Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kids' as Writers

Because I write, my sons do too, with varying degrees of success. I've concluded that whether or not I ever sell a book, just the fact that my sons are better for it makes it all worth it.

My oldest is in his second year of Advanced Composition, a class offered only to high schoolers whose teachers spot their giftedness and drive. He's also one of the managers of school publications for the same reason. He's been writing stories for fun since he was old enough to pick up a pencil, and I suspect he became proficient on the computer just so he could type his work. His teachers have pronounced him gifted in this respect.I often seek his opinion and proofing skills.

My second borne doesn't enjoy reading at all and schooling him has been an uphill battle, but he likes to write. Bless his heart, he can't spell to save his life, but this son is a talented storyteller with a particular gift for imagery and unique subjects. He actually writes pretty good poetry, considering he's voluntarily read next to none.

The third borne loves to tell funny stories--excels at them, actually. He has a wicked sense of humor and never misses an opportunity to make us laugh. He writes comics and relays them to us regularly. My favorite one is about a group of witches and warlocks who can't quite seem to get their acts together. And, no, he hasn't read Pratchett yet.

The youngest has begun writing comics, which is how all of the rest of the "writers" in the family got our start. He's discovering, like the rest of us, that he prefers words over pictures and if he follows the same trend, his comics will shrink and his words will fill the empty space.

I'm amused at the number of sound effects he uses to try and illustrate his point both out loud and in his writing (I too use sound effects when telling a story--sometimes there's just no other way to explain the sound the coffee pot was making just before it began spewing brown stuff all over the counter, and, no, I didn't pour anything into it . . . except vinegar and baking soda, so just shut up . . . ).

Last night he showed me a comic strip which centered around a small boy and his secret lab (Yes, I know about Dexter's Lab--which has been off the air for a couple of years. I suspect Sam doesn't know where his inspiration came from). The character accessed his lab by standing in an empty trash can near the back of the house. In this particular installment, the little boy had invented a bomb that would go off when someone sprinkled water on it. A stray dog got into his lab while the boy was working, and it hiked a leg on the bomb--just as the boy turns around crying,"noooo!"--with disastrous results. A much singed stick figure stood in the middle of the otherwise blacked out box and said proudly, "Well, it worked . . . "

All four of them want to be writers when they grow up--along with day jobs that vary from Movie Producer/musician (oldest), Vet-tech (second born), Teacher/Game Designer (third)and Fireman/Doctor (youngest). I think it would be super cool if every one of them succeeded at this, but would be equally pleased (of equal coolness) if they all grew up to be thinking, articulate individuals.


Unknown said...

How exactly do you motivate them again? I've got a fourteen-year-old daughter who can write and draw and sing and act - but has pretty much zero ambition to do anything that doesn't involve attatching some part of her head to an electronic device.

Mary O. Paddock said...

I attribute this particular success (and believe me--there are lots of other worries that I won't give space to now) to homeschooling them until high school.

My bet is your daughter's ambition will return. As I recall, my oldest went through a similar thing at her age.