Has anyone ever said that to you?
I’ve had that said to me many times. More times than I can count on my fingers. More times than I can count really. WHY? I know the reason, but I still ask myself that question anyway. The reason is because they think all you have to do is slap down a few words and viola! you have a story that children will love.
Well, it’s not that easy. That is like saying raising a child is easy. Or teaching a child how to act is that easy. No, it takes time, thought, and care to get a story down right. To captivate an audience, and get them to want to read it over and over again.
I think the main reason most people think this way is because a story (esp. for younger children) seems so effortless. The story flows from the pages, the illustrations mesh, and everything pops into your head and takes you into the plot. But that’s is what a truely done right ms is SUPPOSED to do! You’re not supposed to see the hours, days, and months put into the story. You’re not supposed to feel the stutter or jolt of a sentence being out of place. Or have them stop and reread where a scene doesn’t seem to be in the right place or not in the story at all. No, as a reader, all they are supposed to see, hear, and feel is the polished product of a writer’s (illustrator’s) hard work. So it does seem effortless and easy to do… to them.
I’ve learned to hold my head up when I hear that comment. It means I have a high standard to live up to with my writing. And hopefully will hold others up to it too when I’ve gotten my own books out. I feel that writing for children is a great privilege. You have a part of shaping that child, even for an instant. With a book you can help a child relate to certain situations, help them laugh, or open their eyes up to a new idea. It never ceases to amaze me what a book can do. Or how much it can influence a person, even the little ones known as children!
So, the next time someone says… ‘Oh, you write for children.’
Remember to smile, and say “Yes, I’m doing what I can to help shape the future.”