The Secret of writing kidlit – America’s master storyteller speaks

Forty or so years ago, Jean Shepard spake the secret — but not everyone has heard yet.

Jean Shepard is best known for narrating A Christmas Story which was based on his own tales of growing up. He was a radio storyteller who would just start talking and wander off-topic and around his elbow and maybe have a minute left to make his point.  If you were willing to take all of his crazy stories and call them a novel, then you’d have The Great American Novel.

So, while running  today, I was listening to a show he did about the Yellow Brick Road. Not exclusively about Oz, but he did talk a little about the books – which apparently he loved as a kid. (Apparently, he hated the movie, which he accused of softening the impact of the story.)

Here’s what he had to say:

I think the reason the Oz stories made it with kids who read them … was because Frank L. Baum, who is the guy who wrote these things, dealt with real life. But he dealt with it in a fantastical form. In other words, he fantasized upon the real life things that we all know.

Wow, so it’s not just write what you know. It’s write what we ALL know

Does it work? In addition to Oz, please see Harry Potter.


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