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  • Writer's pictureStacey Chiew

Creativity Knows No Age Limit

Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first - Matthew Jacobson

Mark T. Pinto, child author.

Never underestimate a child at any age. Kids have incredible imaginations, and there is no better way to unleash their inner creative genius than to encourage them to write stories of their own and get their words published.

Most parents enjoy reading bedtime stories to their children to help them develop early literacy skills and foster parent-child bonds. However, there is another way to inspire a lasting love of reading in them: Turning their thoughts into words.

All kids have stories to share; they are full of ideas. Writing not just help putting their grammar and reading skills into practice, they learn to organize their thoughts in a visual way before they write. In fact, they can learn a lot from carrying out these activities. For instance, one of the many benefits of writing is that the process helps build and maintain confidence in children.

With the help and encouragement of his parents, eleven-year-old Mark Tai Fatt Pinto started his publication company this year. He published his first book titled Who Stole The Cake, and was well received by reviewers. The 120-page book is available on Amazon and earned a five-star rating from its readers. It is the first book of the new and exciting series called The Neighbourhood Mysteries. Readers find Mark’s story humorous, sharp and witty.

Like many kids his age, Mark enjoys playing video games besides writing stories. He also likes cooking, camping and nature. Mark’s parents are New Yorkers of diverse cultures and backgrounds, where their grandparents and great grandparents have a long history in Jamaica, Trinidad, Netherlands and China. Because of this, Mark learns to value cultural diversity at a very young age. Currently, he lives with his parents and a sister in Florida.

1. Who inspired you to write your first book?

It was my dad’s idea for me to write a book for a home-school project since I enjoy reading a lot. I was not sure how to approach this project in the beginning because I was afraid I could not do it. With my parents’ support and guidance, I learned to enjoy the writing process. So I wrote, rewrote and refined the ideas of my story. It was not easy. Writing a book is a challenging experience. But seeing my book became a reality brought me so much joy.

2. How did you come up with the title for your book? Where did you get your information or ideas for your books?

One day, while I was playing with my toys, the idea came to me. I imagined my action heroes were having a surprise party and someone stole the cake before they could eat it. I thought it was a fun idea, so I decided to further develop my idea using my imagination to picture the setting and the characters. As I allowed my imagination to run free, it took me to a place outside my everyday reality. As time went by, my writing pace picked up and the story unfolded naturally week by week on the page the way it should be.

3. Can you give us some insights about writing your book?

I discovered that when writing a story, I need to rewrite many times to bring richness and depth to the story. There are things that I may think are funny or make sense but it may not be a good idea to the readers. For example, in one of my drafts, the detective was bald and all the kids laughed and made fun of him. My dad told me that some kids and adults are bald due to sickness; it may not be funny to them. So I changed my story to avoid hurting others’ feelings.

Mark and his sister.

4. How long did it take you to write a book? What was your writing process like?

The writing and editing took a couple of months to complete. But it took nearly a year to publish it because I needed to get the money to finance my book. My dad taught me ways to earn money to finance my project.

Now working on my second book in the series, I can tell you what that is like. Each time I have an idea, I use the dictation app on my phone to record the story. It is faster this way as I don’t have to worry about spelling. Every time I put my phone away and lie down on my bed, I would get another idea and I have to pick it back up again and repeat the process each time my creative juices flow. Whenever I lay down, I tell myself: oh this is an amazing book. The ideas will just flow naturally. So I usually get up several times to record my ideas.

Whenever my mom says I need to edit and rewrites my story, new ideas would just flow out of me. One important thing about writing a good book is, you have to know the plot. In a mystery book, I need to figure out who did it from the beginning of the writing process. I have to work from the end. You can’t continue your writing if you do not know the answer to the mystery.

5. Why did you create a publishing company? What was that journey like?

My dad helped me started the company. He explained to me that having a publishing company to publish my book would make my book look more professional. Besides publishing my own books under the same company, I can help my friends and others publish their books too.

We researched how to register a company; then bought ISBNs and get the right business name so others know what our company does. As I am the company’s biggest shareholder, I need to finance my company’s operating cost. I used my birthday and Christmas money and money from my reselling business to help start my company. I go to discount stores, garage sales or other places to purchase products and resell them on eBay to make some profit. My dad wanted me to learn the fundamentals of business.

6. What makes a good story?

Some people like scary books, while others prefer sad stories. But I like light, funny books and I do like mysteries. I always like a good chuckle; that is the reason why my story focuses on such a topic. There is humour and there is a light mystery. It’s not about a creepy basement and I think I saw a spider, it’s not like that. It’s more like we found a cake and it was red. That’s what I think makes a good book but there are people who might disagree with me. If you like a light, funny book with a good mystery, then you will love my book!

7. How being a writer has helped you as a person?

I don’t know. All I know is, it is fun to write a book. I’m popular I guess. I feel happy whenever I hear I got a sale. It’s so cool that kids are reading my book. Even people I don’t know are buying it. And now I feel like I can publish my second book faster because I know what steps to take. I know I am a writer now.

8. Your favourite authors? What do you want to do when you grow up?

I like Dan Gutman and Dav Pilkey. Those are my two main favourites. I want to open a restaurant, I think it would be fun to try acting too but I will continue to write for sure.

9. What is your current project?

Well, my current project is called The Mystery on Halloween Night. It is my second book from the Neighborhood Mysteries series. I know it sounds spooky but it’s not going to be. My books are not scary.

Published in Dreamic Educational Magazine 2020.

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