Writers invest their stories with their own beliefs, ethics and angst. And
this is especially the case for children’s writers. That is one of the best things
that I like about writing for children: I can delve into how I feel about
different topics and spill them out onto the page.
Writers live in their imagination, trying to understand the moral choices of
their characters, trying to reveal ‘truths’ as they understand them in the
action of their stories, and suffering with them as they experience emotions.
At the same time, writers must try to establish their own lives in the real
world. This requires an amazing mental juggling process.
Morals are messy, often relative, and often difficult. One right or
responsibility that is paramount for one person may impinge on another
person. As a writer, we all need to try and decide what is important to you
and especially to your readers. This requires an attention to detail and
sometimes even requires that children’s writers listen to children and their
The stories that we write can sometimes expose our deeply held beliefs
and values. If a writer values independence or obedience, looking good or
being athletic, that will show in your writing. The way you think about
children, your admiration for them or lack of it, your respect for them or lack
of it, will show in your writing. When writers write, they strip their pretenses
and protective social mechanisms from their personality and expose their
beliefs and values to the reader.
Writers continually try to understand what is good and what is evil, what
is right and wrong, what is important and vital in the world. Writers try to
write as close to their personal beliefs as possible. They wrestle with the
meaning of life, search for truth, and try to reveal these in their stories. What
they say to their readers depends on what interests them about the world
and about kids in general.
Insofar as your writing reflects your beliefs about what children need, you
will feel like you’re a morally responsible writer. So, your ethics depend on
what you think is important in children’s lives and what you value in
yourself. Different writers have different values.
What are some of your values? I look forward to hearing from you.