A writing process can be a very personal thing. There are ways that are taught, and followed for success, and there is also inspiration that drives a story into fruition. My writing process is a mixture of time tested ways of writing a book or story, and of inspiration. Below I will detail the process of some of my children’s books.
Sock Soup (Coming June 2022)
Sock Soup’s plot was partially developed by my daughter when she was 8 years old. I had started to write the book based on an idea of where all the missing socks go on laundry day, and back then when I started a story, I didn’t finish it. (By the way never throw out your writing, no matter how bad you think it might be, you will find that there will be a day that you get inspiration to finish the story, or you can add it into a new story you write). As I wrote my daughter was quite interested, and when I left it, she started to write to fill in the gaps of the plot. I had the story sitting there for 13 years before I picked it up and created it into the story it is today. It was actually 3500 words when I finished my updated draft. I submitted to a publisher, at Red Deer Press, who gave me very encouraging feedback about my writing and advised that children’s books are usually under 1000 words. I then sought assistance from a friend of mine who is a policy writer, and she took my manuscript and cut it back to about 1500 words, and I cut it back the rest down to 992.
The Little Goose That Could (Coming Fall 2022), and I Love My Family (November 2021)
The Little Goose That Could and I Love My Family were both written without any consideration of form. They flowed through me easily, as if they wanted to be born. I followed a similar process when writing these books. First, the books came to me by inspiration. Second, I wrote down the idea soon after being inspired. And Third, when had a moment to sit down, I wrote them out in one sitting! Editing had to be done, however the core stories were done.
The Little Goose That Could was inspired by sitting out in my backyard drinking my morning coffee and hearing geese fly overhead going South for the winter. I wondered, “ What is it like to be a goose, and how hard is it for a new goose to make the journey South?” After asking myself that question, I immediately saw the potential in a story about a young goose taking his first flight South. For this story I did have to research about goose migration before I sat down to write the story out in full, however, the first thing I did after my inspiration was I wrote the idea down on the back of an envelope so I wouldn’t forget.
I Love My Family was inspired by pushing my son on the swing and we were singing “What Does the Fox Say” and testing out different animals, such as “What does the dog say? What does the chicken say?” My son looked at me and asked “What does the house say?”, and I replied “I Love My Family”. I then pictured our house as a character watching us play in the yard. The idea sprung from that thought and I again, went inside and jotted the idea down on the back of an envelope. I actually wrote the book out fully in a Nano writing event where you challenge yourself to write so many words in a month.
The Cat is Sleeping On My Head (Coming in 2023)
I followed a different process for a book I wrote, which is not yet published, titled The Cat is Sleeping On My Head. The idea for this book came from our cat who used to love to sleep on my son’s head. It was quite bothersome really, so we had to keep him out of my son’s room. The idea came to me after annoyingly removing the cat from my sons head one night after he left the door open after a nighttime bathroom visit. The writing process for this book was different than the others I have mentioned. I actually wrote down events that would happen in the story in point form first, like a skeleton or outline for the book. We read a lot of Robert Munsch’s books, and other children’s books in our home, and I figured often characters have to go through things three times before there is a solution to the problem. So I wrote out the outline of the story based on this theory. It is a really cute book and I can’t wait to share it with the world in 2023!
I hope you enjoyed some insight into different writing processes for children’s books. Each writer has what works for them, and there can be multiple ways to write a book. Some stories sit untouched on shelves for years, some are written in 20 minutes, and some are forgotten. I encourage you to keep all your stories, poems, and manuscripts, no matter what you think of them. A neat trick to remember is to jot down the ideas you have before you forget. You never know when you will get the motivation to bring them to life. That one little sentence of an idea, or outline of a book you had inspiration about, is enough to trigger the ability to write down a full story, poem, or manuscript when you are ready, and when it is ready to be born and brought into the world for others to enjoy and learn from.