Ten writers for children. All with something to say.

9/29/10

A Child's Point of View


I have kept journals for both of my kids as they grew up, writing down things they would say, questions they would ask, games they liked to play. And when I joined my first writer's group in 2002, it was to these journals that I returned after the first meeting, to research my children's experiences for ideas. It was in my son's journal that I had written down his proclamation at the age of six, that most people think summer is the hottest season, but not him, because "in winter you wear warm clothes, drink hot chocolate, and sit by hot fires, so winter is the hottest season!" Playing around with this logic and listing all of the warm things found in winter and all of the cold things found in summer, I wrote my first picture book manuscript in three days, sent it to my editor, who bought it by the end of the week, and I went to my second writer's group meeting with the great news that I had sold my first manuscript, Winter is the Warmest Season! Needless to say, I have not produced new stories with such swiftness and clarity since, but I do return to my children's journals for story ideas, even when I am illustrating someone else's story. It helps to put myself back in touch with a child's point of view.

7 comments:

Christy said...

Lauren,
This book is sitting in a stack to go back to the library. I've been been brushing up on my Lauren Stringer reading recently :-). Winter is the Warmest Season! is a WONDERFUL book and definitely feels like a child's logic. You really started off with a bang in your writers group!

I was not so disciplined as you, but did write down a few things my daughter said, and am determined to use them at some point.

john said...

Cooper shines through in this book and I'm happy you shared the story with us Lauren. Though the writing and acquiring may have been fast, I suggest you were working that story out on different levels for a long time. It's a beautiful story and a beautiful book.

Mark said...

What a hilarious (and inspiring) story! I'd love to have seen the faces of the other group members when you returned to your second meeting and gave an update on what you'd been doing since the last meeting: "Oh, you know, I wrote a picture book and had it accepted for publication; what have you guys been up to?" Thanks for sharing!

Lauren said...

Mark, I actually gave the other members the head's up before the second meeting and champagne was served! It was a very fun beginning to our group! Thanks for the complements to the book- !

Stephanie said...

That's a great story, and great inspiration. I totally eavesdrop when I have teens in my living room. Lots of great fodder, but names will have to be changed...

Edie said...

What a great success story, Lauren, and beautiful illustrations!

David LaRochelle said...

I knew this story was inspired by your son, but hadn't heard the amazing timeline regarding it's writing and acceptance. It is such a clever story idea, I'm not surprised it was bought so quickly. The rich, luscious warmth of your illustrations are ideally suited to the text.