Bedtime Stories

So yesterday in the WIP I was writing a bedtime story.  The heroine has been through a trauma and asks the hero to tell her a story like he did when they were little.  It’s more to show something about their relationship and long history than about the story, but I got carried away.  I realized in the course of writing this little tale that I will never be able to spin off made up tales to my kids (when I have them).  Why?  Because I’m too well-trained in trying to sort out the details of what all the major plot points are and making sure they serve their purpose.  Yeah, I’m gonna be that parent.  This is another one of those consequences of being a writer.  I can also totally see myself educating my kids on plot points as they’re trying to make up their own stories.  :headdesk:

Goodnight Moon

I think I’ll stick to Goodnight Moon and Popcorn.

What about y’all?  Do those of you who have kids make up bedtime stories for them?  Do you find yourself trying to adhere to the proper rules of story craft or does anything go?

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17 thoughts on “Bedtime Stories

  1. Bedtime stories are the BEST. When I was little, my dad told me stories about Yellow Peach the rabbit and her adventures. (I had a plush rabbit named Yellow Peach because her fur was yellow and her nose was peach-colored.)

    By the time I have kids (if I ever do), I hope to have effective plot structure so ingrained in me that I don’t even have to TRY to adhere to the rules of storycraft at bedtime. It will just HAPPEN. (And then I’ll sit down at the computer to work on my latest book and stare at it blankly, thinking, “Herp derrrp how do I do this again?”)

  2. At least you will be able to “tell” stories to your kids. I had to make up songs to sing to mine at night. Do you have any idea how many stories I “sang” to my son with the tune to “Home on the Range”? Oh. My. Gosh! :)

    You might be surprised what pops out of your mouth to your kids when you have them. They say your life changes when you have kids and that is sooo true! But it’s a good change. ;)

  3. My kids like books. They rather we read them books than make up stories. It hurts my feelings a little bit. That’s why I’m thinking of writing a chapter book. So they have no choice but to read my story!

  4. i am lol-ing.. because I know what you mean about having to have “plot points.” My BF asks me to tell him stories all the time (on the drop of a hat)… I’m like, “WHAT? I have to do an outline first!”

  5. My kids have been grown long enough that I don’t remember exactly what I read to them at night. I do know they ended up memorizing most stories and could recite them as well as I could read them. LOL. Both of them started reading at a very early age, so they did a lot of their own reading later on.

  6. I think if I meandered off and tried to tell my own story I’d bore any kids to tears… I always thought I might not be very good at reading them aloud since I can’t do all the voices :-(

  7. I tell my wife bedtime stories from time to time. I usually throw in a few points of craft, but I don’t worry about it being a super awesome story that makes sense. It is an opportunity for us to bond over something I love, nothing more. I figure she will forgive my mistakes there anyway, the rest of the world might have a different story to share.

  8. My grandma is a naturally talented story teller. When I was little, I never wanted her to read me a book. I always wanted a story she made up because she managed to spin the best tales and they actually had good structure to them. I’m not nearly that skilled at improv.

  9. This post really got me thinking about how I struggle to tell a story. I mean, I can relate an event to a group of people, and usually get the reaction I’m going for. I can go on stage and perform comedy skits, (Yes, in case you’re wondering, I do that quite often.) even ad-libbing tons of dialog while reading the audience for my timing. But if I sit down and start thinking “once upon a time” I can’t keep track of what I’m doing.

    Maybe you’re right. When it comes down to creating a story, I simply must start WRITING.

    In conclusion… I suck at storytelling. Yet there was SOME value in my pathetic attempts for my children. One day my daughter reminded me of a fairy tale I stammered out to her when she was nine. She said, “Mom, if you don’t write that whole thing down before you die, I’ll never forgive you.” So, I completed my first novel, the beginning installment of a Y/A high fantasy trilogy.

    And we all lived happily ever after. THE END! :)

    Laura Ritchie

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