On Writing

Some thoughts on writing from Doug

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The Writing Process

I've been writing scientific reviews and papers for years. The challenge of switching to fiction and writing stories for children involves entering a new and fresh world. No longer the careful research and accumulation of carefully assessed facts, of high-flown academic opinions, or of serious issues which rightfully concern people, such as dangerous diseases. All that needs is planning and sketching out a detailed plan. No characters, no plot – just lots of facts. But my fiction is the other side of the world. The characters assemble, and then off they go. I have little or no idea of exactly how they are going to make out, or who they will meet, whether they will like or dislike them – an

Why Tom?

Kids need surprises. Not always scary ones, like shouting at them from a dark hallway, although that has its place. I'm talking about the unexpected, something they never thought of – sort of like a WOW moment! I've told kids stories for yonks, and many seem to remember them years later. Recently, a pair of eight-year-old twin girls reminded me of when I was telling them a bedtime story and became so involved in the action I fell off the bed and injured myself. Crash. It had happened years before, yet they had remembered...and even better, they remembered the story. When two kids I met for the first time asked what I told stories about, I said, “Anything, really.” Bad move, when talking