Sunday, 26 April 2009

The Beautiful Books

Whatever happens ebooks will not cause books to disappear. A beautiful book cannot be replaced by a virtual book because we will not want to lose the pleasure of holding a beautiful book in our hands. Marion Bataille's ABC3D proves the point perfectly - I can enjoy watching someone else look through this beautiful book but I shall have to buy my own copy.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Inspiration - Where does it come from?

David Lynch talks about where ideas come from. He likens it to fishing. The intention to write a story is like dangling the bait in the water. Sooner or later a little fish - a tiny idea - comes along and takes a bite. You write down that little idea and it pulls in a bigger idea and so on. I like this analogy. Right now I'm wandering along the riverbank trying to decide on a good place to sling my hook.
Another place where we can find inspiration is in all the stories we've ever heard or read or seen in our lives - like this seven-year old writer creating a new version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf and making something unique and wonderful out of it.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Young Writers 1: - Tristan's comics

A couple of months ago I discovered that Tristan writes and draws a comic series called Matrix.
I had just finished taking the register and the class were reading quietly, when I noticed Tristan and Sam shuffling through what I took to be piles of paper. I went over to see if I could suggest a good book and realised that I was interrupting an editorial meeting.

"Did you write these?"
"And draw them?"
"All of them?!"

One of the hard things about being a writer is making the commitment to do it. You can have a good idea and you can make a start and that is interesting and sometimes even exciting, but to keep at it and develop it takes effort. And Tristan has put an amazing amount of effort into his comics. They are brilliant.

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Last Day of the Holiday

Another day of rain and I went to the British Museum this afternoon.
Margaret came with me and took this photo for me. I was feeling weary and the museum was stuffy and crowded so when I saw the giant Lewis chess piece I thought I know how you feel matey!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Great Missenden in the Rain... a fine thing because you can duck into the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre!
I had a wonderful time today. It was good to see old friends and to meet some new ones too. So, Hello to Sarah Mooney the current Storyteller in Residence and Hello to the young writers and story lovers who came to my workshops - Tia and Indiana, Samuel, Tom and Amy, Louis and all the rest of you - thanks for coming and for sharing your ideas and your brilliant imaginations.

I told Tia that I would give a link to the website where you can print off some more of Fabio Sirna's lovely paper bookmarks. So, here it is Bookmarks

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre

I am off to Buckinghamshire tomorrow, to the village of Great Missenden home of The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. I am going to do a couple of workshops for budding writers so if you are planning a visit it will be good to see you.
I have not been for ages and I'm really looking forward to it. I was writer in residence at the museum when it first opened and I had a brilliant time there. Yes, those are two giant chocolate doors that I am standing next to and they smell delicious!

*Top Tips for budding writers
Thursday 16 April
1.30pm to 2.30pm and 3pm to 4pm
For 8+ year olds: Val Rutt, author of The Mystery of the Darkstone, shares extracts from her current work in progress about squabbling siblings Ed and Marie. Grab the chance to ask a published author anything you ever wanted to know about being a writer. Look out for Val's new book Out of the Blue, a story set in World War II for 13+ year olds, out in April.
£3 per person. (plus admission price)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Out of the Blue - book launch

It will be good to see you if you would like to come.

(click on image to enlarge and make legible!)

Please RSVP to reserve a place.



Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Out of the Blue

I began writing this story when I was Writer in Residence at the wonderful Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. In the mornings and evenings I used to walk in the woods around Great Missenden and daydream and ponder the plot. In the museum I watched the film sequence about Roald Dahl's World War Two RAF flying experiences. As it is shown on a giant screen, seeing the Spitfire in flight was particularly evocative and thrilling.
Out of the Blue will be in the shops on 24th April it's about an English girl and an American pilot who meet and fall in love during World War Two. I hope that you like it.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

My, how you've grown!

I've been teaching for a while, so the Year 6 pupils from my first classes are now adults in their twenties. A person's appearance can change a lot in the ten years between being 11 and being 21 and when I run into past pupils, as I sometimes do, I don't always recognize them at first. Sometimes I don't really recognize them at all - I just have this vague I'm sure I know you feeling for a person who I can't put a name to. Then, if I do recognize them all of a sudden, I'm embarrassed to say that what comes out of my mouth is the same old nonsense that older people used to say to me when I was growing up. All that 'goodness - just look at you' kind of stuff. So I'm writing this now to apologize to anyone who has experienced this kind of thing. But, you should know that it just can't be helped - it just pops out of the mouth before the brain recovers from the happy shock of connecting that four-foot freckly boy with a grin to the six-foot bearded guy with a grin.
It's always good to see you.