Hey readers,

So a couple of weeks ago, me and Michael "The Situation" Reisman (the guy who wrote the very cool Simon Bloom books), did a talk about writing for boys at Flintridge Bookstore.  It was a good time, and I know I promised that I'd tell you guys about we talked about, and that's still totally gonna happen, but in the meantime, I want to share some even better advice about writing for both boys AND girls that I found over at Pen and Ink

Supposedly, this column ran in a children's literature magazine back in the 50s, and goddamn if this isn't brilliant.  A big thanks to Lupe Fernandez for posting this. 

The link to the article on Pen and Ink is here, and for those of you who are too lazy to click over, I'm going to enable your sloth by posting the article right here:

"How To Write Books for Boys and Girls"

"Always portray the military, politicians and religious figures in a positive way. Remember, these responsible authority figures keep Americans safe against atheists, beatniks and Communists.

"The family in your story should consist of married parents. Divorce has no place in reading material of teens. Broken homes make them nervous and might put unnecessary worries in their heads about whether Mom and Dad are getting along. While many classic stories feature orphans, today’s modern family is more educated and healthy, and orphans are old fashioned characters.

"Dad should always work in an office or to a responsible job like a fireman or a policeman. Fathers should never be an unemployed loafer or a union organizer. Mothers should always be homemakers. Mother’s who work in offices set a bad example for impressionable girls.

"Boy characters should have healthy, manly hobbies like playing baseball, collecting bubble gum cards, and outdoor camping. Girls should like sewing, cooking and talking with other girls about like clothes and boys. Activities that keep boys inside like reading, writing or thinking are not suitable role models for young men. Those are girl activities. On the other hand, too much physical exercise by girl characters would be unrealistic and your reader would lose interest. If your story has a Tomboy, make sure she is not a major character. Make the Tomboy a supporting character who longs to act like a real girl.

"Dress your characters in appropriate clothing. Boys: short sleeve shirts (only puny boys who spend too much time reading in their rooms wear long sleeve shirts), loose, comfortable pants with pockets and Keds sneakers with tied laces.

"Girls: ankle-length skirts (absolute no pants), Mary Jane shoes (only girls with loose morals wear high heels unless attending special occasions like a funeral or a wedding), hair tied in a pony tail or neatly trimmed.

"Language is very important. As boys and girls are often not in control of their feelings, they make many exclamations of surprise.

"Appropriate phrases:
'Holy Moley!'

"Inappropriate phrases:
'Crazy man!'
'What a gasser!'

"Never show a boy and a girl holding hands unless accompanied by an adult or riding in a hay wagon with other boys and girls.

"Never have a girl romanced by a foreigner, especially greasers, scratch-backs, potatoes, pachucos, fruitpickers, or braceros.

"If your story is a crime mystery, make sure your youngsters deal with bunco artists, robbers, or counterfeiters. Never put your youngsters in peril with murderers or social deviants.

"Everybody likes a good ghost story, but stories with supernatural happenings should be confined to misunderstood blithe spirits, college fraternity pranks or escaped convicts in disguise.

"If you follow these tips, your story is sure to be a delight to boys and girls everywhere, and stand the test of time just like the classics you read as a youth.

"End your story with a good, hearty laugh at the dinner table. Perhaps, Skippy the family dog runs through the house chasing Fluffy, the neighbor’s cat.

"These are a few tips for a good writing and wholesome reading."


Pretty cool, eh?  I didn't understand quite a few of the words in there, and I still can't figure the connection between girls not wearing Mary Janes (whatever the hell those are) and being sluts, but still, that was an entertaining read. 

I'm gonna write about the stuff me and Michael talked about in my next blog, but just as a warning, none of our stuff is half this entertaining and only a quarter as sexist besides.  So, be sure to adjust your expectations accordingly. 
2/22/2010 05:24:15 am

I like racism, I feel all children should be little racists and NEVER get involved with anyone outside their race.

West Side Story was a great movie until that damn Maria fell in love with Tony, that horrible Puerto Rican trying to get in the mix with a white American? Give me a break...

Oh, and don't even BEGIN to get me started on BEE Movie, we all know that the worst sin in American History is becoming romantically involved with Bees...Jesus.

Way outta line, way outta line (Norm McDonald Voice)


2/22/2010 06:56:45 am

I've tried that ending before--the one where Skippy chases Fluffy around the dinner table--and it is pure comic gold.

And I'm totally working "Kookie!" into a future story.

*Leaves room to change into a short sleeve shirt.*

2/23/2010 08:16:19 am

Love u

2/23/2010 08:21:06 am

I would love to read a story about fruitpicker and kookie scratch-back holding hands in a hay wagon with no adults around.

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