Fun Summer Project: Write A Book

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Why write? It is fun, and what better fun summer project than to write a book.Fun Summer Project: Write a Book – Episode 432

Why write? It is fun, and what better fun summer project than to write a book. For some children, this may be just what they need to get their creative juices flowing and for others, it may be better to begin with baby steps. This is a just for kid’s episode but parents are always invited, so get your kids and let’s begin!

Did you know storytelling is something that people did long ago for entertainment? Now we have television, video, and streaming apps, but long ago the way that people enjoyed themselves was to tell stories of real events or to exaggerate things that happened to make them more exciting.

Tips to Write a Book

For example, instead of saying… I was walking down a path, and I got to the end, and I turned right. After that, I kept going until I got home. Boring right?

Well, someone might tell the story like this. As I was walking down a path I thought I heard something rustling in the bushes, in fact, the noise got closer and closer, so I hurried along trying not to make it obvious that I was afraid and really, really scared. There are often lions in the woods and I knew that it was close to their feeding time, and if I didn’t hurry I might be some lucky lion’s dinner. As I walked I looked back, and the rustling was still following me and it was getting faster.

So, I picked up my speed. And, yes – you guessed it the thing – whatever it was in the bushes was also picking up speed as well. I saw my house ahead and I ran as fast as I could as if my life depends on it. Because it did. As I opened the door and threw myself in, I heard a roar and a whoosh of air right behind me. Then a horrible scratching at my door. I looked out of my front window and there is was an angry, pacing lion who had just lost its tasty dinner. Me.

Which story would you want to read? The first one or the second one? I agree the second one sounds more exciting and both say the same thing just in different ways.

Writing Fiction

Fiction is very close in some ways to true events and if you can think of something that has happened to you, you may be able to turn it into a short story that people will enjoy. Because that is what storytelling is, it is a way to entertain or bring enjoyment to another person. And, who doesn’t want to make someone else happy?

I wrote three novels with my daughter and that is called being a co-author. We wrote different parts of a story and put the parts together. I wrote some scientific facts in the book and she wrote the fun, action-adventure, mystery part. We worked on it together and it was a wonderful experience. You can find the books on my website at and they are the Truth Seekers Mystery series.

How did we come up with this idea? I wanted novels that taught good information and my daughter wanted to write an action novel with kids that actually did something that wasn’t dumb. For example, if there is a noise in the basement no one is dumb enough to go down the dark stairs alone to check it out like in all the books where they get caught. I have a podcast where I interviewed my daughter and you can get more of an idea, here.

So – back to writing.

Let’s say you always wanted to write a book and just didn’t know how to begin. One of the best ways to begin is through brainstorming. If you can brainstorm an idea, it helps to work out the angle you want to take. My daughter and I did this with the Truth Seekers Mystery Series TM. So you can begin with a marker board or a large sheet of paper. You can draw a diagram, and start with a circle in the middle and write the word, story… then draw spokes around your primary topic or goal.  And add to these, it can have characters (and spokes off of that circle to name your main characters), or it can have a setting, or a theme, or problem that must be solved.

Most books have a specific theme or another word for it is TrOps… look up the word tropes – which is pronounced trOp – the o is long. This is an overused or cliché … this may give you something to start with. For example, think typical kid mysteries, or time travel, finding treasure, you know things that most books or movies are about.

You keep drawing these spokes and circles until you run out of ideas. This is also called mind mapping and you can look that up as well.

What if you don’t think you can write a long story? Well, start small.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Start with a short story
  2. What is the problem? If there is no problem to overcome there is no story.
  3. Write one chapter at a time – and before you do – write a few sentences about what the chapter is about.
  4. Know your character. What is it about your character that makes him/her lovable or not likable? What is going to be different or change in the character? Will the character be stronger, or happier? Will the character learn something or be better for the trial they experienced?
  5. Keep the story moving… add a lion or two (remember the story I told you about walking home with the lion in the background?) I kept you in suspense not telling you what was rustling in the woods. Authors or good storytellers do this to keep the reader engaged – you want to know what is going to happen next OR you put down the book.

For more practice one thing you can do is retell a favorite story – you can change something in the story. For example, if the character is a boy make it a girl. If it is set in a mountain town make it a beach town. If they are finding buried treasure, change it to a valuable artifact – something that may be washed up on the seashore after a storm. So, the book is similar to the book you like but you change everything you can… the character’s names, and more to make it your own story. That is one way to start writing if you don’t know how.

Storytelling is all about the “what if” questions. What happens if the lion is faster than the person running away, what if the person had a bow and arrow, what the kid’s best friend or little brother was outside playing when the kid came running home chased by a lion?

Another way to jump-start ideas is to use open-ended stories or story starters … you can start reading a book and then put it down and write the rest of the story yourself. Don’t peak! After you are finished you can read the book and see how yours is better or how you can improve upon your idea.

You can do what I did with the first novels I wrote and that is to write with a partner. It is important if you do that one of you at least can take criticism. Because we were going to publish our books and they were going to be in catalogs and online stores, I gave the book to over 40 families to read and got feedback from the people reading the book to see what they liked or did not like.

Then we changed our books to include the good ideas that people gave us. Some people do not like feedback or their feelings get hurt. Like an artist or anyone who puts their work or ideas out there – if you like it, and your family likes it? Well, that is all that matters. If you want ot look up the Missing Link Found on Amazon, you can read some of the comments that people have made on the book. As you can see there are good and bad. Another book I wrote, A Few Minutes with God also got good and bad reviews. But, you know what? It is okay. Some people do not like to share their work with others because of fear of what someone might say. I am not like that or I would not have over 20 different books published.

You can use software like Google docs if you have a Gmail account. You can share this with a parent or they can set it up for you.

Use Google docs – allows parents and children to access the document if permissions are set correctly at the same time, OR use a word document and allow tracking for corrections and comments when you edit.

So, what are you going to write? Is it a mystery? A nature story? Is it a discovery? Did your character discover a lost island, or what about a bug? I have a friend who did discover a specific type of bug. Maybe you are writing about a tropical rain forest, or a vacation on the coast, and a big storm comes in and you find something exciting (or someone exciting) that is washed up on the shoreline. Imaginations can begin working if you give it some ideas to start with…

I wrote a book on writing and publishing for adults, but it is valuable if you ever want to publish your book, it is called Information in a Nutshell Writing and Publishing, and tells you more about the keys to writing. Another book on how to write fiction is by a good friend of mine, Susan Marlow, and it is called Reach For the Stars and is available with my eBook bundle on the website and if you want the print version, Susan sells it on her website. This book walks you through step by step guide on how to write fiction.

If you have any questions stop by this post and I’ll be happy to answer them.