1/ If you want to write for children you must read children’s books – read picture books, early readers, middle grade novels (age 9+), teen books (age 11+) and YA novels (young adult). Ask a bookseller or librarian to recommend some award winning books in each age category.
Children’s books are not a genre, they are an age group. Within each age group there are books in every genre: fantasy, comedy, science fiction, history etc, yes, even picture books. You cannot write a book for age 4 to 14 – you need to narrow it down a little. Different age groups like different things from a book.
Once you have decided on an age group and/or settled on an age for your main character or characters, it’s time to start writing. Children like to read up an age – they want to read about characters that are older than they are.
2/ Write as often as you can and keep the story in your head. Think about your characters and your plot as you walk the dog, commute, wash up. Your subconscious will take over and unknot plot problems if you let it. Make time to write but also make …
From now until June 2017 I have the great privilege of being the dlr Writer in Residence. I have a lovely room on the top floor of the Lexicon Library in Dun Laoghaire and I’m hosting lots of fun book clubs, writing clubs and events.
Here is my September diary:
September was a very busy month in the Lexicon library. Our Children’s Book Club kicked off and we talked about the work of Roald Dahl in honour of his 100th birthday on 13th September. This month we are reading Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan and looking at its wonderful artwork. This is one of the images from the book:
I also hosted Baby Book Clubs in both Blackrock and Dalkey libraries. We read Farmer Duck (and made some wonderful farm animal noises) and glued and drew some great ice lollies to celebrate the lovely September weather.
We had a very successful Dahl Day for schools, with a show and workshops. Thanks to all the teachers for bringing their students.
Here’s Grainne Clear as Little Red Riding Hood and below are Enda Reilly and Erin Fornoff as The Twits.
Three Canadian writers visited us in September and spoke to …
Writer in Residence: Events, Book Clubs and Writing Clubs
All events and clubs are in the Lexicon Library, Dun Laoghaire
I’m delighted to be hosting a wide range of events, clubs and workshops for children, teens and adults during my residency. Here are the events from now until the end of the year.
I hope to see you at the dlr Lexicon very soon!
Yours in writing,
13th September (school day)
Roald Dahl Day for Schools – Celebrating 100 Years of a Master Storyteller
Events and workshops inspired by the work of Roald Dahl with Oisin McGann, Alan Nolan, Grainne Clear and Enda Reilly.
16th September (evening)
CULTURE NIGHT – SMASHING STORIES AND DASHING DOODLES
5pm to 7pm Story and art fun for all the family with Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan – no booking required.
Friday 16th September (school day)
Schools Events – Canada Day with Children’s Books Ireland
School events with award winning Canadian writers and illustrators, JonArno Lawson, Sydney Smith and Katherena Vernette. Find out how a book is made with our international guests.
Children’s Book Club
Max number: 15
1st Wed …
I was watching one of my daughter’s hockey matches recently and it reminded me of the importance of fighting to the end.
The girls from the school they were playing were HUGE, the goalie was hitting on six foot. My daughter, Amy is in 6th class in Ireland, so the girls are mainly age 11 or 12, with some of them going on 13. However Amy’s school has 5th class girls on its team (age 10 and 11) and they looked so small compared to the giant 6th class girls from the other team.
At half time Amy’s team was 2-0 down. Their coach – a wonderfully engaged woman called Carole who is an Olympic hockey ref and mum to two of the girls on the team – talked to them. She told them they were playing brilliantly (they were), and if they went out fighting in the second half she had no doubt they would win. No doubt at all.
So the girls went back on the pitch and scored not just one or two, but three goals! They were throwing themselves into the game, running after …
One of my favourite parts of being a writer is talking to young readers about my work. Every week I visit 1 or 2 schools or libraries to talk to students. Here’s the diary of one of those trips.
7am Get up and walk dog – I always pack my bag the night before my event. I have all kinds of things in my green event bag – books, photos, toy whales.
8am Say goodbye to my dog, Lucky and get on the road in my Mini Cooper. Yes, I have the same car as Clover in the Ask Amy Green books!
10.00am Arrive in Loughboy Library in Kilkenny and set up for my first event with the children from St John of God’s National School.
Today is Christmas Eve. In many parts of the world children will wake up tomorrow morning and find presents at the end of their bed, or in stockings at the fireplace. Maybe they will get a much wanted bike, books, or even a puppy.
Christmas is full of magical memories. One way of saving those memories is by taking a photo. This is a photo of me and my sisters with my grandparents when I was about 8 or 9 – I’m the taller girl in the red!
Another way of saving memories is by writing them down in a diary or a journal. I’ve been keeping a diary since I was a teenager and I’ve amassed quite a stack of them at this stage. They are are carefully locked away as they are full of secrets!
I’ve always found that writing things down helps me work through my feelings and helps me make sense of particularly difficult or upsetting days. They say a worry shared is a worry halved, and for me keeping a diary is like telling a trusted friend my problems.
As a young teenager I had many worries:
Do my friends actually like me? The answer to
What Lies Beneath: A Readers’ Day
Saturday 7th November 10am to 4.00pm
Lexicon Studio Theatre, Dun Laoghaire
Cost: e15 (includes coffee and lunch)
On site bookshop with thanks to Dubray Books
If you’re passionate about books and love talking to other book lovers, this is the day for you. Find out how bestselling UK author, Freya North and Irish bestseller, Patricia Scanlan got their first breaks; hear how Kate Beaufoy and Kate Kerrigan researched their latest historic novels; listen to Sinead Moriarty and Claudia Carroll talk about their favourite books; discover the inspiration behind Sinead Crowley, Martina Devlin and Marita Conlon McKenna’s new novels; and hear Sinead Gleeson talk about the wealth of short story talent in Ireland, past and present, with Lia Mills and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne. A stimulating and thought provoking day for all readers and writers.
9.30am – 10.00am Registration
10.00am – 10.50am This is How it Begins . . .
Martina Devlin, Sinead Crowley and Marita Conlon McKenna will read from their new novels and talk to RTE’s Evelyn O’Rourke about the inspiration behind their stories and characters.
10.50am – 11.10am Coffee and bookshop signing
11.10pm – 12.00pm …
Well done to Shelly for putting it all together – Ireland’s 1st YA Day on Twitter – tune in and chat!
When: Oct 3rd
Where: #YAieDay will be an online festival taking place on the hashtag #YAieDay on Twitter.
The authors, bloggers, and publishing peeps will be chatting about topics and having the LOLs throughout the day. Anyone can join in and chat to their favourite author.
Also, lots of very cool publishers will be holding competitions where you could win books.
PLEASE JOIN IN & PLEASE DO SPREAD WORD
Remember to use the hashtag #YAieDay on Twitter
10:10 – 10:50am Lack of parents in YA – thoughts?
Sheena Wilkinson and Helen Falconer
11:10 – 11:50am Food in literature – how do you write it and is it important to have lashings of ginger beer?
Lucy Coats and Oisin McGann
11:50 – 12:10 Readers please tweet your thoughts to #YAieDay on your towering TBR pile.
12:10pm – 1:00pm – Please tell us about your next book – inspiration, drafting, editing, marketing.
Lauren James, Sarah Crossan, Sarah Webb and Brian Conaghan
1:10 – 1:50pm Bad language in books with young protagonists – thoughts?
Sally Nicholls, Kim Hood and R. F. Long
2:00 – …
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