Monday, March 10, 2014

Children in Literature

As a writer, I’ve experimented with many different types of genres and writing styles.  Through all of this writing, I’ve found a writing style that feels the most natural to me, something that I enjoy writing and that I feel I do well.

I love writing about children.  Growing up, I was around a lot of kids.  I had four younger siblings, and I began babysitting at age ten.  My parents had me take a babysitting class at the hospital where I learned how to deal with children of all types and ages, as well as how to keep them safe.  I have over thirty younger cousins that I love to spend time with.

There’s something about the innocence and the wonder of a child that I love to explore.  Children have a way of looking at the world that reminds all of us that life isn’t always so bleak.  Even in their worst moments, I’ve seen them pull through and keep going. 

I love reading about children as well, though I can honestly say that there are a lot of books where I don’t feel like the writer completely has the right ‘voice’ when it comes to a child.  So here’s a few things that I really try to focus on.

Photo taken and edited by me

1. Children say what’s on their mind.  They don’t say “Kids Say the Darndest Things” for nothing.  After years and years of dealing with children: babysitting, teaching, etc, I’ve learned that to be true.  You never know what children will say and they can always keep you laughing.

2. Children are naturally curious.  Nothing escapes their attention, and they’re not going to let something go if they really want to know the answer.  Have you ever been followed by a child who asks “Why?” all day?  They’re natural learners.

3. Children absorb whatever they hear.  Never assume that they aren’t listening.  Even if they don’t completely understand, they’re going to remember how they feel when they heard you.  That’s especially true when a person loses their temper, says something without thinking or tells a lie.  Children won’t forget. 

4. Children speak and think simply.  They’re not going to always put all of the facts together.  Don’t assume that they’re going to sense that people are in love or that something’s wrong.  They’re going to take things at face value, they won’t always dig deeper. 

Children are the ones who are beginning their journey.  Their slate is new and ready to be written on.  Maybe that’s why I love telling their stories.  There’s so much that’s still going to happen for them, and I get to experience it with them.

What about you?  Any other attributes about children that you’ve noticed?