I’m delving deep into a new type of childrens writing and am loving it. I’m five stories into a historical fiction STEAM series. It’s a blast. What I’m realizing though is everything can’t be an art note. I’ve talked in the past about what makes a good illustration note, you can read more here.
So I created a few new note types that I’ve found to be incredibly helpful as I send out my new series. First let me say I use the exact same formatting that I use for an illustration note (italics, lighter font, brackets etc.). You can check out the above post if you want to see the full breakdown on that.
For the STEAM element of the story I’ve added a particular note focused on teachers and what kids can learn from the actual story. This is not in addition to the story but to be pitched in tandem to it.
I call it the [STEAM Opportunity: add explanation here].
If you’re story is talking about a fraction, say 1/3 of the characters life that’s a math opportunity. Or if it’s foggy out this would be a science opportunity. The trick here is to keep your book on topic with one theme. You wouldn’t want to throw in a bunch of random things. Pick a subject and stick with it.
For the historical element of the the story I went with a different kind of note entirely. I’m using these notes to focus on the history portion of the story.
I call it the [Optional Sidebar: add fun fact here] note.
These are facts relating to the history around your story. Things that are uniquely different from today that can’t be demonstrated in the art work (because then that would be an illustration note). For example, a unique date that relates to the story or a difference in what technology was available at the time.
Like always, remember that story comes first. You still have to tell it brilliantly otherwise your facts will fall flat. But you knew that already.
Finally, I’m adding in traditional back matter that can be included at the end of the text. Usually it revolves around the STEAM theme of the text and gives additional ways to experiment with the story and facts.
If you’re delving into the fun world of writing creative historical, biography, or STEAM I hope you’ll find these notes helpful.