Earlier this month I ran across Grinning Skull Press. I was looking for open submissions and they were one of the many that I was interested in submitting something to. Then I saw they were taking submissions from children ages 5 to 12 for a horror anthology for kids, written by kids. Woah! I instantly turned into that dad that wanted to live his life through his kid (who am I kidding...I fight the urge often). The jock's dad in The Breakfast Club comes to mind. It was time to make my youngest child a published author at the ridiculously young age of 9. I emailed Grinning Skull and asked about the limits on helping the little minion write. I assumed I would be helping with some grammar and punctuation and even some light sentence structure but keep the rest intact with a 9-year-old's flavor all up in it. That's pretty much what they emailed back to me. It was on!
I asked my son if he'd be interested and he was--a little apprehensive and a little unsure of himself but he agreed. A day or two went by and the little guy and I headed to the office. It was time to write this masterpiece of his. I just knew it was going to be his little swan song. We pulled up some comfy office chairs, cracked our knuckles, and began to create. I transcribe for a living and type 90+ words per minute, so I figured I'd just let him babble while I typed...and typed....and typed.
What began as a horror story about a zombie squirrel turned into this detailed day of calling Grandpa, making fishing plans, waiting on Grandpa, then heading to Grandpa's for some lunch before fishing time. Not exactly horror. I wrote everything word for word including every "and then, and then, and then". When he finally breathed, we were sitting at Just over 1,000 words....made up of about eight run-on sentences. We would fix that later. I told him he should sleep on it for a day or two and we would come back to it.
(Fishing for geese or zombie squirrels?)
Some quick history on the origin of my son's story. A few years ago we had a squirrel in our yard that very much resembled the "monkey rat" from the movie Dead Alive. Apparently it traumatized my son, because when I asked him if he'd like to be involved in submitting a story for possible consideration, he already had his "zombie squirrel" concept brewing based on said squirrel.
(Actual squirrel from our yard)
A day or two went by and we opened up his epic zombie-squirrel-fishing-with-Grandpa story. I read it out loud to him. After about 300 words, he turned his head away and shook it in shame. His hands over his ears told me he had heard enough, but I finished the remainder of the grueling 1,000+ words. We talked about it swaying too far from his original concept. He told me he wanted nothing at all to do with that draft and to trash it. We opened a shiny new document, typed the tentative title at the top (Zombie Squirrel) and started from scratch. Between his play time and my work, we've had little time to work much on it, so he is now experiencing his first episode of deadline anxiety, though I must admit I'm much more worried about it than he is. Off to write...well, transcribe!