I would like to sincerely thank Steve and Dani for giving me the opportunity to share my experience writing Sade: We’re Moving to Canada! on this blog, and to provide a free copy of the book to the Writing Academy community.
I have been writing on and off since I was a kid. I describe my writing style as part outliner, part winger, part frenzied, easily-distracted writer. After starting multiple books and getting stuck in the middle unsure of where to take the narrative, I did some research and signed up for Steve’s ‘Write Fiction Like a Pro’ class.
I immediately took to the 3-act structure because of its strong emphasis on first defining the story–the protagonist’s emotional journey. From Steve’s class I learnt the importance of letting the story undergird the book so that every plot decision is made in order to advance the story. This really helped to focus and tighten my writing.
As I learnt the 3-act structure, I wondered if it would work for a picture book, so I gave it a whirl. Being first-generation Canadian, I wanted to write a book about the immigrant experience from a child’s perspective.
I started with this premise: What if a 7-year old child has to move to a new country and must overcome her insecurity to accept the change?
From there, I applied the 3-Act structure. The result wasn’t fancy, but it provided a solid beginning, middle, and end.
Hook: Sade’s parents announce that they are moving to Canada.
Backstory: Her family gathers together and have different reactions to the news.
Trigger: Sade’s best friend is sad when she hears the news; her teacher also informs her that she will have to leave her chickens behind.
Crisis: Sade is unhappy about the impending move.
Struggle: Sade makes three attempts to foil the family’s plans but each one fails.
Epiphany: Sade’s mum helps her realize that she is sad about the move because she’s afraid of change.
Plan: Sade and mum decide to make a list of good things about moving to Canada.
Climax: Sade has a good dream about moving to Canada.
Ending: She decides that moving won’t be so bad after all.
With this structure in place, the writing went fairly quickly. I had a first draft in a couple of hours and then spent about 3 weeks working with two editors to fine-tune the content. Since I was self-publishing and had the good fortune of hiring a lightning-fast illustrator, the timeline from the first draft to final, print-ready version for Sade was a mere four months.
Sade: We’re Moving to Canada!
Sade receives news that her family is moving from Nigeria to Canada. Everyone is excited, except Sade. She is upset about leaving her best friend, missing her favorite TV show, not getting to harvest her guavas, and not being able to collect fresh eggs from the family chickens. Sade decides to ruin her family’s plans. Will she succeed? Or will she come to accept that change is a part of life?
You can connect with Yewande on her website: www.ydaniel-ayoade.com
Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yewandebooks
Yewande Daniel-Ayoade writes boring corporate communications by day and sleeps by night. In between, she writes humorous children’s books with precocious lead characters. Born and raised in Nigeria, Yewande emigrated to North America in 2003 and currently lives in Calgary, Alberta. She has a Bachelors degree in Economics and a Masters in Business Administration.
Her second book, ‘What’s the Worst That Could Happen?’ will be released on February 2, 2020.