My blog has been lacking some TLC for quite a while now. In February this year, I gave birth to my second child and, well… need I say more? My pregnancy, although free from complications, was an incredibly difficult time, physically and emotionally. Being a mother of two now ensures that spare time is spent keeping the whirlwind of a household within some form of normality. I am very eager to say though, I am making time to write again. And with this, comes an entirely new and exciting experience.
Since the arrival of my first child in 2010, I have dabbled in children’s writing (which I’ve touched on in earlier posts). I’ve gone back and forth many times with song-writing and story-writing, and whilst I will always dream to record an album for children, it is literature that reels me in and keeps me wanting to discover more.
A couple of months ago, I put pencil to paper again, and have now completed the first draft of what I believe to be a very quirky, enjoyable and marketable children’s book. During my time of becoming a fast-growing baby cooker, I was able to indulge in a little self-study into the world of picture books and this helped me realise where I’ve been going wrong with my writing and how I can develop stories more appropriate for the picture book age-range. Some useful tips that have stayed with me are:
– SHOW a story, don’t tell one.
– Every word counts. Don’t waste them.
– Write about what kids are interested in, not what you think they may or should be interested in.
– Be the child. Relive childhood experiences using ALL of your senses.
– Humour goes a long way.
– Be succinct. Picture books are typically 200-400 words in length. Never more than 500 words.
– Decide on prose or rhyme, but don’t rhyme if you can’t find the right rhythm.
So… that’s what I’m doing. Notes on my iPhone keep filling with story ideas and character descriptions that come to me during the 3am feeding session (or that wake me when I really don’t want to be woken!). I’ve dusted off the notebooks and journals containing my work and have started refining, culling, mind-mapping and writing new stories. I am entering my work in various literary competitions (not limited to children’s writing comps) and I have started immersing myself in the world of self-publishing. A topic I will go into more detail with at a later date.
For now, I’m keen. I’m passionate and I’m positive. And this blog is going to cop the overflow of musings, reflections and ideas that spew from my noggin.
Put the kettle on and get comfy.