Last week, I went to Somerset Celebration of Literature, a fabulous festival of children’s books and authors on the Gold Coast. During my time there, I spoke to around 500 kids about writing – where ideas come from, how to structure a story, how to write a book. And I talked about the importance of problems and surprise in a story.
“If your character gets up, goes to school, has a milkshake and nothing happens – do we have a story?” I’d ask. And 50 hands would shoot up in the air. “No.”
“But if we start the story on the day that’s different. The day the alarm doesn’t go off, or an alien flies past on the way to school, do we have a story?”
Yes, we do.
When you’re writing a story, don’t waste 1000 words telling me what life is normally like. You can probably cover that off in a few sentences as your story unfolds. Show us, instead, the day where everything changes. Where the earthquake begins or the aliens land.
Sundays are usually unassuming, uneventful days around here. We head to Nippers, we do a few chores, we get ourselves organised for the week ahead.
But yesterday was a little different.
Yesterday, The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race To The End of the World was announced on the shortlist for the Readings Children’s Book Prize 2015. That’s the whole shortlist in the image (courtesy of Readings).
So, we did all those chores, but we drank champagne as well.
Don’t you just love a day that’s a bit different?