The above two stories were written by my 6-year old daughter. She gave them to me, very proud that she was able to write stories, just like her Mama. My initial reaction? I started editing, as evidenced by the marks I made on the left story, but then, I just let go of all my OC-ness, and then just read what she had written. The following were what I learned about writing:
- First and foremost, make sure you review your manuscript for typos and grammatical errors. Believe me, these would always be what will be noticed first, before the story. Since she was actually 5 when she wrote the stories, I was more forgiving. She basically just wanted to tell the story in her mind.
- A good story will always shine through, no matter how it was written. This seems to be a negative of #1, but at the end of the day, regardless of the form, the way it was brought to you, or whatever, if you have a good story worth telling, it will always shine through. It was difficult for me NOT to focus on the typos, grammar, even the handwriting, but when I read her stories, I was blown away.
- Know the genre that works for your audience. She obviously was focusing on the Horror and Fairy Tale genres when she wrote the stories, and I believe she got them right! Let us forget for a while, that somehow, the stories were a bit ummm… disturbing… but chalk it up to her having a weird Mom who loves reading scary stories and watching horror movies. She knew these types of stories will have more an impression on me, than, well, the normal stuff.
- Be concise. This is a lesson that I need to learn more, because I need to tell my stories in a way that people will not consider concise. But look at her stories. Both one pagers. Both compelling (again please forget she is 6 years old).
- Pick a Good Title. Focus on the story on the right. Title is Elevator and the plot twist is only revealed in the last sentence!
- Write the story in a way that the reader will have a mental picture of what is happening. She did that all right. I am seeing a ghost with bleeding eyes in my mind!
- End the Story in a Way that the Reader should still want more. What happens when the girl gets the knife??? How the hell did the baby get left in elevator? What happens next???? Argggggg!!!
So many lessons, right? Another thing of course that I had to learn, was not to try and censor her. The topics she chose were a bit macabre but I loved them! She is trying to be just like me! But what this shows is she has imagination. And a good imagination will lead her to be creative. Whether she really wants to write in the future or not, thinking out of the box will help her out in whatever endeavor she will choose.
I am tempted to complete her stories, or edit them, or re-phrase or whatever. Then I realized, this is who she is. She is 6-years old after all and all I can do is to encourage her to explore her artistic side more and just wait for what she comes up with next. As she grows older, I can start talking to her about her handwriting (thank God, it has improved!), her spelling (also improving now she is in Grade 1), her grammar (same) and maybe help her explore other topics to write about (anything with no bleeding and knives), or other artistic activities to pursue.
It’s been a while since I wrote an honest to goodness horror story. Maybe I just will start on one right now, taking into consideration what I learned from my daughter!
P.S. Look for my works in www.wattpad.com I am listed as YeyetSoriano. Come to think of it, the horror story I wrote (THE TRIP) featured a knife and blood…. Mmmmm… Like daughter, like mother?