Writing FictionWriting fiction can be a wonderful creative outlet. This is true for creative children as well as creative adults, and it’s especially true of the verbally gifted, who love words and love to play with them. Creative writing makes much use of figurative language, which is one way to play with words and ideas. It’s not that other forms of writing don’t use figurative language, but it’s a major part of expression and description in creative writing.

If your child is a budding author, provide her with the information and tools she needs. What makes a poem, a poem, for instance? What is the difference between a short and a novella or a novella and a novel? What are the challenges in writing a novel? How does a writer manage all their ideas and their work load?

Poetry Writing

What exactly is poetry? A definition of poetry is very difficult to pin down since it is such an individual form of expression. We recognize a poem when we see one, but it’s hard to define (like gifted kids!) Mark Flanagan offers this explanation of poetry: “Poetry is the chiseled marble of language; it’s a paint-spattered canvas – but the poet uses words instead of paint, and the canvas is you.” That explanation itself is rather poetic, and like most definitions doesn’t give you much to go on. You can find a brief definition of poetry, but it will just mention a few elements of poetry, such as musicality, word choice, and form. A lengthier description of poetry, might be more helpful – but don’t expect a definitive definition.

Perhaps what’s important is to understand is that poetry is personal, rhythmic, and emotive. Some children, especially younger ones, may think that a poem has to have a specific form and has to rhyme. But that’s not true. It often has a free form with no rhyming.

A great poetry book for kids is The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury by Jack Prelutsky. It has a variety of poems, some with rhyme and some without. Prelutsky has another book, Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem, in which he gives advice to kids ages 8 – 12 on the process of writing poetry. I don’t mean advice on rhythm, meter, and the like, but advice on how to come up with ideas for poems and how to manage and expand on those ideas.

Short Story Writing

The best way to understand what a short story is, is to understand its parts. The parts of a short story include point of view, setting, conflict, and climax. And of course we can’t forget about the plot and characters! The plot is the story line. It is what happens from beginning to end and the characters are those who participate in the events in the plot. But what makes a story a good story? It can’t just be a purposeless series of events. A story must have some kind of “tension.” The tension is what we get from the rising action in the story.

One thing we need in fiction writing, particularly in short stories and novels is dialogue. Writing dialogue is a real art. Without dialogue the characters can’t come to life. And without good dialogue, the characters can appear one-dimensional and unrealistic. Dialogue is also one of the ways that a writer can develop a character

Writing Novels

Sometimes an idea for a short story is really better suited to a full fledged novel!Young beginning writers, though, might be really need to write a novella rather than a novel. Basically, a novella is just a story that is longer than a short story, but not long enough to be a novel. In any case, some stories just cry out to be longer than a novel. How can you or your child know? There are seven signs that tell you the short story wants to be a novel.

One of the difficulties in writing something longer than a short story is trying to control all the story elements — the plot twists and turns, the characters, as well as what the characters said to one another and what happens in each chapter. This task can be made easier with software designed to help manage all these tasks. If you aren’t sure where to find such software or what a good program is, check  out the reviews of three writing programs for kids by Dr. Patricia Fioriello.  These programs range in price from $29.95 to $69.98.

For kids who don’t need any guidance on writing, Bookemon is a great option. Kids can create their very own book online. They can use clip art or upload their own pictures. Books of various sizes and designs are easily created – all for free. A link to the book is available, too, so kids can share their creations with others. The best part, though, is that for a small fee, Bookemon will create a hard copy of the book and send it to the writer – or to anyone the writer would like to give a hard copy. (These can make wonderful gifts!)


These various options are wonderful for nurturing those children who enjoy creative writing. They are also great for reluctant writers. Sometimes kids feel overwhelmed and don’t want to bother with all the “work.” Sometimes kids have no faith in their own creative abilities. Whether your child is an eager writer or a more reluctant one, these tips and tools can encourage them to be creative.

Carol BainbridgeActivitiesNurturing Gifts and TalentsCreative Writing,Creativity
Writing fiction can be a wonderful creative outlet. This is true for creative children as well as creative adults, and it's especially true of the verbally gifted, who love words and love to play with them. Creative writing makes much use of figurative language, which is one way to...