1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Starting smaller

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by live2write, Jun 9, 2013.

    After re-story boarding and rewriting my story I have decided to leave it off to the side for a bit. I have been thinking that I am too ambitious in my writing and I need to start smaller. Would it be beneficial for me to write a children's/early adolescent story rather than a science fiction/fantasy story?

    The idea popped in my head. My brother is autistic and has a fascination with space, science fiction and astronomy. I was thinking of writing a book inspired by him. A young boy who fascinated with the stars and planets unexpectedly meets an ancient astronaut who requests for help. He is teleported to a spaceship and send light years away to help defeat an army of ruthless beasts who want to take over the planet Kepler-62f (need to find a good name). With his knowledge from science fiction movies and books, he must help the ancient astronauts from Kepler defeat the enemy so he can go home.

    Do you think starting a children's story is a small step in become a published writer?
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, if what you've posted in the past is any indication, I'm happy to read anything you write. I think you have a unique talent for invention, you zip past cliches as if they were telephone poles along a railroad track, AND at the same time, you immediately engage our sympathy/empathy with characters who have a mental condition that keeps them isolated from others in their world.

    Amber struggles with sleep problems, dreams that feel like hallucinations, and takes drugs to cope. Now your new proposed character is autistic—a mental deviation from what is seen as 'normal' that has SUCH story possibilites I'm surprised it's not used more often. I'm already feeling for this wee character, who probably is fascinated by things like space, has the ability to do amazing things with detail and complicated facts, and probably suffers isolation and misunderstanding and maybe bullying from other humans because of his condition. And you haven't even written your story yet! Hey, well done...

    I think what you're proposing sounds like a fascinating premise for a story, and I'm sure you will pull it off beautifully.

    However, please don't stop writing your other story. Of course, put it aside if it's getting on top of you in a bad way, but let it cook in the background. (I can see this new story getting complicated as well!)

    I can't speak from my own experience, but children's authors usually say that it is NOT easy to write for children, and people who start out thinking 'I'll write a children's book because it's easier than writing for adults' are deluding themselves a bit. Not sure if they're right, or just protective of their art. Whatever you want to do, have a go. I'm sure it will be deliciously rich with characters and ideas.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Jannert - it sounds like a really great idea (my daughter has autism and I have occasionally thought about using some of what I have learned on those occasions when I manage to "get inside her head"), but writing for children is not writing for adults - lite. It's not just about writing a simpler story with a simpler vocabulary, it's also about engaging the imagination of a younger person.

    I can sympathize with feeling like you need to back away for a while, change gears, get a fresh perspective. I myself have thrashed about quite a lot over the past couple of years, starting and then putting aside two major projects before returning to an idea I had had years ago and deciding to see it through - a historical. But as I find myself occasionally bogged down by the need to go back and verify facts or do further research, or struggle with trying to pull everything together in a world that existed 300 years ago, I sometimes feel the need to come up for air. So, in the past few months, I have twice stopped to sketch out a couple of ideas for novels I will one day write, and even wrote an extended synopsis and a couple of chapters of one. At first, I was tempted to think of it as a distraction, but I came to realize it's sort of like an athlete crosstraining. I was a runner who decided to expand his swimming for a while.

    If you do pursue your idea, don't be surprised if you end up with a children's book that's really for adults, like Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince or James Thurber's The White Deer.
     
  4. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I agree with the both of you Jannert and EdfromNY. First off I am not stopping my other project. I am more to say working at it one step at a time. Meanwhile I want to write a story that is easier for me to express because it is somewhat true. I understand my brother and I do know what his interests are (somewhat of a parallel to mine) and how he thinks. I feel that if I start writing this book it would allow me to build a bridge for my writing style for my "dream" story. (lol).

    I can see the challenges of writing a children's story. I have read through some of my boyfriend's daughter's books (she is going into middle school) and I am familiar with the structure of these books. There is enough detail for a child to get a grasp of the story and imagine the rest. I also find the language to be more whimsical than traditional books. (Quite frankly growing up it was too whimsical for me where I should have read 1984 when I was in 6th grade.) I also recently found my old Wizard of Oz books and it reminded me of when reading that book in 7th grade how I imagined a world without a lot of elaborate detail. I still have not watched that movie.

    Also Jannert. I will be posting probably in the next week a revision of the first chapter of my other book "Posessed" (Title might be changed) and hopefully a piece of my book for my brother.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, goodie!

    Geez, do I GET that, EdfromNY. Me, who spent most of yesterday hunting up photos and descriptions of a rail station in Boston that got demolished around 1900, just so I can accurately describe my characters' arrival. I got that 'bingo!' moment, fortunately (LOVE love love the internet!) but my god...
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Please don't abandon a project because you think it's too much for you. You don't know if it's too much until you really start working on it, and remember, you don't have a time limit on it. I wrote the first draft of my novel (which is pretty ambitious, at least thematically and philosophically) about 25 years ago. I've got it on the back burner right now because I'm working on some science fiction short stories (plus a couple of sci-fi novellas that may turn into novels), but it's still my Big Project and will remain so until it's done. Tackle your project with gusto. Don't worry if you don't get it right first time off. You can spend the rest of your life revising it, if need be, but whatever you do, don't run away from it!
     
  7. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I am not abandoning the project. It is more going to be my ambitious project and the one that I am going to start working on is going to be my fun project. I need to multi-task with stories. When I have writers block on one, I want something that I can jump on to and be able to write from experience and from my imagination. With my ambitious project I am still writing it of course. I need something that I can finish as well. Besides you never know. Also this would be important to my family and my brother.

    As I said I will be posting some stuff in the following weeks. I think that maybe I need to take my brain of random ideas and put them down on paper, even if I have to write 100 stories at a time.
     
  8. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I'm glad you're not abandoning your project. I don't think it hurts to take a step back and work on another project that's smaller when you feel overwhelmed by a big project. I've found writing short stories about my characters has been very beneficial to me. It helps me when I'm in a rut by building up my confidence in my writing and also helping me get to know the characters better.

    I do want to echo the whole writing for children or young people is not writing for adults but ultra simplified. Honestly I pretty much skipped over YA when I was younger and just read adult books because I couldn't find any YA that had substance. I know not all YA is that way and I actually have read several YA books I absolutely love. It's just harder to find them.

    I think it's wonderful to write something for your brother. I wish you the best of luck with that project and I definitely like the premise! :)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not necessarily... wriiting for children is an art unto itself... and being good at that doesn't necessarily help one move into writing for the adult market, because the writing style, voice, and constraints are so different...

    few writers can do both well, but it's certainly worth a try, if you feel you have a marketable story to tell for children... i write children's books for a chicago publisher as well as for all ages and i mentor many aspiring children's writers along with all others, so if you need any help along the way, i'm always just a mouse-click away...

    good luck with all your projects!

    love and hugs, maia
     

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