Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Guest Post: The Days of Storybook Weaver

Today's guest post comes from Megan Jones, a writer who contacted me recently because she was interested in having some of her work displayed as part of her new freelancing career. I couldn't say no because 1) I love helping writers when I can, and 2) her articles are excellently written and well researched. Enjoy! ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Storybook Weaver was one of the first computer programs that promoted writing as a fun endeavor which could be performed on a computer (which was high-tech at this time). The early 1990s featured a slew of new software and computer programs that were written for specific audiences. While Storybook Weaver was not for every child, many schools purchased the software in order to further engrain the importance of writing onto their students.

I think I have progressed a great deal in my writing abilities from my days of using Storybook Weaver years ago, though I attribute many of my childhood stories relating to witches and “Baba Yaga” back to this original computer program. This program allowed children to develop stories on their computer with illustrations at the same time, featuring hundreds of backgrounds, objects, and characters. The easy accessibility of placing the objects on the page, literally creating a children’s book, brought much of the appeal to kids, as most writing assignments did not allow you to illustrate books at the same time. For kids like me, who were not gifted in the way of artistic renderings, Storybook Weaver was perfect in allowing me to both write and illustrate a book at the same time.

While there has yet to be a Storybook Weaver for adults, most adults do not need the type of encouragement as kids do. If you want to be a writer now, you do not need any type of fancy technology, simply a laptop with Microsoft Word (or any similar program). Storybook Weaver has now become a bit of nostalgia for those of us who grew up with this type of program. With the recent Deluxe Version released in 2004, the user interface has been updated, and many more objects and categories have been added, including the Statue of Liberty and the White House. Through this revival of sorts that the program has undergone, it can now be attractive to a newer audience of children who desire more modern settings than the game originally contained. While there are still the original ancient and fantasy backgrounds and characters, more modern aspects have been included, such as shopping malls and entire cities. The new version additionally contains bilingual attributes, allowing users to write in either English or Spanish and directly translate words.

Storybook Weaver stands to represent a simple time in my early life as a writer, through which I could write about fairies, goblins, even hobbits, and manipulate the illustrations to represent anything I wanted. Many writers now focus on the more serious aspects of life, especially considering non-fiction has been found to sell more frequently now, but many of us should return to this carefree time in life where we believed in the tooth fairy, and strove to experience magical moments in life. Storybook Weaver simply helped us imagine a world in which we wanted to live, even aided us in incorporating ourselves into this mythical world we created.

This post was contributed by Megan Jones. She welcomes your feedback at Meg.Jones0310 at gmail.com

1 comment:

Betty Dravis said...

Hi, Megan,
I enjoyed hearing your take on Storybook Weaver. I never heard of it so it was quite interesting to me.
As Cheryl says, you do have a way with words. Keep up the great work. I started my career as a freelance columnist and feature writer for small local newspapers and ended up owning my own newspaper.
May you be blessed. Persistence is the name of this game.
Respectfully - Betty Dravis