Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Story Seed / Writing Tip # 6 - Have Fun with Language Itself

In celebration of the fun I've had writing for kids, every week my blog will be featuring 1) the tiny, real-life seed from which one of my stories unfolded and 2) a writing tip that helped the seed grow into a finished story. 

(c) 2013 Ruth Ohi  - Thanks Ruth!
The Story Seed: “Mom, what colour are my eye yolks?”
That question alerted me to the fact that my son was using words in an unusual manner. Over the next few weeks I heard him come up with the wonderfully descriptive (but hitherto uninvented) terms “loaves of hay”, “the beak of the car” and “I'll help you hatch the peas”. I was never quite able to fit those expressions into a story but when Norman first asked for “more” and Leanna explained the term he should use is “bigger”.... I knew the same playfulness of language was at work.

The Book: Norman's Snowball (Annick Press, 1989, illustrations Ruth Ohi, picture book, ages 4-7)

The Writing Tip:– If an idea doesn't work one way, turn it sideways and try a different twist. I made sure Norman embraced the joy of his new found mastery of that one word in the English language with all his energy.  It also allowed me to use another writing technique that is very effective when an author is working on a picture book manuscript - repetition.  The three together - energy, playfulness and repetition - make this book one of my favourite read-alouds when I do class visits.
                 This was also the first of my stories to be illustrated by the wonderful Ruth Ohi. I'll mention her more than once over the next postings.  For anyone who has met Ruth, enjoyed her presentations or read any of her titles (she writes her own stories as well as illustrating for other authors), you will know that the adjective "wonderful" is not an exaggeration.  I have been so lucky to have had her bring many of my characters to life!

  c All Rights Reserved. All blog text(except comments by others) copyright Hazel Hutchins.

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