On Writing for Comfort (And Why It Matters)


I just wrapped up another installment for a really fun-to-me project. The story is for a younger audience and I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Part of the reason why I loved this process so much, is because I enjoy worldbuilding to create that sense of wonder and whimsy. The stakes aren’t life or death, either, which is a big change and a welcome relief from the “Oh gods, oh gods, we’re all going to die!” stories and games I often pen.

Why do comfort stories matter? Stories written for comfort create safe emotional spaces. These are places our minds and hearts can go to rest from whatever is happening in our corner of the world. I strongly believe these books are not just for children. We all need a reprieve from time to time and reading a comfort story can be an act of self-care. Comfort stories can take different shapes, too, and aren’t always about obstacles that need to be overcome with violence. Those obstacles can be puzzles or misunderstandings that need to be worked out instead of a solution that can only be resolved by grabbing the biggest hammer you can find.

Some of my favorite comfort authors include Terry Pratchett, for his biting wit and commentary embedded in a gentle narrative style even when the fate of the universe is at stake, and Diana Wynne Jones who wrote several books including Howl’s Moving Castle which was adapted to a full-length animated film and produced by Studio Ghibli. Many comfort stories offer kids the ability to see themselves as the heroes in fantastic or everyday environments. Children’s books are so important in any timeline, in a world fraught with uncertainty and meanness they gift kids with the one thing we all need from time to time: hope.

What about you? Do you have any comfort stories you like to read? Any authors you’d like to recommend? Please share!

Monica Valentinelli >

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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