All literary giants started somewhere. A first story ignited their genius spark. We can share this with our esteemed little culture makers. Not perhaps the genius so much…rather the creating of a first story. Even for the most fledgling of authors, the thrill of creativity, writing and sharing the creation with others won’t be unappreciated (and who knows what it might spark).
The next great American novel will still be undiscovered following this experience, and that’s okay, because that’s not what we’re shooting for here. Your job is to encourage creativity, humor, mystery, intrigue – or a delightful, genre-bending mash-up of all of these. Never mind the story arc and character development; if bears suddenly enter into the storyline to engage in a sword fight, which concludes by the discovery of a pea lodged in a bruin belly button, no problem. All the better for book group discussion and analysis.
The elements to this are simple – a few sheets of 8.5 x 11 computer paper, a writing utensil, some art supplies (crayons, markers, stickers, stamps, etc.) and a stapler. Unless you foresee the need for a large print edition, fold and cut the paper into manageable page sizes and the writing and illustration process is ready to begin. Depending on the ages of your kids, you may need to play a scribing role while the story is dictated to you. (And don’t forget to start with a gripping title as well.) As each page is complete, hand it over for illustration and once the story has run its course, it’s off to the publisher for binding (read: stapling).
Following the completion of the work – assuming you’re working with pre-readers – your job will be to put on the most dramatic of airs and captivate your audience with the priceless tale that’s been gifted into your hands. Emote like it’s Broadway, and author and audience won’t disappoint in their response.