I love telling stories of all kinds. I especially love telling stories to my nine-year-old son. So when he asked me to write a book with him for children about children after Leaving Lukens was released, the wheels started turning. He helped me come up with traits for each character, developing each person's background, habits, reasons for acting, likes, fears, etc., until each character seems real enough to touch and talk to like a real child. I expected my son could have fun developing the storyline with me as we went along.
What I didn't expect was that these well-developed characters would "talk" so soon to me. They each have peculiarities we didn't plan, and yet they are as natural as a next door neighbor's kid can be. Putting enough twists and turns into a plot to keep the story interesting (without being too gimmicky) is fun for my son, too -- he's learning not to be too obvious so the clues can unfold one at a time.
I applaud his desire to help with the story, though I wonder if what I'm teaching him will come back to haunt me later when he's making up an alibi for staying out too late one night. I guess we all get to learn it somehow.