Dreams Happen with Good Story Structure

In my travels to Spokane, WA this past weekend, I had the opportunity to co-author and co-illustrate (although my role was minimal) a cool children’s book titled “Emily’s Dream.” The most amazing thing was working with an author/illustrator who understood story, something few professionals seem to grasp.

The 16-page children’s book will not be sold in any bookstore, because my co-author is only in second grade and just wanted to create a book for her mom and dad. I counted it a privilege to participate in creating the book for such an important audience and I even got to staple it together.

Emily's DreamIt all started after breakfast when Gracie shared a story that she wanted to make into a book. She then paused to ask if I too had ideas for the story. Since I was amazed at how structurally sound her story was, I merely asked her a couple questions to determine if she knew how to tell stories or was just lucky.

Her answers suggested that she had told many stories in the past and intuitively understood how to use an inciting incident, a turning point or plot twist, the dark night of the soul when all seems lost, and how to resolve her story in a positive uplifting manner.

She also understood the importance of the main character being proactive and not passive. And, she understood how to set up the emotional throughline of the story with obstacles the protagonist had to overcome.

Yes, I’m talking about a seven year-old. Here is the unedited story with a few of the pictures:

Emily’s Dream by Gracie

Emily dreamed about being a horse trainer.

One day she learned about a training class for new trainers. The cost was more than she could afford so she decided to earn the $400 she needed to learn how to be trained.

Emily's DreamShe set up a car wash and had a lot of people drive up, but her little daughter Mariah knocked over the bucket of soap water. Emily then tried to bake several cakes for a contest. The winner would receive $500. Unfortunately, Mariah poured all of the flour onto herself and the floor. She looked like a ghost.

Emily was sad because she was no longer able to raise $400 in time to be trained.

Emily's DreamEmily decided to make the best of the situation and took a picture of Mariah looking like a ghost. She shared the picture with friends on Facebook, who shared it with their friends.

The next day Emily got a phone call and learned that someone entered her ghost picture in a Halloween costume competition and won $400. Emily was thrilled and paid the fee to be trained.

Emily's DreamThe next day Emily learned how to train horses and had fun doing it. That night Emily listened to Mariah’s dream about racing horses. Emily told Mariah to hold onto her dream because it just might happen.

The final book stirred her parents’ hearts. She loved watching her parents’ genuine response to her incredible story. Her mom later explained how many times Gracie wrote books each month and I surmised that this little princess would be published before she graduated from high school.

But for now, she’ll have to continue learning more words and how to use them to spark the reader’s interests – Although her vocabulary is already bigger than I expected. I’ll look forward to promoting her first published book in the not too distant future.

Gracie, hold onto your dream of making books because it just might happen!

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