Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Writing Children's Fiction, by Yvonne Coppard and Linda Newbery, reviewed by Pippa Goodhart

 Media of Writing Children's Fiction

Unusually for a ‘how to’ book, this book makes a very enjoyable, as well as interesting read, whether or not you are looking for specific information.  Written, back and forth in short chunks, between the two authors and referencing numerous others, its style is lively and fun at the same time as being highly informative, clear, and full of wisdom.  Those bite-sized chunks make this very much a ‘just one more’ sort of a read, and you find yourself gobbling it up far faster than you intended! 

The two authors tell their own personal tales of reading and writing and being published.  But this is no self-indulgent wallow.  It is a highly practical book, well indexed and referenced in ways which enable you to go straight to any particular point you may be after.  And it is really up-to-date with the politics and developments in the current children’s book market. 

The book falls into three sections.  The first section is discussing children’s books.  It tells you why and how children’s books are important, but also how they can offer a wonderful opportunity to writers who want to explore story in ways that writing for adults simply doesn’t allow.  It tells how it is very hard to write for children, but also how fun and how powerful it can be.  That’s exciting. 

The second section gives short accounts by a range of important children’s authors who talk about their own, very different, experiences of writing.  A wonderful, amusing, account of the very strong family stuff that set Jennifer Donnelly writing historical fiction.  Read how Frank Cottrell-Boyce likes to write with no ending in mind but the promise that a ‘flash of lightning’ will arrive at the end of a narrative to show how to make sense of it all.  Mal Peet tells us to ‘be wary of research.  It’s like a helpful passenger with the dangerous habit of trying to grab the wheel’.  And Andy Stanton writes funny-seriously about the importance of writing funny books.  And much more.

In the third section we get practical advice about each stage of writing and submitting.   

This book even tells which sort of children’s book is most sought after by publishers at the moment.  But if you want to know what that is, you’ll have to read the book!


1 comment:

Penny Dolan said...

Good to see this book up here on Awfully Big Reviews, Pippa!

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