Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Writing Stories Relevant To The Reader

     One of the greatest perks of being an author for children and teens is the opportunity to visit with
the readers either in person or live on the internet. At a recent 'Author Talk', I was visiting with approximately fifty or so kids between the ages of 11-13. The subject of our discussion was the first book in the Cow Pie Gang Series - The Ghost of Lizard's Rock
     A young girl asked, "Why did you write the book?"
     I explained to her that sometimes an author writes a book to just tell a story and then at other times we tell both a story and try to make the reader think about a message or many messages within the book. In the case of The Ghost of Lizard's Rock, my co-author and I wanted our readers to understand the importance of friendships.
     But this isn't everything that I consider as an author. Long before any young reader has the opportunity to read one of my new releases, I take into consideration the following:
  1. Is the story relevant to the reader? Too many times young readers quit a book because they have no understanding of the topic and/or its relevance in their lives. A commonly stated reason for quitting the book - 'It's boring'!
  2. Is the story written at the level of the targeted reader? It is absolutely critical that an author understands the skills of developing vocabulary and content in the text. 
  3. Does the story allow for the reader to think about the content of the book without assistance? I am an advocate of developing independence in the reader. This becomes even more important as we use the book to develop higher level brain development.
  4. Are the messages clear and easily understood? This is why I do test reviews with readers across the United States and Canada. These kids and adults often bring attention to problems with the story or what they like.
     I hope this gives you a small glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes in writing a children's / teen book. Please visit my website for more detailed information at Knappstory.com 

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