Sunday, February 11, 2007

Five Hundred Words at Five Cents a Word

By C.L. Beck
© 2007

Since good writers should be multi-faceted, I’ve momentarily turned to writing children’s stories. Believe me when I say it’s not easy.

Let me give you an example:

First, imagine you have this great murder mystery in mind. Oops, you’re already off to a bad start. Unless you want parents calling at two in the morning because you gave little Zu-Zu nightmares, “murder” is a four-letter word. Well, ok, not really. It’s a six- letter word that’s the equivalent of a four-letter word.

Throw out the murder, but you can keep the mystery. Next pick a setting. Let’s have it take place in … oh, I don’t know … how about an office?

Every great story has to have a protagonist (that’s the good guy), and an antagonist (that’s the bad guy). So, let’s make the protagonist a mouse, and the antagonist an unknown being.

Throw those all together, with the antagonist moving around the mouse's most prized possession and what have you got? Voila! A story about a mouse who’s mad because someone moved his cheese.

If you’d come up with that idea 20 years ago, you’ve be rolling in the dough because you would have authored “Who Moved My Cheese”, an adult self-help book that is loved by corporate executives. You’d be rich and famous … with everybody but the kids.

I’m sure you can now see my frustration. Like I said, it’s not easy to write children’s literature. And just think, I’m doing it in hopes of making $25 a story. I must have rocks in my bats. Or belfries in my head. Or whatever.

But I’m not going to give up. I’m going to try until I get it right—at five cents a word, for 500 words.

I know. What if I create an adventure story, on the high seas . . . with a captain . . . and a great white whale?


Nichole Giles said...

It's amazing what we will do for a little recognition, isn't it?

Just think, if one of your children's stories gets published, you have the chance to make a child smile. What more do you need?


C. L. Beck said...

Oh, that is so true. What greater pleasure could a writer have than to know a child loved one of her stories?

Lewis Carroll wrote "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" for his niece, and it became his best known work. He was not a writer, but a mathematician. When the Queen of England told him she loved the adventures of Alice and asked him to write a book especially for her, he wrote her a mathematical treatise. (I realize this has nothing to do with anything, but it's such an interesting story! :-)

Thanks for commenting, Nichole.