Oct 27, 2009

Writing for Children

At a conference I attended, Charley "Tremendous" Jones said, “If you want people to remember the point you’re making, tell them a story or show them a picture. They will remember the story and the point you’re making long after they have forgotten your name.”

Where I am not concerned with you remembering my name, I do hope you will remember the following points when writing for the younger readers.

Children can handle a lot more than we give them credit for, so don't be afraid to give your story plenty of bite.

Pack your story with action.

Just a thought


Word of mouth

If a child loves a story, they will tell anyone who will listen.
Think about it: mammy, daddy, brothers, sisters, friends, teachers, even strangers at the supermarket will get the low down of something that really captures a child's heart: what better publicity!

Capture the hearts of the little ones.

Just a thought

Character development

While it's vital to develop the characters in your story - it is equally important that they don't develop too soon!

Develop your characters with care

Just a thought

Reading age

We all like to think our little darlings are geniuses but the reality is - few actually are - therefore it's very important to get the reading age right!

Be realistic about reading age

Just a thought


Oct 22, 2009

Your Book Must Travel

The importance of being universal: your books must travel:

Although the first time I heard the above statement the agent speaking was referring to children’s books, it rings true for all categories of writing. I will admit that I wasn’t quite sure what she was referring to at first, but once she elaborated I realized it was another little nugget of information that made absolute sense once understood.

Bear with me while I reiterate as simple as possible for you.

On viewing the picture depicted above, the words that instantly popped into my head were “have words – will travel” and you know something, that’s pretty much what I am referring to here. It’s all fine writing your book and getting it published, but for your book to be truly successful it needs to appeal to the masses and be universal.

Put simply – if I as an Irish author wrote a story about Leprechauns for example, would a child in India know what I was talking about if the book were translated into their language? Not lightly. So we need to be careful not to bury our stories too deep in the peculiarities of any particular culture or nationality.

If on the other hand I write a story about dogs, cats, magic, make-believe, monsters, ghosts, or vampires, chances are pretty high that they will be understood by all nationalities – thus the story is universal and will travel.

The Cinderella type stories are universal. Harry Potter is the modern day example of books that appealed to the masses, and Twilight not only had wings it also appealed to a wide reading age.

Just a thought.


Oct 2, 2009

Allow beauty to speak for itself

Beauty speaks for itself.

Note the woman depicted here doesn’t need designer clothes, makeup, jewellery, or props of any sort to accentuate her beauty.

It would serve us well to remember that in our writing.

Never kill natural beauty with details.

Just a thought


Life Lesson From A Butterfly

Just a little something we all can learn from.

May the sun always stay shining in your world.

The Aran Jumper

The Aran jumper in this picture stands out a mile and poses endless possibilities. Why is she wearing it? What’s the relevance? Where did she get it? Was it a present? Is she wearing it for comfort? Is she just cold? Is there any relevance, and if not - should it be in the picture at all?

If you draw attention to something in your writing that stands out like the Aran cardigan, you had better have a reason why you have shown it to the reader.

Be careful what you draw attention to.

Just a thought


Hallucinating - or not?

This could work if you’re talking about hallucinations, or, is it planted there to make someone think they are hallucinating – don’t be afraid to play with props and think outside the box.

Make sure your props always be plausible.

Just a thought