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Journal
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Lucky loops in the writing process!
Strange how, at times, work seems to be a long slog, then within 48 hours, everything's moved on!

In that space of hours, I've been totally delighted to see some coloured art work drafts (immaculate all the same!) on a project that I'd feared lost. The artist has created some wonderful pictures, using a new approach, so the book I was sure had fallen through is brilliantly alive again - even if it's not out till 2005!

Another delight was working on the first draft of a chapter book, and suddenly dreaming up exactly the (written) image that was needed to a) give the tale a strong finish and b) work as the cover image.

No, the text isn't due exactly yet - but they do need something for the cover before the manuscript is due . . . .!? But my lovely editor liked it, so all good.

All the same. it's odd working in this looping-about, not-exactly-linear way, although I've begun to get used to it. Of course, it helps that the cover illustrator is excellent too!

Enough for now. A school visit day today, another tomorrow, and Thursday & Friday too. so I need my sleep! Goodnight.

PS. Saw in Guardian's Weekend Review that a collection of Louis Sachar short stories has just been published. Maybe less fattening than an Easter egg? Wish, wish! Hope you all enjoyed your Shrove Tuesday pancakes, by the way!
 
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Valentine's day! So I suppose it would be useful to mention books I'm currently thinking warmly about. Please remember that my taste in reading can be a bit odd, and that there's loads of other stuff out there! So . . . book thoughts . . . hmmm!

Well, a lovely picture book I saw recently was Giddy Goat. (Orchard) It caught my eye, because it was illustrated by the witty Lynn Chapman, but the delightful text is by Jamie Rix. It's about a mountain goat who doesn't like heights, and it made me laugh out loud.

Another book thought . . . well, I came across the Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean "Wolves in the Wall" picture book just before Christmas (Bloomsbury), and then read Neil's novel "Coraline" (also illustrated, but less, by Dave McKean). Both books have a really dark edge, and they seemed to me to be interesting versions of each other. One is an expanded story of fairy tale-ish horror - a girl caught in a nightmare of the unreal home and mother instead of the real home - while the other echoes the same feeling so strongly in a picture book form. The wolves who live in the walls of the house burst out, despite the heroine's warnings, and drive the family out into the night garden. Hmm. Maybe not the same plot, but, wow, the same shiver!

This isn't me saying "they copied" etc, but just me musing that so often, as a writer, I think of one form, and stay with it. On the other hand, I'm not Neil Gaiman. I'd be interested to know how the two books actually grew . . . Idea! Check out N.G's website & weblog, maybe. Will let you know - if you aren't there first!

(By the way, Him-at-home reckons that the book Terry Pratchett wrote with Neil Gaiman was Pratchett's best book - if that makes sense!)

Last book? Oooh, I don't know. Yes I do. Two books, both by Philip Reeve:"Mortal Engines" and "Predators Gold". Fantasy writing that smells of engine oil! A world where huge cities roam the surface of a scarred future Earth, looking for smaller ones to capture and consume. (Scholastic)

I know some of these books have been big in the media already, but me, I like to read things in my own time. When the hype has hushed.

Last message today. This weblog is about children's books, and my writing life, not my own personal life. But I would just like to say a very big hello to a small person called Daisy. Welcome!

Enough! Hope you were unable to open your front doors today because of the piles of admiring cards. Or something like that. Bye!
 
A blog about the life, times and travels of a Children's Writer, Storyteller and Book Week Visitor. For more writerly thoughts, pop over to my other blog The Year Of Mouse (http://theyearofmouse-pennydolan.blogspot.com/) Squeak!

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