characters. You don't eliminate the big words and the big concepts - the kids who want to read your stories will stay along for the ride. They can smell inauthenticity or pandering.

I wrote the "Quiet in the Back Seat" series in this vein. A family buy a multi-purpose vehicle that once was an ambulance. The father needs something to carry his drums around for his weekend job. He's unaware the ghosts of the people who breathed their last in that ambulance still inhabit it. They reach out to the man's children to help uncover why they're still in purgatory.

Living in London, and looking for work, I blasted 15,000 words in the second story of this series in a near-continuous burst. Since I lost my mother, I can't bring myself to read it again. Again, you don't need to tone down 'big feelings' because you're writing for kids. This story won an award in the "Paperback in Your Hand" awards, not my only win in this competition.

The world doesn't spare children from big events or big feelings, as much as we as adults and parents wish to protect them. Kids shape our future and it's important to include them in our stories.

Ask Tolkien, CS Lewis, Rowling, Dahl, Blyton.

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