Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Writer's Guide
Writing Children
Or…one of those moments that makes your parents go hmmm

I've always liked the song "Rich Girl" by Hall and Oates. (I'm a closet Hall and Oates fan.) So back in 1977, this song gets released and I'm listening, probably be-bopping along, and I announce from the back seat of the off-gold Plymouth Duster that "it isn't very nice to call someone an old man."

Ah, the naivety of children, eh? I remember my parents exchanging a "look" up there in the front seat—and I think Dad changed the station. (Because we lived in the hoppin' Mecca of Sterling, Illinois, at the time, he probably had to just turn the radio off.) Now that I'm old enough to understand all the lyrics, I can appreciate what my parents were, no doubt, thankful the 6-year-old in the back seat hadn't picked up on. It kinda makes me giggle.

Anyway, there's a childish moment for you to inspire your writing-of-children today. It's good to keep in mind that kids just don't hear all the things we adults do. Look at the movies that are made for them. All those quips included in Shrek 3 last weekend? Obviously those were for the moms and dads sitting through the animation with Junior. You'll notice that none of the kids in the theatre were laughing when the parents were. They just don't catch that stuff. (Thank goodness, right? It's good to retain that innocence from Life just a while longer.) So when you're practicing/journaling/writing a scene from a child's point of view, don't forget to narrow down that field of vision.

I have very few scenes in the fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods in which we go down to Kaylin Taiman's POV. I just don't write from a child's perspective very often. Now, when I do, I'm careful to be sure I'm in her mind, watching through her eyes for a while before I start typing, before I start showing the reader what she's seeing and how she's seeing it. The words I use take a step down in vocabulary level. The things she notices are more innocent than those of the adults around her. The concepts she considers are gentler, less worldy, and more self-centered than those of the adults around her because she's not going to be focused on an impending war and approaching emperor with a bride for her older brother. She has her own inner monologue to worry about…and it involves dresses and play swords and what she's going to eat for dinner. She's a child.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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