Finding Your Child Voice

by Diane Robinson

When writing children literature, finding your own child voice is the only way to create realistic characters, believable dialogue, and succinct narrative that will grab your reader’s attention and keep them involved in your story.

Students often ask, “How do writers find their child voice?”

My answer is, before you can find your child voice, you must think like a child. To think like a child, you must play like a child, even if it is only in your mind.

Seems like a relatively simple thing to do, right?  But as adults, we often let go of (or lose completely) our childlike attitudes and behaviors or tuck them away in a memory box.

So, open the box. Remember. Put on a costume and dance around the room, go to a park and cruise down the slide, visit a classroom, read children’s literature, or hang out with some kids and just observe. Soon enough, your own childhood memories will come flooding back about what it was like to be that age, what was important, what wasn’t important, how you acted and how you talked, what the world sounded like, felt like, and tasted like. 

Once your own inner child is awakened, you will be able to immerse yourself into your character’s head with more freedom, with more pizzazz.

Another good exercise to get into child-mode thinking is to look at things, people, situations and emotions and write various approaches to express them with originality. Then, break the sentences down again and again until the emotions and situations are expressed simply, with the innocence of a child’s heart.

 Here are some examples of my child voice that I’ve used in my own stories:

Excited:  He felt as if a herd of jumping bugs were doing cartwheels in his stomach.

Sad: My heart fell sideways and stayed lying down all day.

Descriptive dialogue: “I know grandma can fly. She has that flabby, flapping skin under her arms that turns into her after-dark wings.”

Descriptive narrative: The wind pricked him, jabbed at him, finally becoming so mean with all its yelling and howling that he decided the wind just wasn’t worth playing with any longer.

So if you find yourself dancing and twirling around the kitchen, doing cartwheels across the yard, or finger painting like a four-year-old and somebody says you’re acting immature, take it as a compliment and start writing.

*Diane Robinson is an award-winning children’s chapter book author and a writing tutor at Creative Writing Institute

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Tips on Writing Memoirs

Looking for Tips on Writing Memoirs?
by Hugh Wilson
Volunteer Staff at Creative Writing Institute

Writing memoirs is easy. Don’t make something easy into something hard. Write for the sake of posterity. Wouldn’t you love to read what your great, great grandmother wrote about her everyday life in the 1800s? Well… IF she had written it. Publication is not the only measure of success. Sure, it means an editor thinks thousands will enjoy your writing and a good byline always massages the eyeballs, but writing is a transient thing.

Think about future generations and how they would love to read about your life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Yes, we’re talking about writing memoirs.

“But I haven’t done anything memorable,” you protest. “My life is humdrum. Who’d be interested in me?”

What seems commonplace to you can be fascinating to someone else, especially in a hundred years’ time. Think about the kind of details you’d like to know about that great, great grandmother. What type of clothes did she wear? What did she eat for breakfast? What did she do in the evenings? How did she meet her husband? Did all of her children live to adulthood?

Just as today’s teens can’t imagine a world without television, today’s ordinary life will seem extraordinary in tomorrow’s world. By the time someone read’s your heart’s deepest secrets, you will likely be gone anyway.

You don’t have to reminisce in chronological order. Write memories down as they come to you and slot them into the proper period. You can write them by hand and put them in a three-ring binder or type them into a computer and rearrange the order, but no matter how you do it, DO keep your memoirs in a safe place. is a good place to back your files up for just $59 a year. Dropbox has a free program, and there are other such free places. Just Google “free storage.” Keep your work backed up in more than one location. Store it on an external hard drive or flash drive and keep it in a lock box. Material kept on CD’s will deteriorate over time.

Build a picture of your life for your descendants to read. Leave a part of yourself behind. Start writing memoirs today.

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Journaling with a Writing Voice

Use Your Writing Voice to Journal

by guest blogger, Annie Evett

Journaling gives a writer the opportunity to exercise their voice. We all have a story to tell. What better way to express your writing voice than through journaling?

Journal your observations on everyday life. Don’t shy away from committing your words to page because you feel your contribution to life is unimportant. What is pedestrian to you will most certainly be exotic to at least a small audience somewhere on the globe.

* Let your writing voice out. Journal first. Worry about getting a publisher or a book deal later. Write to just prove you can do it.

* We are surrounded by those who talk about books they want to write. There are far fewer individuals who actually complete that vision. Write more, talk less.

* Accept your past and all of your experiences as key to shaping who you are. Instead of comparing your writing voice to others, embrace where it is taking you.

* Write from your whole self and from your passions. A clear writing voice will reach your audience. Flavor it with humor. Learn to laugh at yourself. If you like to talk about new ideas, liberally sprinkle them in your writing. Anything less will be unsustainable along your journey as a writer.

* Start journaling the passions and perceptions of events that shape your existence. Do more than write a series of personal events. Put effort into your writing.

A myriad of venues that simply includes surroundings and experiences can stop creative flow. Similarly, a writing voice that holds no structure or theme leaves the audience little to identify with. Even when you write only for yourself, let your writing voice shine.

Can anyone write or is it only for the chosen few?

Perhaps it is for the few that choose to hone their writing voice.