Dreaming up ideas for children’s books

The theory goes that everybody has a novel or book in them somewhere. But to label yourself an author, you probably need to publish more than one title to be deserving of that title. Whilst waiting for Whooosshh to emerge in its entirety I have been busy writing more books. Out of guilt, I have written one for Barnaby which encapsulates his rebellious nature and for which he probably won’t thank me and the third one is written with the “OCD and feisty” character of my niece in mind. Very soon I will run out of children to write about and then it’s career over. But the point is that writing with a character in mind really works for me as it helps me to get “the voice” of the book right, which is really important. The Horrid Henry series by Francesca Simon http://www.horridhenry.co.uk and similarly all of Roald Dahl’s books are so appealing and visual because of the strength and complexities of the main characters.
Once the character is developed, the rest is a complete mystery. You hurl the character into the unknown and hope they lead the way for you. In an interview in Bookwitch http://www.bookwitch.wordpress.com children’s author and illustrator Debi Gliori makes reference to writer Philip Pullman’s dislike of planning. “ He wrote a piece that I cut out and have kept and quoted from extensively, about how looking for ideas is a little like going out fishing at night, you push your boat out in the dark, you have your little lantern, and he talks about the amazing creatures you pull out from the depths, and I just thought “Yes! He has nailed that down so well.”

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