Turn your kids into writers

This is just a brief time out from blogging about my new book.

One of the things I like to talk to kids about when I make author visits is how much storytelling they already do, even if they never write anything down. Even very young children find themselves daydreaming about people and things around them. At the grocery store they see a guy with an unusual hat and start to wonder where he got it? Who gave it to him? What is that strange looking symbol on the side? Why doesn’t it fit him better?

Before they know it they’re weaving together a tale about the man and his hat – and a story is born! And that family with the two boys – are they twins? They must like baseball because they’re wearing baseball shirts. Why is the taller boy wearing that bandage on his elbow?

Talking to kids about things they’ve wondered about is a perfect way to start them on the road to writing stories. Maybe they think about the bright colors they see at sunset and wonder where all the shades of orange and red come from. Encourage them to make up their own story about the colors in the sky.

Where do earthworms go when they tunnel below the ground? As adults, we can look it up – but why not just make up some fun story with some silly explanation? Encourage your kids to make up their own answers to life’s funny oddities. Just like a rose bush, an imagination blooms the more attention you pay to it. Ask your kids what they think about earthworms, and you might be surprised at their imaginations!

I also encourage kids to think of their favorite fairy tale and change the ending. What if Cinderella had been in the bathroom when the clock struck twelve? What if the three little pigs didn’t speak the same language as the wolf? What if there was an eighth dwarf with a super power?  Go for it.

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4 Responses to Turn your kids into writers

  1. Connie Anderson says:


    I loved your blog about kids, imagination and storytelling. I hope that parents of young kids make that effort so their kids learn to build on that creative part of themselves–and not have games do everything for them–and they just react.

    We writers have to encourage young people to write so there will be well-written books with darn good storytelling in the future.

    Love what I’ve learned on your state blogs. How fascinating.

  2. Thanks Connie. I just get such a kick out of talking to kids on my author visits about their own story ideas. Very often they offer up plot ideas for my Dirkle Smat characters and show that they have the best imaginations.

  3. jlue says:

    These are great ideas. Another way to help young children and growing children with writing is to help them with organizational skills. My children and grandchildren have begun books that were never completed. Helping them organize their thoughts and helping them keep the tasks small enough to be manageable is helpful. Also, encourage them not to give up just because one idea never materialized or was never finished.

  4. Those are good words of advice for adult writers too. I belong to an amazing women’s writers group, and we all struggle with the follow through. Life has a way of interrupting a well intentioned writing project, whether it’s a book, or a magazine article, or a short story… and reaching that finish line is deceptively hard. It often comes down to focus, and setting aside the other great ideas that are pending so you can concentrate on one at a time.

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