Friday, 21 November 2008

Yet more change or is it fine tuning?

With Agent Victoria flagging historical fiction and children's writing, I just wonder whether there is space to combine them? Would an historical novel aimed at 9-11 be helpful to them in their encounters with history? Elizabethan England I have studied in some depth in my Humanities Degree and so it could be a good subject. I will research further.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


I keep vacillating over the direction I should follow. One pointer might be to identify strengths. One is that I seem to be able to create identifiable old people; but another is that I can create rather unpleasant secondary characters. My slight concern is whether I can place these in a children's story?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Grandpa and Anthony

Possibly for a picture book or a read aloud book, there is the story of the boy and his two toy plastic motorbike men, Grandpa and Anthony. These two get up to all manner of adventure, but the boy is not at all sure whether or not they are actually alive. Hints are left and he wonders. His mother is certain that they are only toys, but she is a single mum who is far too busy looking after him and his grandpa, the old gentleman. As to the old gentleman, he is quite distant and it may well be that he knows more that he lets on.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

More about William, Doris

There is something deeply empathetic about the relationship of young and old. Doris is a former teacher who maintains a keen interest in the school and helps with literacy. Her short term memory is starting to go and William, whom she helped with his reading, now in year six takes it upon himself to help her. They discover that they have in common imagined friends who were their companions when they were aged 6 or 7. Could it possibly be that these companions are real?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The course so far

As an aside to the William preparation, I wanted to reflect on where we have got to so far.
The first week represented for me a first serious attempt to grasp the ideas of story and plot; this will continue and deepen next week and until Christmas.
The work on rhetoric is enabling me to organise my thoughts on paper much more effectively. It is learning through one's mistakes! The history of language leading into sentence structure and word roots and selection is a whole new world and fascinating, but also useful as writing becomes more of a conscious process. The usefulness of the work on grammar and punctuation is evidence of an ill spent childhood.
The work on differentiating kernel and satellite events helps the process of story. The analysis of fairytale will, I suspect, link into myth. The exercise in genre is valuable in exploring the range of one's voice. Work on pov is yet another discipline to tighten up our writing.
The sessions on business writing and script writing were illuminating but that on children's writing offered another valuable angle to the discipline of writing.

William has changed

The experience of five weeks or so on the Professional Writing MA has inevitably had an affect. This has shown itself in the probable death of the old William and the possible creation of a new character in a book aimed at the 9-11 market.
William is in his final year at primary school. He is bright and, like so many, is not finding himself stretched, and this gives scope for other things. A new girl arrived at school this term and William has noticed how she appears each day at school: tired (you can see grey bags under her eyes), her teeth are dreadful and clothes seldom changed or clean. She is funny though and there seems to be an empathy between her and William - nothing more. A very strange argument is raging among the other children. Someone has brought into school a life size stuffed doll and have asked the children to write stories about him. The awkward aspect of this is that some of the younger ones have come to believe that he is real; that he has a story of things that actually happened. This is perhaps just kids letting their imagination wander, but there is a danger which William and can see all too clearly. The manikin looks like a man of about forty. What if some of the younger ones begin to feel safe with such a person. What about pedophiles? His new friend argues forceably that this is healthy and not all men have to be so labelled.
The book will seek to explore this delicate area offering readers sound guidance but at the same time supporting realistic thought combined with vivid imagination.