Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!)
“Sally Lloyd-Jones does a brilliant job of distilling the principles of book writing into concepts accessible little ones ages four to eight years old—and making it hilariously fun. That’s no mean feat.”
How do you write a book? There are university courses on the topic, adult education, workshops, writers’ groups, and a host of other adult-targeted programs for aspiring authors. Sally Lloyd-Jones has taken the complex subject and distilled it into 40 pages to inspire young readers to become writers.
The advice is spot on. Start with an idea, write what you know, consider your target audience (a book for your grandmother about dump trucks may put her to sleep while a book about your life will delight her; a book about scary monsters is not a good bedtime story for babies) are just a few of the important tips.
Lloyd-Jones also walks her young audience through the mechanics of writing a book: find a place to write, gather the supplies you need (pencil, tablet of paper, crayons), plan the arc of your story (create an outline).
A double page spread gives examples of potential book titles, at the same time teaching little ones about book genres. For example, a book titled How to Take Your Penguin for a Walk is a how-to manual, Cleaning My Room is a tragedy, Spiders on the Ceiling is a horror story.
The elements of a good story are simply explained. Start with a hero who needs or wants something, provide obstacles he or she has to overcome to achieve that end, and then write the final outcome.
The book must open with something interesting to draw in the reader. Otherwise you’re at risk of winning “The Most Boring Book Ever” prize. Lloyd-Jones’s examples of good first sentences certainly are winners. “Praying mantises have six legs and mandibles and eat their husbands!” “A daddy had some children. One day he lost them.”
The author even gets into the nuts and bolts of cover illustration and putting an author’s bio and marketing blurbs on the back cover.
Finally she addresses the challenge of marketing and selling your book. Although the techniques Lloyd-Jones suggests are unlikely to lead to many sales, they are amusing and may trigger better ideas in the reader’s minds.
The illustrations by Neal Layton capture the rough-and-ready style of most child artists. They are amusing and accessible, well paired with Lloyd-Jones’s text.
In Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!), author Sally Lloyd-Jones does a brilliant job of distilling the principles of book writing into concepts accessible little ones ages four to eight years old—and making it hilariously fun. That’s no mean feat.