How your kids can help you write


My son is clever. He is 3 and loves to tell stories. Sometimes I’ll ask him to just tell me a story. He will ramble on about bears chasing him and his brother, and he has fast shoes, so he can get away. But Ethan falls, so he goes back to help him.

Really amazing stuff comes out of his head.

Just the other day I was writing a new setting of a gnomish village. I read a nightly story to my kids and it was, of course, that time again. I didn’t particularly want to change gears from writing a gnomish village to reading about Pug the Magician. So, I cheated. I started telling him about this village. Badgers and wolverines tilling the soil.

“And dogs.”

No, no dogs. I guess they could have dogs, but they live in a hidden city. It is peaceful and quiet. Dogs would make too much noise. They might chase the badgers.

“Oh… They don’t like dogs.”

Well, they do, but not to live with them. They love all animals. Maybe they tamed dogs for men, so that they could be man’s best friend.

So, I mentioned some gnome kids.

“The kids need a playground.”

Maybe they do need a playground… But these kids are playing a trick on someone. They carved symbols on stones and threw them into a building site. When the builder’s found it, they gave it to Mauven, the historian. I didn’t think he would understand what a historian was, so I asked him what he thought it was.

“Someone who reads books.”

It seemed to vocalize my exact thoughts of that character. Where does he learn this stuff?

Yes, he reads books. So, he read lots of books trying to figure out what the stones were. But, they were really fake. The kids said, if you lined them up right, they said, “Mauven the Chicken”.

He thought that was funny.

It was nice to hear him laugh at my silly story.

I never would have thought that it would have been so useful to throw pieces of my story up to my three year old. When I left him tucked away in his bed, I was ready to write some more.

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