As a children’s chapter book author, the first and most important aspect of my writing process involves finding my “child voice”. “Child Voice” is a term in children’s literature that interprets into the author being able to get inside the heads of their children characters; think and act as those children characters would think and act and, thus, be able to write about them with ease.
Through all my years of studying children’s literature and children’s behavior, a major lesson I have learned is that to write for children the writer must have a certain level of immaturity along with the ability to remember the art of play. In my case, this is very doable, and when my friends call me immature, I take that as a compliment that I am on the right creative track.
King and Queen
When I am in the first stages of planning a new children’s book, I do a lot of note keeping, character building, and mapping out the fantasy world that the characters will be having their adventures in. Once I know my character’s world and know each character as much as I would know a good friend, then the plot creating process begins.
The creating of their story starts out as a movie playing in my head. This movie plays a scene, re-winds, re-plays the scene somewhat differently, builds the next scene only to re-wind, re-build, and re-plays that scene. As day and months go by, the movie keeps building, re-playing, strengthening the plot; it’s just about like the characters take over the making of the movie to get their story told.
King and Petra
Then one day, the movie in my head is complete and that’s when I get down to the business of writing. When I’m in the writing phase, I write with a frenzied passion for days, weeks on end, often writing non-stop for 12 hours at a time until the book is written.
Once the story is written in the first draft, I leave it alone for a few weeks to give the characters some time to settle into the story.
Then it’s on to editing. Editing phase will last another several weeks where I edit in two or three hour intervals every few days.
When I feel the book is at least 90% well written and well edited, the manuscript is submitted to my publisher. I am published with a traditional publisher, so the book will be scrutinized by their editor and the editor and I will work through several more stages of editing before the book goes on to production.