On Starting to Write My First Children’s Series–Outline on My Book Idea!

I have put my mind to the goal of writing my first children’s book this year. I’ve been waiting for years it seems for just the right idea to pop into my head. Something that would just take off in my mind. Initially, I always thought it would be a children’s picture book. I think that mostly because not only do I love words and books, I also love art and the essence of both that picture books bring. In fact, as an adult, I like to collect children’s books for myself as well as my children. Beautiful words and images in a book are like little art gallerys to me. I wanted the pictures to come to life in my mind, and then I thought maybe the story would come.

My mind tends to race in many different directions, not only with all the demands of life—kids, home, several start-up businesses, health, etc.– but with ideas too! Creative juices!  It just became real to me one day towards the end of last year as I was watching my girls, ages 7 and 3. I realized how often they play together, or maybe even put up with each other, but at the same time how opposite they really are. I spent time listening to their conversations, sometimes laughing, sometimes amazed, sometimes it was upsetting, but I really saw how different their interests are and how unique it makes each of them. And it came to me, I could write a book stemming loosely from their relationship.  A 7 year old girl who is girly, yet likes sparkly skulls,black,  jeans, art, mystery, pop songs, and is super subdued unless spiked by her sister compared to a girl age 3 who is the total princess package including pink and more pink, dresses, dance and ballet, classical music and song who really lives oblivious to anything happening around her. Basically no fear while her older sister is full of questions and concerns. 

So I have come up with the name Monster Princess and Little Diva because it seems to fitting to me. I ran it past my older daughter and she thought it sounded just like them and is very excited. So I am wondering what kind of trouble I might get them both into with a picture book, which I still want to start with because of the art element. I can just SEE the characters in my head, you know?  I’m having the most issues with getting this one started, even with less words, because I don’t know where to have it go in short amount of text. I see way far into the future already with these books.  I am a writer than tends to overwrite and am very detailed. I am thinking that chapter books for ages 7-9 would be great. I have this great idea to encompass my love of history and adventure and the fantastical genre in the books and with different adventures would come different titles. My very rough outline includes the girls having to move with their single mother to a new town and/or state in New England. In doing some reseach, Salem, Mass. is the frontrunner due to its overwhelming amount of history and the fact that the Peabody Essex Museum, a grand art and history museum, is located there. I’d like their mom to be a single mom who is an artist, and possibly getting a job at the museum while also pursuing her art or fine art photography at the local downtown scene.  Mom would have a studio at home and be very busy setting up this new life, and the girls would spend a lot of time alone together squabbling and who knows what. They may head off for a walk and end up at a old building or house, with a special key and/or door that opens and turns into an adventure or chaotic happening. The 7 year old would be the curious one, and also most fearful, while the 3 year old would be following along behind doing ballet piroettes and singing, totally not even seeing what is happening around her. The banter between them might be quite funny. I am also currently reseaching names for the two of them, based on maybe the early 1500 or 1600s. 

 I am nervous but hopeful that this initial set-up in my brain will take me somewhere further and I can write an initial picture book and chapter book by the end of 2011. I really need support and feedback since this is my first book. I welcome comments at any time and I hope to keep everyone updated using my blog! Please let me know what you think!

*Please remember that now that my ideas are down on paper, in several places, these are copyrighted and I really hope you don’t steal them. Especially since they are loosely based on my girls.

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9 Comments

Filed under My New Children's Book Series

9 responses to “On Starting to Write My First Children’s Series–Outline on My Book Idea!

  1. Sounds like a fun idea, I’d definitely explore it more to find out where it goes! 🙂 The beginning sounds solid – it’s not a very new idea, but kids really don’t mind archetypes (in fact, I think that they often end up enjoying them, since they give the story a familiar, safe feel). The characters sound fun too, I’d just watch out so that the little one doesn’t become too much like a caricature, to a point where the reader can’t identify with her. She should be fine though, as long as you keep an eye on it. 😉 I like her quirkiness. You could maybe try to, instead of having her completely oblivious, just be very accepting of all situations, not getting what the huge fuss is about – this would still make her feel like she’s in her own dimension. Just a suggestion though.
    It would be interesting to hear what you had in mind for this chaotic adventure – will you blog about it in the future? Since I imagine that will be the main story of the book 🙂
    I’d really not worry about anyone “stealing” your ideas – while ideas can’t really be copyrighted (it’s a grey area, as far as I know), they are not really in danger in your case – it’s an archetypical story ideal for kids’ books, and it depends almost entirely on how you execute it. Ultimately, it’s your writing that will make it truly memorable. 🙂 Good luck with writing and planning your book, I’m in the middle of writing one myself (a YA “high” fantasy novel) and it’s been a great experience, although extremely challenging. :]

