The Joys and Perils of Writing a Children’s Book.

The book is going well, thanks for asking. I am have to say I am thoroughly enjoying the writing process. And thank God for the spell checker. The one thing that doesn’t seem to improve for me is getting the words written correctly on the page. Some of it is due to the lack of knowledge, which order the little letters ought to be in and the other is coordinating the fingers on the keyboard being too not speedily enough to fit the pace my brain wants to work at.

Although work is thin on the ground at the moment and the usual worries about where the next meal is coming from are continually uppermost in my mind, the time off has allowed me to get down to the creative process of hacking a children’s book together. I have a number of written projects I wish to complete, but the most commercial I think is my Splidge, the Cragflinger kids novel.

It is set in the make believe world of Gud, a fantasy place where I have the advantage of allowing anything to happen. There is a weird logic to the place, but it may not necessarily be a rational one. For example, ‘plastics’ do exist, but the motor car does not. Playing God is fun when dreaming up the characters and all that happens to them and I suppose it allows one to disappear into a world where I have loads of control rather than the so called Real one, that I do not.

I am rather hoping to have this draft finished by the end of March and then edited for publication by the last week in April. It is aimed at the 9-12 year group, so I am not expecting my readers or listeners to the podcasts to clamour to read it, and even if they did, I don’t even know how I could evaluate their opinions anyway. If kids enjoy it then that is all that will matter to me.

There is often a stigma attached to writing or performing children’s material. It is as if it isn’t quite ‘proper’ or ‘real work’. A writer friend of mine even mentioned it to me, forgetting that I was working on my particular story and went on to say that it wasn’t the same as producing a real work of fiction. I do have to protest at that and of course challenge that individual to have a go at a children’s book genre first before saying it isn’t in the same class. Each have their problems.

I think personally kids are going to be a harder audience to write for in fact because if they get bored or loose they train of thought, they have no qualms about chucking the book away and moving on to something more shiny and inviting. Many adults will give the author the benefit of the doubt. ‘Oh, its his first novel,’ they might say, ‘I will give a another hour or so to see if it wakes up a bit.’ Kids wont do that. If they are not engaged, its dead.

We shall we see where I score on this front when it is finished. That’s going to be the time to hide down a hole, if it all goes wrong.

March 20th, 2013 by