Sunday, October 30, 2011

Guest Post: Creating Stories for Young Readers

This is not an easy subject, because I have to look at my process of creating a story in retrospect. I just have a story and I write it. I’m just a big old kid at heart, so writing kids’ stories simply delights me, and I think that this trait really helps in creating characters kids will want to identify with. I also remember the wonder on kids’ faces when you tell them a story, the more fantastic the story, the more wondrous their expressions. I love the world of fantasy, and so do kids.

I’m afraid the only outline I make is to just write my storyline as soon as it comes to me… otherwise I’ll forget it. The whole story is there with all its characters. Then, I start with my what-ifs. I may write two or three versions, usually not very different. Characters may get deleted or added. The characters take shape according to the version I choose. My protagonist starts out with a defining characteristic, but it’s the events that shape her. So really, the characters grow with the events I choose to make them go through.
Illustrations are a very important of children’s stories, and if you’re not an illustrator you must look for someone who can convey your characters the way you’ve conceived them. My illustrator and I discussed how I wanted the characters to look and she presented me with a storyboard. The important thing was that she was open to deviate from it if I didn’t like something, or changed my mind later on. I like to give the artist a free hand, as much as I possibly can.

Up till now, I’ve never brain stormed to get the ideas for the three stories I wrote (two of them still in revision stage). For me, the brainstorming comes later on, when I start playing with the what-ifs. 

I try to write the story in the simplest language possible, but I usually go back and simplify words more. Sometimes there are words that can’t be further simplified, but I don’t shy away from those. In my story about crabs, I have a few big words that I intend to put in bold so parents can explain them to their children. Of course the pictures will also depict them. I think it’s a great idea to introduce kids to new words. Their brains are like sponges and they learn quickly.

Maha Huneidi is a wife, mother and now grandmother, who finally found out what she wants to be when she grows up…a writer of children’s book. When Monsters Get Lonely is the first step of her journey.
Huneidi began writing this book and later found out her granddaughter was afraid of monsters. “It was not about my granddaughter at all, but when I heard that she was afraid of monsters, it quickly became all about her. I wanted to empower her to take charge of her fear,” states Huneidi. “I sent my son a copy of "When Monsters Get Lonely" in a word file, with illustrations, just before I submitted it for publishing in April. Hanaa’s parents immediately began reading it to her...Now, she sometimes tells her mother, ‘the monster touched my neck, but I made friends with him.”

Huneidi wants to help children, like her granddaughter Hanaa, find the courage to deal with monsters and other fears on their own. “My granddaughter still enjoys monster movies and monster stories! But she has found the courage to overcome her fears,” states Huneidi

You can find out more about Maha Huneidi’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Huneidi and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

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