Friday, July 30, 2010

Memories of Writing Novels with Children

Young Girl Writing at Her Desk with Birds

When my children were little, we stayed home almost all the time. We were warm and cozy in our small house in Massachusetts. The heat would be on, the snow would be piled up out the window, but we would all be writing novels!

Nicole (10 at the time) was always writing these charming stories.  I would get so many good ideas from her. She was so entertaining! In the children's bedroom, there were two sets of bunkbeds. She had one of the top bunks. One day she had some junk mail. It was a credit card application. I walked into the room to talk to one of the other children. I looked up, saw her cute face, and darling smile, and heard her say, "Hmmm... do I own or rent the top bunk?" 

Rachel (11 or 12 at the time) had stacks and stacks of private notebooks. She used to write her stories in those. But she wrote "History" or "Science" on the front covers. When Nicole asked her why, she said, "Because Mom will never look at them."  She was homeschooled. (grins)

Matthew (7 at the time) would draw comics with Amy (around 5 years old then). They would spend hours drawing and inventing characters and ideas. John, was probably 3 then. He would just play nearby.

One day, in the middle of writing one of my children's novels, Rachel and Nicole started arguing. I smiled. Then I started writing down everything they said. They didn't notice at first. But when I asked them to hold on a minute and repeat something, they caught on to me. I was using their daily life as the basis for my stories!

Soon I was furiously typing on my word processor. When I finished a chapter, I would call all the children to gather around. They came running and giggling. They sat near me and listened to every word. Then I went back to work on another chapter. Once in a while, I would call out for Nicole. She was my assigned hostess. I would say, "More hot chocolate, please!" I couldn't write without my chocolately drink. She was constantly refilling my cup.

Most days we would all sit together in the living room, reading piles of library books. Anytime we came across something interesting, we would share our thoughts with everyone else.

On cold, rainy afternoons, we got to listen to the children share their novels. Nicole invented all kinds of great characters and plots. She would have Matthew, Amy, and John sit with her as she told her stories. They encouraged her with their eagerness, and she ended up writing an entire series of stories.

Rachel and I would be cooking in the kitchen while the children talked about their latest character or plan for their stories.

When the children grew up, we all stopped writing. I love going back and looking at the papers from the old days. I love reading and remembering those precious times on those cold winter days.

Mrs. White

How my children learned Social Skills.

The Wife's Job at Home - Doing My Part. 

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Heather said...

You have not stopped writing...your method has just changed! I loved reading your family's story about their stories.

One of my pregnancies was tougher on me than the others and I spent a lot of time just talking with the kids and telling stories. Eventually, we wrote them down and made them into books. The little ones just LOVE those books where they are the stars (or their ideas are).



Anonymous said...

this post made so envious of such a sweet precious are blessed!

Anonymous said...

We used to guide us in our library visits. My children preferred the catalog's Robinson Crusoe's cover so we bought it(the 1954 movie is closest to the book). They liked Bartlett's Familiar Quotations when writing nonfiction.-Taryn

bbmommy2 said...

This was lovely to read, and it gave me so many fresh ideas.

Many Blessings, Brandi

Pamela said...

What lovely cozy times for your family. It makes me look forward to winter and all the creative writing we do curled up in front of the wood stove. Hope your kids find some new and different writing opportunities as they get older. I'm sure they will treasure those memories from their younger years.

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