I’ve almost completed eight chapters, written nearly 36,000 words and I can’t believe that the writing has taken on it’s own life. Things I hadn’t even thought of while outlining are pouring out. It remains to be seen if it is all good for the story.
When I began outlining Pride’s Children, I hadn’t really planned on taking on too many ‘child’ characters. But the story has insisted that we get involved with a few more kids than my original outlines had called for. I don’t want to write any spoilers, but suffice it to say that this is a novel about gay parenting. It’s also about gay couples being able to adopt, not only the unwanted children of others, but the natural offspring of their partners as well. This is something that, in Ontario, became legal in 1995 and the story uses the change in legislation as part of the plot.
Writing about children is one thing. Writing as a child gets a little tricky. Dialogue for children can be very tough. The author must constantly be aware of the child whose voice he is writing at the moment to ensure what the child says is written the way a child of that character’s age would say it. Sometimes, a child may be a little more mature than his or her years might suggest; that has to be made clear when the reader first meets the child so that the when the child says something that is beyond her age, the reader won’t be jolted into thinking, “kids don’t talk like that.” Readers will already know this one probably will.
We all know, as did Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby, that kids say the darndest things. The real challenge, for an author, is to come up with a gem or two for his child characters to say that are relevant and add something of importance to the story. What a child says often reflects what a child feels or believes. In a story about gay parenting, it’s important to try to understand the emotional state of the children in the story. It’s often difficult to regress into childhood and remember how we felt about certain things. If it was easy, not only would my job as author of this story be easier, the job of being a parent would probably be greatly improved as well.