04 Dec

The Gingerbread Man’s Top 5 Writing Tips

Happy Holidays

Just got an e-newsletter from the North Pole and Santa passed along these writing tips from the Gingerbread Man, posted for the young-at-heart who are writing novels this year.

Back by popular demand is my series on writing tips from popular Christmas figures. First published in 2007, they are updated here for your Christmas cheer.

Santa Claus’s Top 5 Writing Tips
12 Days of Christmas Writing Tips (live on 12/3)
The Gingerbread Man’s Top 5 Writing Tips (live on 12/4)
Frosty the Snowman’s Top 6 Writing Tips (live on 12/5)
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer’s Top 5 Writing Tips (live on 12/6)

The Gingerbread Man’s Top 5 Writing Tips

Top 5 Writing Tips from the Gingerbread Man

Image by Michael Bentley


Based on the folktale about this popular Christmas pastry that comes to life, the Gingerbread Man gives his writing tips.

  1. Event Repeat. The story of the Gingerbread Man uses an event-repeat type plot. An event is repeated several times, with only a minor change. When the Gingerbread Man escapes and runs away, he meets several people who want to eat him. Each character is added to the parade as the Gingerbread Man runs away, until the Fox outsmarts him at the last.
  2. Chorus. Using a Chorus is effective in short stories and picturebooks.
    Repetition of this chorus make the story fun and invites the audience to join in.
    “Run, Run, Fast as you can, you can’t beat me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.”
  3. Changing Setting. Especially for the picturebook format, it’s important to keep the setting interesting, so the illustrations are exciting. By sending the Gingerbread Man across the landscape, the illustrations have visually exciting possibilities.

  4. Darcy’s Best Writing Advice: Fiction Notes Books


  5. Folktale Mode. This story is in the folktale mode, which treats characters as a general type. For example, the ugly stepsisters in Cinderella, have a role as mean, ugly stepsisters, and not much more. When Gingy is added to the Shrek movies, though, his character is made more interesting by giving him individual characteristics. Decide if your story needs a general, folktale type character or a more individual character.
  6. Folktale Morals. Folktales and fables often add a moral at the end of a story. Of course, the Gingerbread Man should not have trusted the Fox! It’s seldom that picture books and stories today have such an explicit, straight forward moral. Instead, it’s usually implied and the reader is left to verbalize it for him or herself.

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