Bradley Charbonneau sat down with his 8-year old and finished a bad children's book. "We could do better than that," soon-to-be author dad said to young son. Three books later and they're doing just that.
In fact, they're writing the books together. Here's how they're doing it.
- The 8-year old and his 11-year old brother come up with scenes and challenges.
- Dad writes out a chapter.
- Boys edit, discuss and get sidetracked.
- Dad bribes them with popcorn and gum (not at the same time) and they make progress.
- Books are published on Amazon and boys reap the profits so they can buy gum (popcorn is practically free).
This has been the secret formula for the past year and a half and they've produced 3 books so far--and they're just getting started.
This time, they recruited two of their buddies and the scene is their buddy's dad's wedding in a castle in Ireland.
A strategy session might go like this:
- "Ooh, maybe it's haunted!"
- "No, I know, we find treasure in the dungeon!"
- "We blow up the whole castle with grenades!"
- "What kind of food do they have in Ireland?"
- "No, I know, I know. The old guy who runs the castle is the uncle of the young good guy and they have a history that goes back to the olden days and there's a secret under the castle and we're going to help figure it out."
- "Then there's a buffet where we can eat as many fries as we want! For breakfast, lunch and dinner!"
Can you see the process here? It's about as straightforward as the flightpath of a bat.
Each book gets more involved and the characters are developing as the kids realize the power of imagination and their characters don't have to be anything like who they really are.
It's been fun for all of us (well, usually ... ) and we encourage other kids to get their parents to write down stories with the kids as the characters and see where they end up. Hey, what's the worst that could happen? You write a bad children's book? What's the best that could happen? You open your child's imagination.