A couple of years ago my son informed me that he hated reading. Being an author, this made my heart hurt and I set out to fix this viewpoint by writing a story for him. I kept it short because he is young, but I did not spare him in language, plot, or character.
I even published it myself so that he could have a real book to read in his hands, something he could point to on Amazon. The novelette featured a man cursed into wolf form by an evil witch and it’s titled Torven. You can find it on Amazon if you’re really curious.
But I also had my son involved in the making of it. So he heard the rough draft as it was written, chapter by chapter. I paused frequently so he could ask questions, which often turned into suggestions. It amazed me how much he wanted to be part of the process, as opposed to simply reading it.
I’d written him into one of my novels once already, and that had him at least partially interested. Mostly he wanted to hear the parts of the story that featured his character, but at least he listened as I read it.
When it came to Torven, though, he was really excited to tell me where he thought the story was going and we ended every session with a conversation. He asked how Torven was cursed, and I reminded him that this was part of the story and if he wanted to know then we had to keep reading.
And when we met the witch, he wanted to know if Torven killed her. Again, I told him he had to keep reading to find out. But with this one, he adamantly informed me that Torven HAD to kill the witch or it wouldn’t be a good story.
Interestingly enough, he also went into how the witch became a witch. As an author, I like to twist things around and see how wicked people were good once and got corrupted, but in my son’s view, there was never any good there. If I recall correctly, he said the witch was born from a bog.
That never made it into the book but I remember praising him for such a creative backstory. The image of murky, stagnant water boiling and swirling until the deadly witch rose from its depths has always stuck with me and I may ask him for permission to use that one day.
As for other people in my life who claim they either don’t have the time or don’t like to read, there isn’t much I can do. It seems to be popular to hate reading these days, people shrugging the task off and saying they’ll watch the movie when/if it comes out. I’m sure all writers find this attitude disheartening, but that doesn’t stop us from creating novels.
Happily, I married a man who enjoys reading, and my son is warming to the written word. In the grand scheme of things, I think I’ve done all I can to remind my family that reading is cool and creativity shouldn’t be underestimated.
Check out what my fellow authors do to help encourage reading in this month’s Round Robin:
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1ly
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Anne de Gruchy https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/
A.J. Maguire https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ (YOU ARE HERE)
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
7 thoughts on “September Round Robin – Reading is Cool!”
What a brilliant idea, to get the child to co-author the book!
I agree with Dr. Bob… What a great idea and how wonderful that your son actively participated. I’m sure he will remember it his entire life and spread the experience to his children and others.
I think that was a fantastic idea to get him involved in helping to write the story. When I first started writing I was careful never to use the names of folk in my family – thinking I might offend someone if they didn’t like the character. But then my grandchildren began asking me to use their names. And now I consult them when I have a character their age for things like expressions that are current, how they feel about their lives, school, the world, they favorite music, activities etc. They are a marvelous resource.
I love that you got your son to help you write the story. I have found that, once engaged, kids are fearless in their writing. Not so much a lot of us adults who have listened to the Inner Critic too often.
Hi AJ, good work! anne
Since I write romance, none of my kids want to be in my books! LOL! But two of them have read some of them. My third son, the most well-read, voracious reader, told me that my books are written in a literary style, with tasteful sex scenes. Does that make me Nicholas Sparks? I sure wish I had his promotions team behind me, and his royalties! Instead, since I’m a woman who writes romance, I get the attitude that what I write is similar to what people have to scrape off their shoes. Sigh…
Great that you were able to interest your son by getting his “help.” I hope he keeps reading. My kids both liked to read, especially the youngest, who went through the entire Hardy Boys books. The oldest mostly reads non-fiction, but that’s good, too. I’ve always been a reader and can’t imagine not reading. I, too, married a man who likes to read. A life with no reading would be severely diminished. As would one without cheese. 🙂