It’s NaNoWriMo time and I’m writing…a kids’ book?

MatildaI really can’t believe it.

I mean, it makes sense. I’m a children’s photographer. I used to write kids’ textbooks. I taught school for five years.

But, gosh, I’m the purveyor of darkness–seamy literary-drenched tales of disaster and the black nature of humanity.

Maybe that’s what led to this sudden and complete reversal.

It happened on Day Three of NaNoWriMo (if you are unfamiliar, it’s the crazy race to write 50,000 words of a new novel between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30.) I’d been going along, writing a seriously heavy story about a group of frustrated art students trying to figure out how to make their work stand out. It was called, and yeah, it doesn’t get much darker, The Suicide School, because they were researching the connection between artists who killed themselves and the resulting success of their art.

I was only a couple thousand words in, and it was going well enough. But Friday night, the girls and I rented Matilda, based on the book by Roald Dahl (His Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of my absolute favorite stories.)

At the end of the movie, when Matilda finds a family who loves her, and no longer needs her telekinetic powers to exact revenge upon evil adults, I thought–this is what I want to do. I want to write something magical and fun and bright and with the most outrageously happy ending ever.

As I got the girls ready for bed, I knew exactly what I would write. A story about a girl who could grant wishes. I quickly searched on Amazon for how overused the idea is and didn’t find an overwhelming amount. One cute series for very young readers,  Little Genie  by Miranda Jones, is about kids who find a traditional genie in a lamp. Another very clever looking fantasy series by PB Kerr for older children, called Children of the Lamp, is about twin djinn who are fulfilling their destiny as more historically correct genies, not so much the Aladdin variety. Neither series worries me too much. Mine is very much a stand-alone book (although an idea for a series DID sort of pop into my head today…I’ll remain silent until I actually finish ONE) and written in a very different style.

It’s called Jinnie Wishmaker. She ten years old and the book is geared for the 9-12 set. So far it passes muster with Emily, but I’m not ready to put up excerpts or even talk too much about the plot. It’s too new, too tender, and I’m terrified about what I’ve done with my dark literary self!

But I’m happy, so I roll with it.

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