Books for Kids

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Birth of Titus the Blue Tit

Someone asked me the other day, where I got the idea to write my children's stories about this little bird called Titus. I guess the original idea came from watching the garden birds. One day I was just staring out the window, [as you do when bored] and saw some Wrens creating a nest and getting harassed by a Blue Tit as they flitted about.

Ping!! the what if bell rang and turned into a flash story called 'New Neighbours' that's in my collection 'Five Minute Fiction'.  Then while trying to entertain my grand children one day, I created a verbal story about this little Blue Tit called Titus who got into trouble try to visit a friend. I'd never thought of writing for children but my grandchildren liked the story so I thought why not.

I spent a lot of time playing around with 'Titus' not sure if I had what it takes to be a writer of kids stuff. I'm a writer of flash fiction, I don't write novels. What makes me think I'd be any good at writing for kids? So, I read up on the subject of writing for children. Boy did that confuse me, people say it's hard to get the tone right and even harder to use the right language level for kids, and the list of doe's and don'ts is as long as your arm.

What to do? Well, I went on line and found a writing forum, joined in with the chat about writing and when I felt comfortable, I posted my little story for some feedback. I got a lot of constructive criticism and used the feedback to improve the story. Then came the big test. I needed to show it to my peers, and get some face to face feedback.

Although I'd read it to all the family and anyone else who stood still long enough, I still wasn't sure. After all they were my family and friends, who would always say nice thing about my writing wouldn't they? I mean, they wouldn't want to upset me, with the truth would they? I guess we writers all go through this uncertainty about our work, don't we?

I belonged to a creative writing group in my home town at the time and tentatively showed it to the group. Although they were a friendly group I knew I could rely on them to tell me the truth. One by one they said it was good or they would read it to their kids etc. Wow! I was pumped. Then, one member [a teacher of 5-7 year olds] said, would I like her to read it to her class and get some feedback from the kids. Would I? I snatched her hand off.

Back to my teacher friend, it was a hit, her class loved it. They especially liked the bits about the bugs, well, kids always love buggy stuff don't they?  Titus was born and became 'A Titus Adventure' with beautiful illustrations by the wonderful artist Barbara Shore. At first I thought it was a one off, but it got such good reviews when I published it, I thought maybe I can do another.

I now have three 'Titus' stories published, two are self-published as A Titus Adventure and  Titus and the Magic Feather I also have Titus stories  in collections published by The Peacock Writers in aid of children's charities. Titus and his Adventure with Cedric and Santa is in a Whimsical Holiday for Children  and Tius and the Magic Feather is in The Rain Clouds Gifts  Titus and his Adventures with Cedric and Santa will be published as a stand alone with illustrations by Barbara Shore in time for Christmas. All Titus stories are paperback as well as e-books.

About The Peacock Writers
An on line group I belong to had the idea of writing a book for children's charities and called for submissions. This turned into The Peacock Writer of which I am a very proud member. Two or three times a year we get together and write a themed book for children and all royalties go to various children's charities.

The Peacock Writers have written and published two book to date, the first had a Christmas/winter theme and the second a rainbow/spring theme.  We have another in the pipeline for Halloween/autumn and there will be a 'Titus story in that too.

Carol x

6 comments:

  1. Titus is a brilliant character that kids of all ages (me too) can relate to Carol. :)

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  2. Thanks Jack, I've heard it said Titus makes a great gift for children.

    Carol x

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  3. Kids of all ages, Carol. I have to admit to loving your little Titus as much as any child will :)
    Al

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  4. I've read all the do's and don'ts too. I'll bet you did ignore some of them. Your grandchildren are the best critics--or were when they were smaller. Congrats.

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  5. I think I ignored all of them and just went with my gut Mari. Thanks for the lovely comment.

    Carol x

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