POEM: Teacher says…

midnightfrog_just-your-imagination

 

Teacher says
my writing is not very good
But I dream of slaying serpents
with a dappled sword of light

Teacher says
I should use more connectives
But I search the fathoms of Hades
for the last souls of the unforgiven

Teacher says
it would be better with subordinate clauses
But I dance with moonlight maidens
on an ocean of stardust from Mars

Teacher says
my work lacks imagination
But I journey home, sword broken
and the beast of burden victorious

POEM: Words Of Wisdom

cheeky-girl

Grown ups say daft things.
I just don’t get them.
They want me to do as I’m told
and learn
but how can I
when they say such rubbish.

Just the other day
Nan said: If you don’t go to sleep
right now
you’ll be sleeping in
the other room.
Do you understand?

So I had to tell her: Yes I understand.
If you were speaking
another language
I wouldn’t
but you’re speaking english.

Then another time
after we had a BIG dinner
at a small price
Nan said: You certainly get
what you pay for
in that place.

So I had to point out: Well
you always get
what you pay for,
don’t you?
As for my mum,
she’s no better,
why to my little brother
who was tipping water
ON the dinner table
she said : That
was a BIG mistake!

So I had to tell her:
No it wasn’t.
That was
on purpose.

Becoming A Time Lord

Lately, I have been spending a lot of my energy attempting to be a Lord of Time and, like any possible Timelord, I have been getting to grips with time and their relative dimensions in space. Now, you might think this is a quite straight forward thing to do as a writer but you would be wrong.

1)TIME is always the BIGGEST problem. You may have a job, family (particularly the young lively sort), pets, clubs, homework or household chores that always seem to demand your attention at the moment you settle down to write. It is very difficult to get to write with any or many of these in your life. Some may call these excuses but I challenge them to write anything with a three year old vomiting on their pencil. So, like myself, you may find it better not to schedule a particular time but rather take advantage of the odd 1/2 hour – hour that may arise throughout the day. Instead of watching that TV, reading a magazine  or book (yes, I did say that), write. Being a Timelord demands sacrifice.
Even snippets of 5 or 10 minutes can be effectively used. Not for writing great reams but for imagining, asking what ifs, or as I have recently done, to jot down a key piece of exposition that you may forget.

2)RELATIVE - best avoided. They tend to take over your life when they visit or fill your imaginative quiet with noise. At worst, they are vocal critics. If you get yourself a useful, trained one, they might be of use as a cheap editor.

3)DIMENSIONS can be important. You are probably best going for ample room for paper, pen, laptop/tablet (if needed). Most important, leave plenty of room for snacks and coffee. Sacrifice personal comfort if necessary for the sake of coffee. It is the fuel that drives a Lord of Time. With enough, you will become transcendental in your writing and won’t notice the cramped space in the cupboard you are working in. If space is at a premium, I suggest something stronger than coffee.

4)SPACE can be a problem. Unless you are extremely well paid or fortunate to live in a relatively empty house, finding a quiet place to lock yourself away can be a problem. Sometimes you just have to make do even if it is a breakfast encrusted dinner table or on an unmade bed or in a cafe or on the back of the trained relative. A useful tactic is to choose a location without a tv or wifi, or if this isn’t possible, one with an annoyingly poor connection that makes you go through ridiculous procedural form filling to get just 2 minutes online. You will then soon no longer be tempted by such diversions. Remember, being a Timelord demands sacrifice.

So there you have my secrets of becoming a Timelord and going onto future success at getting something down on paper (using the toilet doesn’t count).

LITTY STUFF: Originating Orphans

Writers' Workshop

I recently was lucky enough to attend a workshop on How to Write Kids’ Fiction led by Joe Craig and Anthony McGowan as part of the Wood Green Literary Festival organised by the Big Green Bookshop. We were also fortunate enough to have Marianne Levy and Allan Boroughs (whose first book will be out next year) in the audience so there was a very good ratio of the published and would be published.
It was a very refreshing experience hearing from two writers of very different fiction. What came across was their thorough understanding of the genre they work in and enthusiasm for each other’s work as well as those trying to break through. What was of particular interest to me were their theories concerning structuring a narrative with an interesting protagonist – I guess it’s a hark back to the days when I studied Literature.
One of the points from Anthony McGowan that particularly intrigued me was the concept that the main character needs to be an orphan in some way. This is because parents or responsible adults would stop the protagonist from doing what they need to do. The orphan becomes a wanderer on their journey, receiving gifts from helpers on route. Eventually, there is a climatic battle before the end resulting in the orphan becoming a martyr somehow (my notes on this last bit aren’t great).
It struck me, that this is essentially what I did with my character Billy in my first book without realising it and got me wondering how many different ways a character can be an orphan. Here’s my list so far:

  • The character is an actual orphan (BFG;Harry Potter; A Series of Unfortunate Events;Walkabout)
  • The character is emotionally isolated from parents (Matilda;Goodnight Mr Tom; I Will Call It Georgie’s Blues)
  • The parent becomes lost/absent (Pippi Longstocking; Nim’s Island;Famous Five books)
  • The child is isolated due to a disagreement (The London Eye Mystery)
  • The child is isolated due to a secret (The Borrowers; The Magic Finger; The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler)
  • The child is isolated due to a physical/mental condition (Secret Garden; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime; Henry Tumour)
  • The child is lost 
  • The child is economically lost (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory)
  • The child is isolated due to social mores
  • The child is isolated due to a need to enact a rescue or go on a journey (Lion, Witch & Wardrobe; The Ice Palace)

There are probably many more but I can’t think of them for the moment or of examples to go with a couple of my ideas. Perhaps you could suggest some.

I did some background reading on the orphan concept using Wikipedia  and a study by Kimball . If anyone can suggest a source for a more contemporary take on this, I would be grateful.

Cheers

POEM: Daddies Soljers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can touch the sky

On my daddies soljors

I can soar and fly

On my daddies soljors

Taller than everyone

On my daddies soljors

I kiss the sun

On my daddies soljors

Hair touches clouds

On my daddies soljors

Noisy and loud

On my daddies soljors

Journey over soon

On my daddies soljors

Not reached the moon

On my daddies soljors

I WANNA BE

ON MY DADDIES SOLJORS!