December 19, 2012
My nine-year-old son and I both “booed” after finishing a short story which started with two children being left alone on an island, and ended with them still there, abandoned by their only visitor, and one of the children vowing to find a way off of the island some day. I tried to console my son by saying that when I experience a sad story that ends without an “ending,” it makes me resolve to get busy making something happen in real life. I asked him, “Do stories always have to have a happy ending?” I continued, “Real life doesn’t have happy endings—it just keeps going and going.” To which he instantly replied, “That’s why we turn to stories!”
I think he’s right.
Most adults are busy, and we can sometimes accept taking a piece of a story to ponder its points as we go on with our activities; but remember being a kid, when a year seemed like eternity? Adults may have been around enough to know a hard time will pass in a day, or week, or year; but it’s hard for a child to hold out for relief which might be so far away—so they turn to fantasy. Time goes so slowly for children that they can’t always grasp from their own real lives, the sense of hope and joy they need; but they can get it from a happy ending to a story.
We all want to know that things will be okay in the end—the end of a situation, the end of a season of life, or the absolute end of one’s earthly life. We need hope for the future in order to keep going through anything less than perfect. We fuel that hope with stories, real and fictional. Stories give us a rest from our reality, and ideas to take back into reality. Sure, we can draw positive thoughts from a story that stops sadly, but that’s work, not recreation. We all–adults and children–need happy endings to feel relaxed and happy.
Life does keep going and going, but with lots of little happy moments, if not “endings.” For those who say that kids should not be taught to expect happy endings in life, I’d say they should be allowed the uplifting pleasure of happy endings in stories, AND taught to both look for and create happy passages in real life.
It doesn’t matter so much that life isn’t “happy EVER after” ONE struggle. It does matter that we CAN get through a struggle, and be happy—and so then we must be able to get through another struggle, and another. A happy ending gives hope for multiple happy endings to multiple struggles.
So don’t feel guilty for filling your kid’s heads with happy endings. And do make happiness come true, even in difficult times.
November 29, 2012
While searching blogs tonight, I came accross this great story of a little girl whose fanciful tale was published along with some other children’s stories, and how excited she was to see her own words in a book, and to see what other kids had written…
I know that post was some time ago, but NOW all English-speaking kids ages 5 to 13 have an opportunity for the same kind of exciting, positive experience.
Enjoy reading the post in the above link, and then have YOUR kids enter Rifll Publishing’s FREE Kid’s Challenge/contest right now! (Or mark it on tomorrow’s schedule, if you are reading this while your kids sleep.)
Get all your questions answered here: http://www.rifll.com/challenge.htm
October 20, 2011
…Monster sized books, that is. In libraries and bookstores alike, look between the multi-hundred paged eye-catchers, and you may find smaller books hiding a much better value.
Maybe if you are looking for something entertaining to fill endless hours of a hum-drum life, you might want to buy books by the pound; but when you need information, the fewer the pages the better.
How many times have you been frustrated with the time necessary to read through huge books only to find that their texts did not live up to their titles, and after having a few points hammered into you over and over again, you still don’t know the information you were looking for? So many books seem to be a big waste—of time, paper, money, shelf space, and potential. The existence of speed-reading and skim-reading methods does not excuse unnecessary bulk; they are valuable strategies which would be equally valuable if applied to books of fewer words.
Many publishers want authors to pad their manuscripts with extra words, so that they’ll take up more real estate in bookstores (pushing out competition and attracting the buyer’s eye), and so that customers will feel they are getting their money’s worth. I find it SO annoying when an author spends half of every chapter telling me what they will tell me in the next chapter if I keep reading. Many publishers feel they can charge more for higher page-count books, even if it’s all fluff and reiteration on the inside. It would be insulting to the buying public if so many buyers didn’t fall for it.
Personally, I think book prices should be based on the value of their content, which has nothing to do with word or page count. In fact, if an author can convey the right information in fewer words, that should actually increase the value of his or her book, because it won’t waste the reader’s time. I’m attracted to thin books that get to the point and let me get on with using the point. I don’t need an author to tell me the same thing six different ways, as if I were a little kid; I can read it once and decide if I want to remember it. I also find it appealing when an author is honest enough to write a small book, rather trying to make it look like everything you could ever want to know is inside one cover.
Next time you are shopping for a book, try not skipping over the slim ones. Maybe they can save you money and time, save the world trees, and encourage the minority of respectable authors.
© 2011 NPM
Publisher Posted Mini-Story & Poem I Co-Wrote with Son & Mother. Go See How You Can Participate Too!
September 11, 2011
Rifll Publishing, Inc. has posted two new items on their “writing” page: a very silly mini-story I co-wrote with my 8-year-old son, and a spiritual poem I co-wrote with my mother.
Check them out; and while you are there, see how you can write with me also–maybe even getting a creation (with your name as co-author) “published” on the website as well 🙂
Just go to http://www.rifll.com/write.htm