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    • Thanks so much for your comments! It is definately just in the first thoughts stage. Though maybe something similar has been done before, I think my girls are unique in different ways and I’m trying to tie in what is popular now with it as well. My 3 year old is really mature for her age, which may be something that is hard for others to believe or identify with…but it is honest and really…she is oblivious. The house could be burning down and she would be singing at the top of her lungs and dancing and not know what is going on. It drives her sister nuts. Can you explain to me what you mean by becoming a caricature? I know what one of those is but in some ways she is cartoonish, their whole banter is cartoonish and hysterical. I want to offset that with the adventure. The whole adventure and where the door takes them is what I still need to work on, the major plot..yes! I want those ideas to be what makes the book “new” or stand-out. I loosely base this on what we do when the whether is nice….I am a photographer too and we take lots of walks around the neighborhood while I scope out cool shots. I like to find the hidden shots that can be beautiful that people overlook and I find myself taking a lot of historical looking or run down doors! These are my most popular photos! So the girls are always with me and we end up sneaking around through brush and doing this stuff….and for the book I thought of taking myself (or their character mom) out of that mix and having the girls find a way in. I am having the most trouble knowing what “adventure” or fantastical happening is age appropriate!! I will blog about it in the future for sure.

      What is your YA fantasy about?

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      • Well, I guess what I meant by ‘caricature’ was that she becomes so clueless it’s unrealistic, or that it becomes her only defining trait, but if you’re basing her on your own daughter then I’m sure she’ll be fine. 🙂 I think that the uniqueness to the story could definitely come from the way the two girls interact and the way they react to everything that’s going on. Exploring another world has been done, but if you make that world really creative and unique (what about a world that behaves like a drawing/painting, and the girls can add to it themselves? Perhaps this is a world created by their artist mother? Or a themed world? A world of a certain colour? The possibilities are endless!) and the way the characters interact with will make it interesting & it will be fresh.
        My WIP novel, titled Half Human, is about a fantasy world where elves have lost their immortality and have started to kill humans in order to survive (they have a spell that allows them to’drain life’ from others). This sparks a war between the two. The two MC’s are half-elves, both rejected and hunted by humans and elves alike, each on their own quest for vengeance. In the end the main MC understands the pointlessness of revenge and killing. It’s basic, sure, but fun to write, especially the evil elves -part. 😀

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      • I see what you are saying. Wow, I totally appreciate your input. Yea, I watch so much of the alternate realities, other side of the mirror opposites, other realms, other places in history…I love that stuff, but especially the history. I love your ideas alot. I am definately trying to think outside of the box with that idea. Once the door is opened….haven’t got any farther even in my head. I am looking forward to exploring that!! (It just occurred to me too that it is a little like going into the wardrobe into Narnia…) Maybe it is because my favorite books as a kid were by Madeline L’Engle! I am in Ohio too, and want to set it in New England. It just seems like a exploring type of place.
        Your WIP sounds really unique and different! I like to read about dragons and so forth, but haven’t on the elves. The whole draining life seems scary, maybe because of the Wraith on Stargate Atlantis…but I think a spell is alot more nice if you have to drain someone. haha Are they hunted by humans because of the draining life issue, or were they before also? How did they lose their immortality? Sounds really fun and teaches an age old message that apparently, with the world today, still need taught! 🙂

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      • Hey, I’m happy I can be of help! 🙂 Yup, it’s a bit like Narnia, or Coraline, if you’ve ever read that. Those two are also very different, which proves how one idea can be executed in different ways.
        Thanks for the praise! The half-elves are hunted by humans because they think the half-elves all know this spell (and use it) or spy for the elves, while the elves hunt them for their life energy (part-human means they’re free meat) and because they are seen as ‘unpure’. The reasons for the losing of immortality are unknown for most of the book, but the MCs discover it in the end – an ancient elf (like 40,000 years old, batshit insane by now) has been toying with the other elves all along, also (in his own way) revenging some old grudges. X) Big theme that: revenge, and why it can go so wrong. Anger and violence can never lead to good things, and I think it’s an important part of traditional fantasy books to highlight this, what with all the unnecessary swordfighting that goes with the genre 😀

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      • Yes, love Coraline. 🙂 I think your book sounds really cool, are you blogging anywhere about its progress or will I just have to ask? 😉 It sounds very exciting and I love how it does deal with the anger and revenge issues, without the swordfighting (lol). The whole good vs. evil or revenge gone wrong really does seem to be a major foundation for YA novels in the genre, but still seems to really need to keep being taught!

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      • Thank you, thank you (: I haven’t actually blogged about it yet (with the exception of posting some fun playing cards of my characters, hehe), but it’s something I plan to do in my future posts in the personal -section. I’m just writing up the last ~10K of words, but once I get into editing I’ll be sure to post on that! 🙂

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    • Ron Miller

      I would suggest you join the Society of Childrens Writers and Illustrators. They have critique groups and specialist that can help you for free. They have a list of publishers editors and illustrators. They also have author and illustrator workshops and a yearly conference that would really help you. Check them out. Ron Miller

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