Welcome, Jean Peterson

Sorry to see the Little Lamb authors go. I’ve enjoyed learning about Children’s literature all this week.


Story Layers by Jean Peterson 


When I open a children’s book and flip through its pages, and the story ensemble glimmers bits and pieces of the magic to unfold, I can hardly wait for the creative words and illustrations to spark my imagination. As the story reveals its layers upon layer, I always feel a sense of comfort wrapped in sheer elation as I begin the journey. For me it doesn’t matter if it’s children’s picture book or young adult novel, I am filled with joy as I turn the pages. As a writer I feel the deep ‘want’ within my creative self to craft stories with as much or more enjoyment and fulfillment,when the reader turns the pages of my books.  The story’s layers are where the true delight stems, is created and pulls at my heart.

I like to think of my writing style as a recipe for a tiered chocolate cake.  The message is layered deep within the cake, that’s the chocolate, then the characters are the base, and the mixture of the message, characters, and setting build the other tiers for the cake.  Sometime there’s elements that wrap themselves around the whole, like the frosting, sometimes there’s elements surprisingly snuck into the middle, like a delicious layer of raspberry jelly and sometimes the details are sprinkled across the top and piped decoratively around its edges. But the tip of its grandeur is at the top,as the tiers come together to present the ‘ah-ha’ moment of the message shared throughout the story’s recipe.  It can be a large or small top layer, but it’s what sets it beyond any other.  I like to envision the uppermost element as a beautifully colored confectioned flower adorning the tip-top with its blooming glory, delicately yet dedicated, to being set at its prominent position, all while highlighting the many other detailed layers.  The writing symbolism represents the full blooming of the story’s message to the reader as the pivotal point,and it coming to fruition through the story’s combination of layers and details.

Now, I’ll be quite honest, I have had failures of epic proportions, both writing and tackling chocolate tiered cakes,but it’s how I’ve learned to stand back and assess what’s missing and how to create another rendition. Maybe I needed a different voice in the story, or a dollop of mayo to keep the cake moist.  Possibly a better story line, character development and delivery method were needed,or the cake pans should have been lined with parchment paper rather than a quick non-stick spray. As some of my stories have crumbled, it has given me a wonderful opportunity to realign myself with what’s in my heart and build these layers into much stronger tiers.  My hope for the reader along the journey is for the end-product to fill them with as much joy, in all its layers, as I had in creating it, and undoubtedly a better quality,story or chocolate tiered cake, on a whole.




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