Thursday, October 6, 2011

A 6 Year Old’s Perspective on Stories

Yesterday my 6 year old daughter flops down next to me on the couch and we have a conversation that goes something like this. (I’m going to call her Sister Bug, because that's her real nick name :)

Sister Bug: Mom, I have a book to read to you.

Me: Okay, lets hear it.

Sister Bug: I can read all the words. I can probably read them better than you.

Me: Probably.

Sister Bug: First before we read, you need to know how stories work.

Me: *holding back a smile* Okay, why don’t you tell me.

Sister Bug: First you need to know the characters and setting. Then the characters have a problem. This very important. Every story has a problem. If there isn’t a problem—it isn’t a story. Do you understand?

Me: I think I’ve got it. You are very smart.

Sister Bug: I know. Then at the end they fix the problem, and that is it. Are you ready now?

Me: Yep, lets hear it.

As she read to me I was only half paying attention. I was impressed with her simplistic grasp of plot. I know writers that struggle with this “very important” problem part. If your characters are wandering around in your story not doing much but admiring your world building skills and killing time, maybe they need a problem to wrestle with :)



Abby said...

Aw - this is so cute! What a smart girl. That is awesome to hear. Maybe she is going to be a writer like her mom! :)

Angela Brown said...

Characters + problem + fix the problem = how a story works

Could it possibly be broken down any simpler? That is so awesome. Please send her a high five from me. I tend to give those to my chipmunk when my adult brain complicates something and she gives me some simplistic and appallingly easy way to look at something.

AllMyPosts said...


Good Perspective!!

Three cheers for your Sister-Bug!!

Another Author

Tara Tyler said...

excellent summation!
i love simplicity!

Sara Bulla said...

Is she available for synopsis writing? I have this feeling she could whittle my story down the bare bones! Awesome

Jenny S. Morris said...

I LOVE when kids wittle it all down to the basics. They see things so clear.

You go Sister Bug!

Angie Cothran said...

Abby - she will probably be a better writer than me :)

Angela - High five...Done!

AMP - You can't beat a 6 year-old's view of the world.

Tara - Yay! Simplicity!

Sara - She is but she is REALLY expensive :)

Jenny - Kids are amazing!

Pk Hrezo said...

Wow. How impressive! She's totally got it. And I love how simply she broke it down. Bet she could write a killer query if she tried. :)

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