inspiration

All posts tagged inspiration

Writing – How do you choose a setting?

Published August 21, 2012 by loonyliterature

 

 

English: Enid Blyton's former house "Old ...

English: Enid Blyton’s former house “Old Thatch” near Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

At the moment, I am writing a free in between story for our willblyton.com website.  It is called” Will Blyton and The Maggoty Motleys” and I’m being either brave or stupid as the work in progress is being posted.  The Will Blyton books are aimed at 9-12 year olds and explore time travel and will be introducing William Shakespeare and his plays in the books and free stories.

 

The setting for Will Blyton and The Maggoty Motleys is a children’s literary festival in 2006.  This probably seems like a strange place to set a children’s story but around that time my family were going to a lot of children’s literary festivals and seeing a very mixed bag of children’s writers. This was one of the reasons I felt the urge to set a children’s story at a fictional festival.  Seeing such a range of different approaches is truly entertaining and the festivals are worth attending if it is just for that and nothing else.

 

Some of the writers embrace the idea of talking about their books as if they secretly wanted to be rock stars but it never happened.  Others dress elegantly but timidly tell of how they were told that they were a children’s writer and not a science fiction writer.  The variation is endless but I must not forget the ones who made me want to rush for the nearest exit as I wondered if it was the effort of their writing which had left the lifeless slugs drawling before me.  Forgive me for sounding wicked with the last lot but you try sitting through a session with one of them and I bet you could teach me a thing or two on evil thoughts.

 

The second reason I wanted to write a story set at a fictional festival is that I have seen the effect literary festivals have on children and their reading.  My teenage son told me recently that he believes that going to literary festivals when younger definitely spurred him on to read more.  More than that, however, I have seen and heard the excitement of children wriggling in their seats whilst they wait for a favourite author to take the chair on the stage.  The atmosphere buzzes and the air is filled with energy – yes we are talking about author appearances not football stadiums or rock concerts.  Unfortunately, only a small percentage of children get to them because not enough parents and teachers realise what excellent value for money they are – going to children’s literary festivals is not a very well-known activity, more so in certain areas than others.  It seemed then to be a good idea to set a story at a festival and hopefully it might put the idea of going to a festival to the actual children themselves.

 

This only leaves me to ask “how do you choose your settings?  Is it a desire to be in a certain time and place, something which echoes theme and plot or do you choose settings because you think they are popular with readers and will sell more books?  I would love to know your thoughts.

 

Things To Do – Creating and Acting – “The Finding of the Stone.”

Published July 19, 2012 by loonyliterature

 

The video goes into greater depth but just in case you need reminding here are the main pointers.

When I write a book or a play, I love to encourage my readers to be inspired by what I have written.  So to help you along, I will be making short films which suggest fun things for you to do.  Today’s activity uses the beginning of the book and is called “The Finding of the Stone.” 

 

Will Blyton has had his glasses ripped off and thrown onto the beach by the dreadful bullies, The Toad, Ferret and Snot.  Whilst feeling in the sand for them he hears a strange voice saying disturbing things to him.

 

Here are some of the things the voice says:

 

“Thine intestines wilt be mine!”

 

“Thou wilt regret this warty nose.”

 

“Leave me be, thou fetid old skanky breath.”

 

“Thou art nought but a worm eating corpse.”

 

Will finds that the voice is coming from a stone he picks up off the beach.  It is no ordinary stone, for the stone turns to glass and inside is:

 

A boy, the size of my palm, is in the stone and scowling up at me.  He is in a prison cell.  It has bars on it and there is a small bed at the far end, a desk and a chair.  There is a writing quill sitting on the desk.  The boy has long, dark hair with black piercing eyes.  He is dressed in a green knickerbocker suit with a frilly ruff around his neck.  Huge, shiny buckles sit on the front of his shoes.  I stare at him like a goldfish.

(p4-5 Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow.)

 

The whole of chapter one can be found under Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow here on willblyton.com

 

What would you do if this happened to you?

 

I think it would be great fun to get together with a friend and create a whole new scenario – here are some ideas for you to use as a springboard:

 

You go to a car boot sale/ jumble sale and buy a locked box which can’t be opened.  When you get it home there is a small boy/girl trapped in a pebble inside.

 

Your friend has been on holiday and has brought some stones back from the beach so that you can paint them.  Strange noises emerge from the box, you open it and guess what?

 

You are lying on the grass with your eyes closed dreaming of discovering a secret room in your home when your dog sits at your feet holding something in its mouth.  A small, shrieking voice can be heard – weirdly coming from the dog’s mouth. 

 

Okay, you get the idea.  You can use one of the scenarios from above or you can make up your own.

 

What do you need to find out?

 

How is the person in the stone dressed?  This will give us clues as to the time period they are from.

 

Is the person in the stone going to be nice or nasty?  Or even pretending to be nice but really nasty?

 

Why is the person trapped in the stone?  How did the person get there? 

 

When you have decided all this, you can start to improvise your scene.  This means acting it out without a script.  It can be really exciting because all sorts of creative ideas can emerge from you quite naturally as you pretend to be The Stone Finder and The Person in the Stone.  Of course, you can give your characters names.

 

If you are happy with what you do, you could try to get a friend or family member to film you.

 

Have fun.  Happy creating.

 

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