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Pare it Down and Blow it Up

May 3, 2021– Today, we kick off a month-long series about writing kid’s books! We’re going to teach you what you need to know when writing for kids and this whole series complements what you’ll learn in our Children’s Book Writing Masterclass available here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

Here are three not so typical ways to find inspiration for writing kids books:

  • Take an idea and pare it down to the bones. What is your child struggling with? What are they afraid of? What questions do they ask? Chances are that if your child is asking these questions and has these challenges, that other children are too. Take a complex idea like bedwetting and break it down into a single, simplified idea.
  • Blow it up. Make things larger than life. I’m talking about whales in swimming pools, pizzas that are so large they could feed an entire town, and seven-foot ants that are terrorizing a city. The bigger, the better.
  • Don’t be afraid to go there. Talk about death, talk about bullying, talk about step-siblings and any other issues that can be sticky but matter. Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for, and while we don’t want them to grow up too fast, we need to touch on subjects of importance to them. Keep it age-appropriate and speak to them in a way they will understand, but don’t dumb it down.

Using the above information, let’s do an example; feel free to write your own after brainstorming a few ideas!

Bare Bones Idea: Bedwetting

Blow it Up: A monster that struggles with bedwetting but has a solution (a checklist before bed), e.g. No drinks after a certain time, favourite stuffed animal, nightlight, a flashlight to check in the closet and under the bed, signing a nice song, and reading a fun book etc.

Go There: Nightmares. The monster has nightmares, and that’s why he wets the bed.

Synopsis: Cliff is a big, green, furry monster who needs help at bedtime. Some nights Cliff has bad dreams about giant slices of pizza chasing him, and sometimes Cliff has accidents. But with the help of his monster mom, he has a special trick for chasing the bad dreams away and making bedtime fun!

Of course, this was off the cuff and something that I thought of quickly. It would need to be refined, but you get the idea. So, start writing! What are you waiting for?

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Angels vs. Demons by Kinga Ulazka Mcdonald

April 22, 2021-I thought you would like some different perspectives about pushing the envelope in your writing by bringing in some guest bloggers! They’ll share their take on how they push the envelope and how you can too. Today’s post is written by Kinga Ulazka Mcdonald; she explores a different side to religion in her writing and this allows her to open her mind to infinite possibilities in her manuscripts. I love her take on this and how she pushes the envelope and embraces the flip side to grow and explore something she believes in.

I have always been Catholic and was taught many teachings about the Bible. I have always feared the Devil, just as I fear God. When COVID first hit, I began having horrible nightmares. Some included demons and I didn’t know why, but I figured most likely due to my anxiety. I started writing short stories and poems reflecting my nightmares and I began asking myself why I often wrote about the Devil. Some would say spreading demonic tales just pushes the envelope of satanic worship, but to be honest I think it educates more than anything. Many in my family won’t even read my short stories or listen to them because they feature a demon, a witch or a supernatural force. I can’t say I blame them really. Some of the tales are quite disturbing, but isn’t that the point of writing, to push the envelope? I’m not writing about illegal, crude acts of horror that will mess the psyche up, but the stories aren’t for the faint of heart. They provoke fear and question our beliefs, but Stephen King makes his career off of these tales, why can’t I?
My writing has definitely evolved since this lockdown began. I am more open to ideas, and concepts that may have frightened me before. I was always focused on writing dramatic, or romantic when I’ve realized horror is my cup of tea. Many may not know, but these tales of despair often reflect reality in some way. I’ve realized an actual demon can be a reflection of something we fear in reality. Maybe that witch is the act of taking back the stereotype of strong women. The alien invasion may be the fear of changes in our lives, and the cult theme may be the curiosity of different ideas that we have within ourselves.

I truly believe pushing the envelope is only a different word for exploring something different. Controversy will not always be that because times do change. Something that was once never discussed may be what’s being explored this year. Ideas are also evolving and I along with it, write what you want and what you can. The best writing I have ever done was writing that came to me through nightmares, through the exploration of imagination and the boundary that we push towards making something viewed differently as a masterpiece. So continue fearing the Devil, and for me, I will always believe in God, but those tales of horror only evoke me to think more inside my religion, then create fear about something I’ve grown up believing in.