As I said in the last post, I have been attempting PiBoIdMo...picture book idea month. Although I expanded horizons slightly and allowed it to be a month of children book ideas. Picture book, poetry, short story, novel.

And yes, at the end of the month I had 30 ideas.

I'm not saying they are all amazing ideas, in fact a few are very very boringly ordinary...but...

There are three I am quite excited about. Two could be picture books, one a junior novel. So the ideas were flowing...the difficult part is being in a child's mind.

Although there are many that will say I am well and truly there, childish in so many ways.

Monkey comes to mind....

as does a certain sock puppet who came away with my writing group for a writing retreat.

She really threw herself into this weekend away. She read and she wrote (well she sat behind a keyboard and industriously tapped away- as so many of us do).

She joined us for meals and our lamentations over the publishing difficult it is to find the muse....finding an agent...all those niggles that require good debate.

She slept the sleep of the just...and somehow ended up with a bed all of her own.

As the above shows - I am childish. Yet how often when we write for children do we forget that this is for them, about them, starring them.

Our adult voice intrudes...we write for an older audience ...worse still when the author intrudes with a touch of morality or 'just in case you don't get it, I'm telling you again'.

I think that is one of the most difficult things to do, get the voice right. There can be layers, we all know the Disney films where there is a certain level of humour for children, then an adult layer where the children look at us and wonder why we are smirking.

It's keeping it constant. Not using phrases and words that are out of context. Slang dates so quickly, and what was 'cool' in our childhood is no longer 'it and a bit' now.

Names change....and yes a lot of the old fashioned names are making a huge comeback. Think Thomas and William and Lily and Amelia...but there are also those names that are just a bit out there. Dragon, Justus, Lychee, Apple, North ....and what about names that take a dictionary and thesaurus to spell.
Jessyka.  What ever happened to Jessica...why do we feel we need to insert extra Y's I's or E's in a name?

Strange names such as Hephzibah can work in a sci fi / futuristic setting but a child needs to be able to know what the word is and how to pronounce it. (can I say as an adult, there is nothing more frustrating than having finished reading a book to be told, no that name is pronounced this way). Phonetics were invented for a reason.

Yes I am childish and frankly I do not plan on growing up any time soon. I still like to hold my grand daughter's hand and skip down the street (heh we even skip in the library!)...I'm the first one on the slides and swings (if my damned hips can fit on the seat)....and I'm all for getting children to use their imagination.

It's such a powerful tool.

Mine even had my sock puppet a tad under the weather...she can't handle her alcohol at all.



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