Friday, 18 May 2012

Writer's nugget #4: Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's uniquely brilliant imagination knows know boundaries and happily dances in any genre or medium. He has written many children's stories. Coraline is perhaps my favourite. Others include The Graveyard Book for which he won the Carnegie Medal.
On his excellent blog he recently spoke about writing for children. You just need to scroll down a bit.
Oh! the places his imagination goes: Neil Gaiman
Here I also offer you Neil's advice on how to write. Enjoy!
1. Write.

2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

7. Laugh at your own jokes.

8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Goodbye Maurice Sendak

Sad news today.
Possibly the most influential writer and illustrator of children's picture books died today.

Seminal work from the brilliant Mr Sendak

Maurice Sendak, who was 83, will forever be remembered for his brilliant, groundbreaking Where The Wild Things Are.
I read it at primary school, probably at the age of five or six, so in about 1973 or 74 and I have never forgotten it. I felt from the start that this was a book about me and my imagination. I had no problem identifying with Max. I WAS Max. I'm sure every child who read it felt exactly the same.

Maurice Sendak and his creation

I was a child who stared out of the window a lot. I daydreamed a lot, spent much of my time scribbling stories and scratching pictures on paper with crayons and pencils.
And I see, from the New York Times's obituary, that Maurice Sendak was exactly the same as a young boy. And he never forgot what it was like to be a child with his head in the clouds.
Thank you, Maurice Sendak, brilliant daydreamer.