Feb 06, 2013 0 Share

Writing for Children

LIttle boy reading book at library table.

As you all know, I have been preparing for a life as a professional writer for quite some time now. I have practiced writing in various forms, and I am going to take some elective classes this spring and summer to further refine my writing skills. Much of my writing is a work in progress. I have, however, recently decided to try and tackle a children’s book, and I am now applying the finishing touches to it.

This big project I am working on was inspired by a conversation I had with one of my relatives in which I promised to give her a copy of the first children’s book I wrote. After talking it over with my mother, I decided to write a book for my two cousins who are still very young and will soon be learning basic social skills. The story would help them to learn about cooperation and how working together can be fun. I drew a bit on my own experiences learning about these same social skills which I struggled to master for many years. The text was a bit tricky for me at first because I do not normally speak, write, or think like this every day, but I got used to it, and I found it easier to write in this style as the story progressed.

After hammering out a simple storyline for the book, I began collaborating with my mother on the details for the book’s illustrations which will complement the text. I relied on my mother for the drawings because I knew I would have a hard time creating them on my own. I have always had issues with activities involving fine motor skills including drawing, so I appreciated the help. My mother and I shared ideas regarding the illustrations, but I had the final say on each page layout. Luckily, my mom’s drawings came out very similarly to how I saw them in my head. Actually, in some cases, the drawings were even better than what I had originally conceived. Between my ideas and her drawings, we created pictures that perfectly complemented the story I wanted to tell.    

Working on this story helped me to practice expressing specific ideas in a controlled manner which could be understood by other people. Because of my autism, I often think of things only from my point of view and my level of experience. My cousins are much younger than me and, consequently, have not seen a lot of the world yet, so I had to keep my ideas and their expressions simple. I worked on using people, places, and things which would be familiar to my cousins and making the storyline easy for them to follow.

I am proud of the work my mother and I have put into making this book possible, and the results look very promising so far. I hope my cousins and their families will enjoy it and the lessons it conveys. I also think this book is an important first step in my becoming a full-fledged author. It has given me more ideas about stories I could do with my cousins as characters learning about other social and life skills. I could do an entire series of books based on these premises and those in turn could possibly lead to spin-off series and other types of stories, feeding back in on themselves and transferring to new genres. This one story has opened up a whole universe of new writing possibilities for me. It feels good to create.