What I Love about Writing Nonfiction for Kids

Over the weekend, I had a chance to really dig into my nonfiction project again. The deadline is coming up, and–yay!–the book is coming together. As I got into the flow, I remembered, once again, why I love this  kind of work. Just a few of the reasons:

  • I love trivia. One of my favorite board games is Trivia Pursuit. Even when I moan and groan about the Science and Geography questions (okay, honestly, about ANY questions that aren’t about books), I love hearing the answers that I don’t know. There’s something about findout that that tiny detail of information that intrigues me. As I write this book, I get that same spark when I hit on a cool fact or tidbit in my research.
  • I like playing with words. On the first pass, I tend to overwrite–both on the amount of content and in terms of the reading level I’m using. That’s okay. Because I absolutely love fiddling around with my sentences to get rid of the excess material, make the wording more active, and smooth out the sentences into a simpler clarity. I’m not fond of the term wordsmithing, but it almost fits here. How about word-tuning instead?
  • This kind of work is about as close as I get to instant-gratification. I know there will be revisions. I’m absolutely positive my editor will have changes for me to make. Cool. BUT…as I work, I can see myself getting closer and closer to Good. My fiction projects are all just so…big. Big in length, big in concept, big in pretty much any kind of unit of measure you want to apply. Can you say….overwhelming? There’s always that sense of how much work I still have to do to see it all turn into something I’ve done well. My chapters in this book have 3-4 paragraphs. Those paragraphs have 3-4 sentences. Give me a few minutes, and I can take a rough draft of one of those paragraphs and make it sparkle! Talk about positive reinforcement.
  • I love my audience. I’m still not sure how much info I’m supposed to be sharing about this book’s subject matter, and, no, I’m not just trying to be mysterious! The main target audience, though, is kids who may not be the strongest readers, but who deserve to have a book with material they’re interested in, that’s presented to them in a way that makes them want to keep reading. How important is it to have books for these readers? And how cool is it that I get a chance to write one for them? Pretty much totally awesome-sauce.

It was definitely a weekend of happy writing. I hope you all had time for some of your own!

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