How Do You Write a Book, Aunt Kiki?

Photo by StevenLlorca.com
Photo by StevenLlorca.com

My seven year old niece, let’s call her Ayla, woke up before her sister one morning and sat next to me on the couch.  It was a Saturday and the girls were staying with us for the weekend.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“I’m writing a book,” I said and showed her my laptop screen.     

“YOU’re writing a BOOK?” Her eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.

“Yes.  Would you like me to read you some?”  She nodded, relaxing her eyeballs. I read the first page and she listened. Every few seconds, I glanced over and her eyes would look up and to the right, deep in thought. 

“What do you think?” I asked. 

“It’s REALLY boring,” she said, very serious.  Then she looked up to the right again and said, “I know what I want to be when I grow up.” 

“What’s that?” I asked, my feelings hurt.

“I want to write books.”

So with that, Ayla took a blank notebook, a pen and slid to the other end of the couch. Like any author, she needed her space.  Deep in thought, she looked up to the right, then back down at her notebook. After a couple minutes, and still a clean notebook she asked, “How do you write a book, Aunt Kiki?”

Well, I thought, how DO you write a book? For my answer to this question, I summed up all the knowledge I gained from the books at the top of my Inspiration Page and tried to make my answer seven-year-old friendly.  This is what I said: “You create a character, the character wants something, something gets in the character’s way, the character figures out what to do and in the process, the character grows and learns something.”   That, my friends, is how you write a book. 

She wrote until she had seven pages and a story with all the main components.  That began the writing career of a seven year old. 

Which led me to think about my writing career, which began one day when I was nine and REALLY mad at my mom for sending me to my room.  I also had a ton of food allergies and probably ate something that made me REALLY difficult to be around. 

Either way, I had so much anger, I took my school notebook and wrote down everything that happened to make me so angry.  I don’t remember how long I sat and wrote, but I remember I felt A LOT better after.  All my anger and frustration left me and traveled to the pages of my notebook. 

For the next 17 years, I continued this writing habit. I wrote about events, but mostly I wrote to process those events, to make sense of them.  Writing was a part of my life, from school, to college, to living in other countries and learning another language. 

Then something happened and I stopped writing, almost forever. That something was a career.  The events of my career days became pre-determined, the same thing every day.  Commute, work, commute, pay bills, eat, sleep, repeat.  So I stopped writing, until July 2014.  I’ll talk about July 2014 in another post (because I’m the Carleena’s Blog boss and I make the rules).  My next Post will be about NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.  What is it, Why do it, and How to do it?  I’ll dig a little deeper into, how DO you write a book (or at least  – how DO you prepare to write a book, because I haven’t actually written a book yet). So, good day, mate.  Until next time, Carleena

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