Writing Practice and The Muse Who is Always There
Writing Leap #42 Writing About Young Children
Hi All You Writers Out There,
Young children love to look up to you and announce the most surprising things; little bursts of observation that can be funny, troublesome, endearing or savvy. We are often charmed because they are small and new to this world.
Capturing a ‘child moment’ is sometimes a challenge for writers. We are not three years old and unless we have young children around us we may harbor pre-conceived notions about what childhood feels like. Our memory may not be reliable and cliches about children like to insinuate themselves into our writing.
Cliche is a place we do not want to be. As much as possible I try to creep into the child’s experience and write that. With adults reacting to children I try for a spontaneous response.
Go ahead writers and create a story around a child. You may feel refreshed by this work, as I do.
Here’s my attempt.
The outdoor arbor of branches and twigs was bedecked with small flowers and ribbons. The light scent of roses wafted among the seated wedding guests and you could feel the buzz of anticipation and excitement in the small grassy meadow. The groom and minister were in place under the arbor and the processional was about to begin.
All eyes were turned to the back where Oliver, the five-year-old ring bearer, held fast to his satin pillow that cradled the two gold rings. He was standing with the groomsmen ready to walk down the aisle. Light music from the musicians’ violins began to fill the meadow.
Oliver pushed his round glasses higher on his nose, looked up at the best man and whispered, “Don’t you think this is so romantic?”
The whisper was a loud whisper and it floated down the aisle bringing on many soft chuckles.
Halfway through the service, during a relative’s recitation of “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways,” a small voice whispered to the best man, “I have to go to the bathroom. Badly.” It was again a loud whisper and again amused, delighted titters spread though the gathering.
The minister paused and grinned down at Oliver. The relative stopped reciting.
“Me too,” one of the little flower girls piped up.” “I have to, too.” The other flower girl, a toddler, stepped out of line.
Oliver’s mother rushed up and escorted the three to the house. They were squeezing their legs together.
There were only one or two “shouldn’t the mother have taken care of this beforehand?” Haven’t they ever had a similar emergency?
Happy Writing Everyone,
LINKING THE ARTS
A Huge Responsibility. Must arrive safely to the alter.
Children’s Writer’s Word Book by A. Mogilner and T. Mogilner
When writing from a child’s P.O.V. I really like to consult this vocabulary book organized by grade in school. If the child is a genius (and most mothers’ children are geniuses) you can skip a grade or two.