Monday, February 20, 2012

Nope, not a LIFE lesson. A WRITING lesson.

You know how kids can teach adults life lessons? Well the other day, my nine year old daughter taught a pretty darn impressive WRITING lesson.

She wrote a story called, MOM? DAD? IS THAT YOU? The story is about a fourth grade girl whose parents died at the dinner table when she was five. Simultaneous brain tumors, apparently. She didn't have other family, so she went to live in an orphanage. She kept that fact a secret so kids wouldn't tease her.

One day, though, a mean kid found out and told everyone. The MC was upset and ran home to an empty orphanage. Not a soul in site. She was a little freaked, so when she heard the knocking on the door, she was fairly relieved. UNTIL she opened the door and saw a couple of zombies! They knocked her out, apparently right before everyone else arrived back at the orphanage. She awoke to orphan casualties abounding and the zombies closing in on her. In the midst of the literal fight of her life, she noticed a certain familiarity about the zombies. She said, "Mom? Dad? Is that you?"

Yes, apparently it was.

My daughter gets the concept that when a person gets turned into a creature such as a zombie, it's no longer that person. Still, though, I wondered at her choices. We get along great! But was there some kind of parental issue I was unaware of that made her choose to have her MC fight her parents? So I asked.

Me: I love it! Why were the zombies her parents, though? I've gotta say, I'm a little weirded out by that.

Her: [In such a logical, thought-out voice] Zombies are bad. If I had just put that they were any old zombies, WHO CARES if she has to fight them? It would be just like any other zombie story. If it's someone that she recognizes, it's harder for her, and makes my story have SO MUCH MORE CONFLICT.

Yes, those were her exact words.

So there you go. Writing advice from a 9 year old. Make things harder for your characters, and you'll add more conflict to your story. And possibly impress your mom beyond words at the same time.

35 comments:

Cristina said...

Pure genius that girl of yours!

JeffO said...

Someone's been listening in on your conversations with your editor, hah hah.

It reminds me, in the wake of my Origins story. My 'epic' inspired other kids in my class to jump on the horror story bandwagon. In a story later that year, one girl wrote a first-person story that involved chopping up her parents with an axe, Lizzie Borden style. Our teacher went ballistic. I imagine there was a conference with the girl and her parents.

Delia said...

Fantastic!

Elodie said...

WOW! Your girl knows what she´s talking about :D ALWAYS listen to yous kids (and give them cookies so that they give you this knowledge with a smile on their face :D)
No kiddin´ though: you must be very proud of her!

Christa Desir said...

Seriously, our 9 year old daughters will be writers together one day. This is so fantastic. My girl said to me about one of her stories the other day, "I took out all the descriptive language and got right to the action, bc really, who cares what color her shirt is?"

<3

S.P. Bowers said...

Impressive! You're teaching them well.

Kelley said...

Wow! A definite published author in the wings there. You sure she's not your coauthor on your book Peggy ;)

Steph Sessa said...

This is awesome! She totally gets it!

Colin Smith said...

Excellent! And a really important story lesson. :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Briiliant - she'll go far!

Angela Cothran said...

Love it. I'm glad someone knows books need more conflict :)

Z said...

Wow...I'm speechless. If only I'd figured that one out first :) She's sounds like a wonderful, talented girl.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Wow! What a smart and talented girl you have! Awesome! :D

Tonja said...

Great story. I love it that the parents had turned into zombies. Priceless.

Cassie Mae said...

Smart little cookie you've got there Peggy :)

WilyBCool said...

You have competition! ;D

Angelica R. Jackson said...

This is one of those "you actually listened to me" moments that make parents teary-eyed!

Melanie Fowler said...

Hey you 400 followers :)

That's so cute about your 9 year old. I love the story!

Krista M said...

Great advice and a great little story!

Emily R. King said...

"Out of the mouths of babes..." :D

Angela Brown said...

Her statement is both astounding while being so blatantly simplistic. Her potential is shining brilliantly.

Lan said...

That is so sweet. Your daughter is going to be a star. It's amazing the things kids come up with these days. I don't thik I had a coherent thought until I was at least 13! And what a valuable lesson.

Shell Flower said...

This is a great story. What a savvy little writer you've got there. She sounds awesome.

Leigh Covington said...

LOL! That is awesome! What a brilliant girl. She obviously takes after her mother! Fabulous writing advice and seriously... so true!

Carrie Butler said...

Your daughter is so stinkin' smart! First the thing about the dead cat and now this. I love it! :D

Imogen said...

She will be such a great writer one day if she's already thinking about things like conflict. I'm amazed at her potential. My sisters don't talk like that. You've taught her very well indeed.

Iain said...

Now would be a good time to confess that you nicked your daughters story and submitted it to your agent under your name ;o)

Tracy Bermeo (A2ZMommy) said...

I love it. My daughter is also in 4th grade and it's amazing what they come up with sometimes. But the insight to conflict- awesome.

A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

Maggie said...

Wow. Impressed!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Don't you love it when your kiddos seem to know more than you do. Its been happening to me more and more. Today I found out I've been pronouncing Oedipus wrong since the 9th grade.

Alexis Bass Writes said...

I'll just say it. Your daughter is a genius! Can't wait for her to be published. ;)

Trisha said...

This is very adorable! Thanks for sharing the cuteness, Peggy.

Laura Pauling said...

That's terrific! And so true. The best villains mean something to the protagonist! So cute.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Clearly writerly ability runs in your family! :)

Teri Heyer said...

OMG, I'm looking forward to reading her novels some day. She's simply brilliant.