Writing with my kids

So I’ve been doing a lot of non-writing lately. Or, more accurately, writing for purposes other than other’s enjoyment, as that’s the only way I can think of accurately describing a Needs Assessment document or a Benefit Communication Piece. I mean, I’m sure the people reading the needs assessments and benefit communications feel very…entertained in some way or another, but those venues are not typically accessing the creative part of my brain, thus I don’t think of them as “writing” exactly.

Think this will be them at their own book signing in a few years?

So I’ve been missing writing, and thus I’ve been thinking to myself that I need to come up with a good idea for another book and just WRITE.

This is the part where other writers will laugh, because making the decision to just WRITE and actually, you know, doing some writing, are quite separate things.

Nonetheless, tonight I was lamenting this need to the family and the children offered to help me think of things to write. Normally this makes me twitchy, as their ideas aren’t always in line with the direction I’m heading with a piece, but since I had literally no idea what to write when we began this exercise, I didn’t figure it would hurt to just play around. And bonus – I have an iPad now, I whipped it out and turned on the note-taking app I like (Penultimate, for the record. I use a boxwave brand capacitive pen, too. Makes it easier than just writing with a finger.)

And I had low expectations, because after all, the kids are only 9 and 7, it was getting long on Sunday evening, and all that.

Silly me.

Kids fed me the greatest story idea in ages. It started with the 9 year old’s offhand comment, “How about kids caught in a war zone?”

And, since I write mostly space-based science-fiction, I replied “oooh, good idea! In space.”

He was all for that, being the big Star Wars fan that he is. And then the 7 year old piped up with her ideas. And we were off.

Since this is a story I fully expect to epublish myself at some point in the future, I’ve decided that I’m going to blog about the process, about what ideas the kids contribute, what I’ve learned through the process, and what they’ll be learning about writing, too. For starters, my daughter learned that being bossy about brainstorming isn’t the right attitude to have. I’m still not sure I quite made an impression on her with that lesson, but it’s an important one. She was taking the “you gave the last three ideas, now this section gets to be mine with only MY ideas” stance with her brother, which makes a bit of sense if fairness is your only guide. But in brainstorming, all ideas need to get some air-time, and some will bubble up and be worked into the storyline, some will be combined with others and worked into something new, and some will just fall by the wayside. It’s the nature of brainstorming, but there’s not a lot of fairness in brainstorming, other than every idea is considered for its own merit.

We’ll see if that lesson sticks in future brainstorming sessions.

I’ll post next about what our preliminary ideas on storyline are, the names of the characters, and some of the key conflicts. I haven’t been this excited about a story in a *long* time, so at this point the biggest challenge will be keeping me from starting to write until we’ve done just a bit more planning so that this story doesn’t suffer from the “boggy middle” and “lackluster climax” problems of some of my more recent stories.

2 responses to “Writing with my kids”

  1. Nice blog. I would like to involve my kids with my writing as well when they can — er — talk at least.

    Family is a priority and it’s nice to see you can mix two passions into one activity.


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