I have to confess. Since my BA thesis (a children’s series that mixed fiction and non-fiction to educate kids in art appreciation) back in 1995, most of my writing had been non-fiction. So that meant brushing up on the essentials of storytelling for children, and reading about interactive storytelling. Since I wanted to incorporate interactions into the book app in a way that was actually relevant to the story, this meant sometimes altering the story’s events. It took me several months of re-writing my story over and over again —there were so many messages I wanted to convey, so many things that couldn’t be just said directly. My story was based on messages of reassurance and encouragement I wanted to get across to my own son. But I also wanted it to have humor —an indispensable ingredient for kids media.
Once I had finished the story structure and a version of the manuscript I felt was ready for critique, I searched for freelance editors specialized in kid’s books. The first two weren’t very useful (one was discouragingly harsh, and the other was too bland), but I was fortunate to find Lisa Rojany Buccieri. In only three rounds of corrections, Lisa helped me take my manuscript to a point where we were both happy with it.
In order to test my story, I read my manuscript aloud to second and third-graders at my kid’s school. The kids laughed at just the right moments! They really liked the story (whew!). Afterwards, the kids drew their favorite scenes from the story as they imagined them:
Here are a few of their pictures.
Writing the first version of the app’s interactive script was almost a simultaneous process as writing the story’s manuscript. But there were still seven more versions of the interactive script to come!
Next stop: Illustration.