by Jay Donnelly
Writing your very first story is an incredible rush of adrenaline for the mind. You’re so exuberant and full of energy, you twist and you turn in your mind, trying to keep up with yourself. It’s like holding onto the leash around your dog’s neck and standing on a skateboard. But we should be grateful that our minds have that ability to be suddenly pumped full of such passion and fire. Creative writing is one of the most beautiful things that humanity has ever done. It’s the window into our soul, our fears, hopes, and dreams. So why should we not pass on this talent and gift to the next generation?
Teaching them the value of an objective and narrative in a story relays back to the issues we face in the real world. Identifying problems, causes and solutions begin with the creation of a protagonist and antagonist in our stories. What’s the issue and what can be done to solve it? What kinds of adept complex questions are we asking the reader? There’s so much we can give by asking our kids to write their first book while we’re at their side.
The piercing light
Burrowed deep in our psyche are the things that frighten us most, the things that give us pure ecstasy and make us human. Getting children to write their very first book, try to get them to access this in their minds. The piercing light of any great story are questions that haunt us all, but due to the nature of the author, they’re told from a different perspective. Formulating thoughts takes tremendous patience if we’re really honest. There are so many layers to our thinking that we simplify our thoughts to function in this rapid fast-paced life we lead.
Cutting the story and therefore inadvertently the book, children should be taught the importance of writing composition. The introduction is crucial for the reader as they need to be sucked in almost without volition. Immediately striking in must be the conflict, because the reader needs to care about what’s going on. The resounding hope of a resolution and together figures that can attain it must be identified in opposition to the conflict. And finally, the ending or the conclusion of the plot that leaves the reader with either a memorable finale or questions still being asked.
Encourage and enable
Children will be embarrassed when they write their first book because they’re conscious of the fact that it might not make sense to other people. This is especially true when you’re critiquing their work for basic errors such as spelling mistakes and the narrative not staying on track.
Give them encouragement when they get frustrated and lack self-confidence. If they have a change of heart and want to change their story, enable them to do so. In the early days, don’t try too hard to steer them in one direction. Allow them to fluctuate and wrestle with their imagination. Your job is to give them structure and keep them focussed so they make progress with each page their write.
It’s a wonderful thing to see a child lost in their own imagination. Their stories will tell you a lot about their personality. The whirlwind adventure they take themselves on will never be forgotten. Even when they’re older, looking back they’ll be conscious of the precious gift you gave them or creative writing.
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