About Writing – For Sasha, Mia, Sammy & Parsa

Dear Sasha, Mia, Sammy and Parsa,

Your post is wonderful. While I have never written a cartoon book, your guidelines would help me. I do like cartooning and often draw cartoons for children when I help our school holiday playgroup. My favourite characters to draw are animal characters. Here is one of my oldest characters if you are interested...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Have you ever written a book? Tell us about it.

I have written some books but none have ever been published. The last story I had time to write was over 48,000 words and was entitled, "Samuel Samantha". It was about a boy called Samuel, although he prefers to be called, Sam. When his parents witness a crime, he has to pretend to be a girl in this story. He doesn't face any real danger but he finds some of his ideas about girls change. He realises a girl can also be a best friend. 🙂

What steps did I take?

Perhaps I am a little different in that I don’t write down ideas for a story first. I tend to develop the ideas in my imagination then start to write out the story. When I start typing, I can often write a few thousands words within a day. It’s as though I am seeing the story in my mind and type what I see.

Samuel Samantha was just like that. I wondered what would happen if a boy about eight had to pretend to be a girl. The first step was to decide why this would happen then what events would happen as he took on the role. As I like a story with some sort of message, the story had to end with Sam learning something.

No matter what I have written, the next steps take longest, even longer than the writing itself. I have to edit the story…

1. I check for spelling or punctuation errors. It’s so easy to make them when you are typing quickly.
2. I need to make sure characters are the same throughout the story. Imagine if a boy named John is a man in the next chapter even though only a day has passed.
3. I look for tense errors. If I am recalling a story from the past, it shouldn’t suddenly be the future.
4. I read and reread the story just in case there are errors in consistency of the storyline. I need to know each chapter follows on from the one before so the whole story makes sense.
5. I reread again. It’s strange but I am never completely happy with a story I’ve written.
6. Finally, I decide it’s time to stop. That can be as hard as all of the editing but a writer must stop at some time.

I’ve probably left some things out but I think you get the idea. My problem is, when I decided “Samuel Samantha” was done, I was sad because Sam and his friends had become important to me and I knew my adventure with them was over.


2 thoughts on “About Writing – For Sasha, Mia, Sammy & Parsa

  1. Ellie

    Dear Mr. Mannell,

    I cherish your post. I mostly love your cartoon drawing because it is the cutest. I am a writer and I am going to make a cartoon book with my family. I have a story for you:

    Once there was a little Rose. Her name was Roseta. She loved writing about humans. She once wrote a story called “Humans Attacking”. Her family was terrified, so they threw it away. Roseta was so sad she ran to her room and was crying. Then the book came alive they really were attacking. The people came alive, and the setting was the same as the book. Now Roseta was terrified, and she thought to her self and said “Only the true writer of the world can fix her problem”, so she told her family follow me they ran behind this unusual tree. It had pink bark and blue leaves. It was a special kind of tree you push this button and it undos everything. Her family was thankful they let her keep the story, but to promise to never make the book mad. The end.

    Did you like my story?



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