So, some of you already know this, but I have been working on children’s books lately. At first, I expected it to be a pretty boring process: type some stuff about some animals doing some things and add pictures. Tada! Children shall be entertained!
However, I have actually been having a lot of fun with this project! Much to my surprise,
it’s very easy to take some of the adult and real-world struggles that I remember also facing as a child in some fashion, and show these adorable creatures in my head as they work through them in the most innocent ways possible. It’s amazing, I realize, how simple those solutions really are when you take out all the complicated thoughts that go along with them.
I learned long ago while writing my novel that, even though I am the author and am supposed to be in control of what happens in my stories, -real- characters will always do whatever they want. That is the key to immersion, more than anything, is knowing that every character has a life and mind of their own, and letting them respond to things freely while my hands serve only as the vessels for their actions as they play out in my head.
With these children’s books, it’s very much the same: each character must play their part in order to bring the story to the proper (and always happy) close. It’s surprisingly fulfilling to create a team of characters that is the recipe for success (with the one or two who are temporarily causing whatever problem needs to be solved), even if the moral is something so simple as “spend time with your friends”. Portraying that meaning through a series of brief and simple actions has, in a way, helped me to refine my own thoughts on how to deal with my problems. It’s amazing how simple it is to put things to words for children, to teach them the proper way to deal with things that we, as adults, still struggle with.
The innocence I’m finding myself writing with, as well, is incredibly refreshing. No dragons or demons or dark lords of evil and chaos trying to destroy the world: just the simple concept of how to be a good person. It is a theme that I feel gets overcomplicated often, when it really is very simple to be a decent human being.