Guest post by Mr. Roses
All good stories have a purpose. Before writing any story, a road map needs to be developed so that the story has a definite path it is trying to follow.
My name is Mr. Roses, I’m a children’s book author from New York who writes both advanced picture books and chapter books for early readers.
The first few books I wrote were advanced picture books wrapped around the purpose of teaching specific lessons on success to the reader. I began traveling to schools, reading my books, and teaching the students lessons such as figuring out one’s dream, setting goals, and persevering through problems and solutions.
Upon many requests from the students for a longer chapter book, I began writing a story about a boy and a girl. With that being the purpose of my story, I wrapped it around a world of skateboarding.
The main character of my story meets a girl, then suddenly ascends to fame. After getting caught up in the excitement of fame and losing the girl, he returns wiser and more educated on the important things in life.
The basic path that I try and follow when thinking about my stories includes:
1.) Purpose of the Story
2.) The Characters and the World they Live in
3.) The Characters’ Normal Day-to-Day Life
4.) Writing the Story
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The Creative Process of Mr. Roses ( Step-by-Step)
1.Purpose of the Story
As I mentioned before, the purpose of the story is the key focal point throughout the whole creative path that I am going to walk you through. The purpose of a good story will come to you through many different life experiences.
It could be anything that you witnessed, heard, read, or interacted with. It’s pretty much anything that motivated you, inspired you, or simply gave you a good idea to work off of.
For me, Napoleon Hill’s: ‘Law of Success’ inspired me to write my first advanced picture book series. I sought to teach these lessons that I’ve learnt to a younger age group. That was the purpose of my series and the lessons were what I wrote my stories around.
For this current chapter book that I’m writing, the 2002 Spiderman movie inspired me and helped me find the purpose of my new book. The opening scene of the movie starts with the line, “this, like any story worth telling, is all about a girl.” That’s where my idea to write about the relationship between a boy and girl came from.
Once you have decided on the purpose of your story, the next steps include figuring out your main character and the setting/world that you want the characters to live in.
2.The Characters and the World they Live in
When thinking about your characters, it’s important to think back to the purpose of your story. The purpose of your story could hold key components that dictate your story’s characters and what the world they live in looks like.
For example, the purpose of your story could be about the rise from poor to rich. In this case, you may want your main character to be homeless but have or develop a desire to better themselves.
You would then decide on what homelessness looks like for this story and develop a world for your character to live in around that. Next, you would decide what the wealthiness that your character is working towards looks like. This will bring focus onto how your character looks initially as well as at the end.
If the purpose of your story involves teaching about racial conflicts, that may also dictate how your characters look and the world they live in. For me, ethnicity doesn’t play much of a role, as I don’t like to write about racial disputes. However, I do switch the ethnicity of my characters in each story to try and be inclusive to all.
If the purpose of your story doesn’t affect the setting, then the setting could be random. I use areas that I’m familiar with such as cities, beaches and woods. Although, with enough research you can design worlds based on anything you see online or from any other resource even if it’s a place you have no experience with.
In summary, as long as the purpose of your story doesn’t play a role in how your characters look and where they live, that could all be random.
3.The Characters Normal Day-to-Day Life
Next, you want to decide on what their day-to-day life in the world looks like. This will bring focus into the scenes and the amount of characters that will be needed to tell your story. It will also start the development of each character’s personality.
For example, if your story takes place in high school, you may want the day-to-day life to be about a boy or a girl experiencing high school. You may want your main character to have a few friends or to be a loner.
You may also want some scenes to be at home, so you have to think about what that character’s home looks like. Other scenes could be inside the lunchroom or at the movies. These are all ideas of scenes that you can place the characters in as you move towards the purpose of your story.
Based on the purpose of your story, you may want to introduce a bully, a teacher, or a crush. Depending on what role in the story you decide each character should play, you can start molding the general personality traits that they should have. You also should include some hobbies, interests, and styles each character has to help identify with that character and build off of later in your story.
Now once you have decided on the purpose, characters and setting of your story, you can begin writing your first draft. Keep in mind that the first draft will be a mess whether you’re writing one chapter or the whole story. The main goal is to get your ideas on paper so that you can begin cleaning them up.
4.Writing your Story
For me, writing the story is always a journey. Once I know my purpose, characters, the world they live in, and their day-to-day life, the scenes come from either random ideas or my own life experiences.
While building the scenes that your characters are experiencing, you must ensure that they are leading towards realizing the purpose of your story.
All the core scenes of your story should be laid out loosely. For example, my new chapter book’s core scenes were:
1.) Intro to my characters
2.) Intro to their world
3.) Meeting the girl
4.) Becoming famous
5.) Having problems with the girl due to the new fame
6.) Main character messing up and losing the girl
7.) Main character learning a lesson
8.) Main character getting back together with the girl
As you begin expanding on each core scene, you will create a few miniature scenes leading up to the point of each core scene. The mini-scenes can be random as long as they lead to the core scenes, which follow the path towards the purpose of your story. Mini scenes could be short or they could be whole chapters. They are your story’s body that is built off the skeleton of core scenes.
For example, in my “becoming famous” core scene above, I needed to decide how my main character would become famous. So I thought it would be a good idea if he would win a race, get contacted by a skateboard agent and then the agent would make him famous.
Now, it’s the job of the author to decide how they want to articulate each scene. This could be done through narration or dialogue between characters.
When writing a scene, you should describe the environment. It’s important to paint the imagery of the scene in the reader’s mind.
This could include things such as the setting, the time, the year, the weather, what the characters are wearing, how they feel, what they’re doing, etc. You also may not need to describe too much in your writing depending on what type of book you are writing, for example, a picture book versus a chapter book.
The personalities of each character are built off their responses to different events or conversations and what they’re doing in each scene.
For me, all my characters have personalities that combine aspects of my own personality and those of my friends and family. Occasionally I add in traits of random people I encounter as well as other fictional characters that I have read about in a book, watched on T.V. or seen in a movie.
There are many styles of writing and writing genres that help keep the reader interested in your story. Some examples include mystery, suspense, tragedy, drama, and sci-fi.
It’s also a good idea to add some conflict or comedy into your writing. Writing great stories simply comes down to entertaining the reader with interesting writing, exciting scenes, and a satisfying ending.
Just remember, storytelling is supposed to be fun. When the frustrations of writing set in, take a break, walk away from your story and recharge your battery. Then return to your story with clear eyes and keep on trucking away!
– Mr. Roses
What do you think about the creative process of Mr. Roses? What is your creative process? Share your thoughts in the comment.
John V. Roselli (Mr. Roses), is a 27-year-old from New York. His passion for education and helping others has inspired his efforts and the creation of Mr. Roses. John attended Manhattan College where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and currently works in the management of major construction sites. He has written a children’s book series that teaches critical lessons on success. John continues to support students from the local New York area as well as New Jersey and Connecticut by doing school visits and presentations in public areas. You can learn more about Mr. Roses on his website HouseOfRoses.org.