Children’s Book Writing can be a difficult task, but from the minute we sit down to write something without an assignment from a teacher, we are officially writers.
The minute we have a desire to create something out of nothing, we are writers. The minute we answer a story call from the deepest parts of our souls, we are writers and we are at our very best.
After 7 seasons of Law & Order, 2 seasons on The Big Easy for USA Networks, writing and directing a nightmare job for Lions Gate Films (Venice Underground), adapting a NY Times best seller for 2oth Century Foxand Samuel Goldwyn Films (Conversations With God), to a ghosting gig with Random House, I sat down to answer the biggest question facing every writer; ‘What’s next?’
Like most writers, I went to my idea folder to see what I already had in the works. If you don’t have an idea file, create one. When you have a bolt of inspiration, don’t just think it, INK IT. Stuff the blurb into your file to help answer the ‘what’s next’ question.
In my idea folder, I found restaurant napkins with one liners, old television pilot ideas, and a screenplay called, ‘Saltwater Taffy’ from ten years ago. The biggest note I got on the script was that the story didn’t work and wasn’t engaging enough for a kids adventure film. Since everything in Hollywood begins with the script, I knew I needed to break a new story before I could write the new script.
Having just delivered the manuscript to my editor Julia Pastore at Random House/Harmony Books for CASH IN A FLASH, which was originally titled The One Minute Millionaire For Women, my long-form habits took over. Before I knew what happened, I was 35 pages into the process and I knew the craft had turned into children’s book writing more than a screenplay. Then 100 pages. Then 200. Then 300. Three months and 85,000 words later, I had a ream of paper filled with what is now the adventure novel, Saltwater Taffy. Yes, children’s book writing had taken over.
As writers, we often say we can write anything, and we can, especially if a paycheck is attached, but we should take beware. The more time we are busy with these ‘other stories,’ the less time we have for our own. Everyone likes to be paid for their time, but until we begin to not only search, but extract the stories from our soul, we are missing out on the greatest opportunity of a writers life: the story we were born to write. For me, Saltwater Taffy is that kind of story. What’s next for me? The film adaptation and shooting in Port Townsend, Washington summer 2012. What’s your story? The world is waiting for you to say YES, IT IS TIME TO TELL MY STORY!