Aug 26, 2009

"I Guess I'll Just Have To Write My Own Story..."

by Kirsten Millsap

My eight year old has seen me sitting for hours at my desk, trying to find that perfect word...that perfect phrase...she'll ask, "How's your book coming along, Mama?" I'll usually respond with a grunt or an, "...Ummm..." that never becomes a full answer. She gets it though; she says, "Not good, huh?" No. Not good. Last night we went through the same routine and she says she thinks I may be "Over-thinking it" a phrase we often use on her. That's cute, and earns her a half-smile from me, though I'm still distracted. She pulls up a chair and asks me to read what I have so far. I do. Midway through she stops me and says, "This isn't a kids book, is it." Not a question. A statment. I tell her it's for big people. She asks if I have anything for kids. I tell her I don't. She thinks about that for a moment, and says, "I Guess I'll Just Have To Write My Own Story..."

I set her up with a page in Word, and she settles in to work at my husband's computer, across from me. I sit there, letting my stalled thoughts congeal as I hear her tiny fingers click rapidly across the keyboard. She's making me look bad. I actually try to boost my ego by telling myself that her story is going to be about bunnies hopping through the forest with barbies riding upon their furry little backs...lots of spelling errors and no plot. As I struggle to find a different way of saying "Said" for the next half hour, Clicky-Clickerson is clattering away at her sure-to-be silly story...until the clattering stops and she announces triumphantly, "Done! Want to hear my story, Mama?" I decide I can use a break. She reads it to me. And I was at least partly correct; the story is indeed about bunnies...but it is a mommy bunny and a daughter bunny. There is a begining, a middle and an end. And a moral--the kid has actually come up with a moral to her story!! GENIUS! And I am amused to find that I even enjoyed listening to it. My child has a gift. A very sweet gift that, while it may have momentarily deflated my ego, has certainly brought me a whole lot of motherly pride!

I'm beaming as I sit here typing...and thinking...maybe I should make my life easier, and publish children's books...with my eight year old as the author.


  1. Ah, the awesomeness of childhood! She has good genes, Mom.

  2. Why not keep her going? That is great. I do have one question for you though. Why spend a 1/2 finding a new word for said when you can just anchor the dialog with a physical action. My creative writing coach does not allow any, and I mean ANY tag lines ever. Just another approach.

  3. What a great read Kirsten. Out of the mouth of babies and all. And did you ever find another way to say "said." I hate that...when you get hung up on something and just can't make it right.

  4. Gotta love it! Kids have the most amazing insight...and your daughter seems particularly precocious...and precious. Great blog, Kirsten!

  5. Two of my boys are much better at plotting than me. I use them often as sounding boards. And discuss characterization with my twelve year old daughter who has a great grasp of motivation. I LOVE using my children in my WIP.


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