A few months back I had an idea for a new novel, one I was calling “the most depressing book ever.” I’d named it Happier, Forgotten and I planned on cranking through it this November as a kind of NaNoWriMo followup to my last novel, A Confession.
As it turns out, I’ve completely changed my mind.
One of the biggest issues I’ve had as a writer is that I’m also a dad … and of everything I’ve written, not a single one is appropriate for my kids to read. I have three boys, aged nine, seven and two – and every time I write something new, the two older ones ask if they can read it. And of course, I have to answer no.
So this NaNoWriMo I’m trying something completely different: I’m writing a book for kids.
I’ve had an idea for a kind of spooky adventure story – something like if Goonies and Labyrinth and Coraline and The Spiderwick Chronicles and Indiana Jones all got mixed together. It’s about secret passages, dark places, secret powers and brotherly bonds. This November, I plan to write that story (or stories, depending on how it all comes out and how much the writing flows).
I told my boys the idea for the story, without telling them I was writing it. I just told them what the story was about, and they started begging me to get it for them. I take that as a good sign that I’m starting from an idea they’ll like. My number one goal with this project is to write a story my kids can read and enjoy, and hopefully end up with something kids everywhere will enjoy.
It’s my first attempt at writing for kids, so it will be an interesting challenge. Thankfully I have my very own focus group right here in my house, and having been a dad for almost a decade now, I think I have a pretty good idea of what gets them excited. Now, to see if it can be put into words.
As is usually the case with my writing, I’ve put together some initial cover art ideas to get the story started in my head. Along with my notes and outline, I’m ready for November to start so I can get my fingers on the keyboard. In the meantime, here’s one of those cover ideas (and a potential title).
P.S. I’m writing this under a pseudonym.
That’s right. I am Skunkpot McGrubbins.