Wednesday, February 12, 2014

So you want to be a rock star......

Quote of the Day! " A book is a gift you open again and again."
                       - Garrison Keillor

We have a guest post today from Natalie Finnigan.  I think you will be very interested in what she has to say.  Welcome Natalie to Storywraps.....

There are two issues about writing that are very close to my heart. The first is the importance of not talking down to children, regardless of their age. I haven't been writing for very long but the most consistent of the compliments I get about my work is that I don't talk down to my readers or patronise them. The first time I heard this, I was a bit surprised - of course I don't - I have a three year old son and I don't talk down to him in person, why would I do it when I write? Then as I read more and learnt more I realised that this isn't always the stance taken, either accidentally or purposely, often children's book writers can "dumb down" what they are writing to try and appeal to the younger mind. I, personally, feel this is completely the wrong tack - yes it's important to write in an accessible language, but children aren't stupid. In many ways, children are often smarter than us adults - they may not have learnt everything we have yet, but their capacity to learn is far higher. If a story is told well any moral it contains will be understood, it doesn't need a summary at the end, just in case the child has missed the point. The language used may be simpler than that for adults, but a story still needs depth to draw people in and capture young imaginations and that is the purpose of what we do - to capture an imagination, inspire it and transport it to the world in which we live. To me, the important thing is that a story is enjoyed, read and read again - if they get the subtler meanings and morals, then that is a bonus - to inspire someone to read is a gift. And don't forget, especially for the younger children, what you write will be read to them by an adult - as a mum, I know, that if I don't enjoy reading a book to my son, I'm less likely to pick it up again!

The other thing that I think is important when you write, is to see it and feel it. Everyone creates in a different way. I get an image or theme in my head (which normally won't go away until I've written it) and build the story from that - I write what I see in my own imagination. One story (Willow's Song which I'm hoping to publish in a couple of months) actually made me cry when I wrote it and I needed a good few minutes afterwards to compose myself. The first person I sent it to also cried, which I took as a good sign that I'd achieved what I'd hoped to!! If YOU don't feel what you write, then  how can you expect the person reading it to feel anything? If YOU can't see the world that you are creating within your own imagination, then how can you expect the reader to see it? To be transported there? Or to want to be transported there again? I don't remember every word of the books I've read, but my favourite books I've read until the covers frayed and they have stayed with me, even if I've not picked them up for years. These are the books that I can still see the images of their world or feel the emotions that they evoked. The bad books? Well I never bothered reading them again!

I feel like I've had a bit of a rant - but I do believe in it and some of the children's books I've read, even with great illustrations, a good premise and rave reviews, I've felt were so heavy handed with their point that it put me off reading them to my son. Others have been so lacking in depth or pace that I couldn't even read through the first 3 chapters - so how could I expect a child to? Luckily, others that I've read have been brilliant and I couldn't put them down or wait until the next in the series got published.

*Check her out on:
*Her favourite children's book as a child was the "Narnia" series 
*Her favourite children's/teen book she has read as a adult is, "Karen Prince's Switch."  

The book I want to review for Natalie is :  

Title:  Louder Alex, Louder
Author: Natalie Finnigan
Illustrator:  Gina Rahman

This sweet, charming, rhyming book stars Alex, an avid guitar player, his friend Dragon, who tinkles  on the keyboard and Spider, who desperately wants to join the band as a drummer.  Dragon shuns Spider because of his size and tells him he cannot be part of the group. Disappointed but undaunted, Spider goes off to prove that size does not matter.  Using his wit and creativity Spider constructs a drum set and his talent draws both Dragon and Alex to discover that little Spider has a big, impressive sound.  The three friends re-unite and jam together long and loud, each happy to contribute to their pleasing sound.  This is an excellent book about following your dreams,  never giving up and tapping into the abilities and creativity that you know you have within you.  This book and and Natalie's second book,  "Hide Alex, Hide" are available on Amazon.  

Book Review Rating:  8  (Fantastic!)

I want to thank Natalie for her post (she is amazing) and I hope you (my followers) will check out her books today.  You will not be disappointed.

Read on and read always!   Have an excellent day everyone!

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