Tag Archives: writing

Empire State What?

balloonAfter writing a chapter on the importance of childishness for my new book GET STARTED IN WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING CHILDREN’S FICTION (out November 2015), I heard a fantastic example from my own past yesterday.

I went to New York with my family when I was 4 years old. I remember the skyline as we drove over the bridge from New Jersey. I remember the skyscrapers almost touching each other an unimaginably long way above my head. I remember Bloomingdales, and Father Christmas. My little brother (2) was given a balloon, which sadly popped beneath the wheels of his buggy.


I learned yesterday that my father took me to the top of the Empire State Building as well.

I don’t remember that. Sorry, Pa.

So if you ever catch yourself planning a wonderful book all about a small child’s exciting trip to New York, remember: balloon, not 20th century architectural icon. It’s all about perspective.


silly-monster“The most sophisticated people I know – inside they are all children.” Jim Henson

How important is it, as a children’s writer, to remember what life was like as a child? I’m devoting a whole chapter of GET STARTED IN WRITING ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN’S FICTION (publishing November 2015) to this question.

Before she adopted her daughter, children’s author/illustrator Lauren Child was often asked how she could create children’s books if she had no children of her own. She used to make the important point that we don’t have to have children to understand them; we were all once children ourselves.

How many of us can remember those days? How many of us want to?

 0511-1009-2817-2318_Various_Types_of_Lighting_Depicting_Lamp_and_Light_Sales_clipart_image.jpg“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Douglas Adams

The boys’ bedroom is looking fantastic. The first coats of paint are on the walls, the curtains are half-made, the blinds are ordered, the new standard lamp is standing to one side wondering a little uncertainly where its designated floor space will be. A magnificent tally.

My deadline is a week today. I plan to have decorated the entire house and demolished the shed by then. Now where are those instructions for pinch pleats?