Friday, 30 January 2009

Kids Are Great

Something nice happened to me today, which I thought you lot might like.

So far I've only had adult fiction published, but I was brought up by a children's author and I've always wanted to write kids' stuff. Indeed I've written quite a bit now, but some of it is for very small children and I understand the market is pretty saturated, and... well actually, thinking about it now, I don't have a good excuse for not having tried harder to get stuff published. And after today, I'm going to put some proper effort into this.

Because today I was invited into my son's class, to talk about Being An Author. My son (Felix) is 6, and he and his classmates have been doing a project on authors. I'm used to doing workshops and talks for adults and I've worked with kids before so I didn't find it too hard to put something together, but for some reason I've never done anything like this before - and I don't know why. Cos it was loads of fun.

I read them a couple of my kids' stories, including one written late last night - about Felix and his brother - especially for the occasion. They loved them to bits. Laughed so much they could barely hear me, and joined in with the repetitive bits with great gusto. I also got them to write a brand new story* for me (asked them for characters, names, plot details, got some of them to come up and draw pics on the board**). And Felix and I read them a very-short book we wrote together when he was 3 or 4. And I talked to them a bit about how books are made (interactive - asked them lots of leading qus like "Who do you need to make a book?") and they asked me some qus (like these ones here - my favourite being, "Do you have a magic pen?").

So anyway, if any of you write kids' stuff and have / know any kids, I highly recommend talking to their teachers and arranging to go into school. It's incredibly rewarding and has really spurred me on to write more kids' books and get the bloody stuff published.

*We ended up with a story about Felix Dude, whose job was to catch Danger Dude and stop him from robbing the bank. Lots of things wnet wrong (Felix Dude's Felixmobile broke down, he went to the wrong bank, Danger Dude disappeared and escaped), but then Danger Dude came back to fetch some swag he'd left behind, and Felix Dude caught him in a trap (a net hanging from the ceiling by a rope). All made up by the children: nothing suggested by me.

**They don't have blackboards any more! They have interactive whiteboards, all computer-operated, I've never actually seen one of these before. Was very impressed, although they laughed at me when I couldn't quite operate it properly...

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Do you like Felix?"

That did make me laugh.

Wellington

Graeme K Talboys said...

Well? Have you met any real authors?

I just love the way young kids view the world.

ChrisH said...

Well done, Clare ( although it sounds like my idea of Hell on a Stick! but then I am clearly not a real author and have the email to prove it.)

Rowan Coleman said...

I love going to school although mainly get teenages some of whom appear to carry weapons and one of whom and one school keyed the rudest swearword you can think of in the side of my publicists car. STILL the ones that get something from it make really exhilerating, and i know I've spelt that wrong.Rx

Annieye said...

One thing I miss now my children are grown up is being a 'helping mum' in school. I went in on Thursday afternoons for years - right up until my youngest left Junior school.

My grandson and I have made up loads of stories between us - I am amazed at the breadth of his imagination.

Kate.Kingsley said...

'Do you have a magic pen?'

We could all do with a one of those, eh?

Sounds like a great experience :-)

JJ said...

Oh that sounds great. I went in to do a class in sculpture with one of my two. It was huge fun.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I did a funeral a while back for a writer who did loads of this and absolutely loved it. Glad it's been so inspiring for you.

Rob said...

I believe Hilary is now the interactive whiteboard guru for her colleagues, as she uses one a lot. she still makes the odd mistake though, as in one day whan she couldn't get her laptop to work at all until someone worked out she still had it set to display on a whiteboard somewhere. I'm sure it wasn't like this at all, but I love to imagine a class somewhere in the college being jerked out of their snoozing by a sudden flurry of random mouse-clicking and desparate Ctl-Alt-Deling on the board of their classroom....

Rob said...

The combination of "Do you have a magic pen?" and "Do you want to stop?" brings to mind "The Red Shoes" by Hans Andersen. You could do a great updating of that called "The Red Pen".

Think of me when it sells a million.