My wife and I are working on a project together. A book. A children’s book to be precise.
During our project, I’ve learned something: I don’t do well writing for kids. I like words too much. I like having many words to choose from and not worrying if it’s going to be misunderstood. That’s not really an option with a kid’s book. Too many unfamiliar words and they will lose interest. (Probably a lot of adults like that too).
It is frustrating though to have to curtail my word usage. By the end of it, I was saying to myself, Well, if they don’t know this word by now, it’s about time they learned. See why I maybe shouldn’t write children’s books?
But that is the approach I always used with my own kids. In fact, I’d specifically choose words I thought would be new to them. When they asked what the word meant, I’d say, “Look it up.” I did try to use context so they weren’t always at a loss for a word’s meaning, but quite often they were looking up words. Once they had a basic definition, we’d discuss the word so I could give them a fuller definition—connotations and meanings that the dictionary had omitted.
I don’t think it’s possible to do that with readers though. Even if it were, I doubt the practice would be advisable. Not really a good way to attract readers.
Back to our project: The book is about my wife’s cat—when she was growing up—and some of the rather stupid things he did. In fact, that was his name, Stupid, which is actually an endearing term. Really! Okay, that wasn’t his real name, it just sort of came to be; borne quite naturally out of the shaking of the head in disbelief at some of the things the cat did, mostly as a kitten.
I knew the cat, he was still around when my wife and I started dating, and he was far from stupid. And that’s saying a lot coming from me considering I really don’t like cats. Dogs are so much more relatable!
My wife took care of writing the initial story, and all the illustrations. She says she’s not a writer. She says she’s not an artist. Yet, I have indisputable proof that she is both.
Me, I got to do all the re-writes, to put the story in the voice of the cat, then more re-writes, formatting, cover design, and publishing.
We should have had the book done by now. Or, more to the point, I should have had it done by now. My wife’s part has been finished for quite some time. But as I like to say, art can’t be rushed! Well, unless you’re one of those speed painters, which I’m not. But it will be done soon; in a few days or so. And it might actually be out by the time this post goes live.
One other thing I’ve learned during this project; my wife and I make a good team! But then, this coming Saturday will be our 28th Anniversary so we probably should have figured out how to work together by now! I did have fun working on this project with her. Good thing, I think she’s already planning a sequel!
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Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook and paperback on iTunes, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, or at www.bruceabordersbooks.weebly.com. Amazon Profile – http://www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS. Bruce A. Borders also serves as the Vice-President of Rave Reviews Book Club.