|Gabe reading, by Jason CC BY ND 2.0|
By K. M. Lockwood, @lockwoodwriter
Books within books - what lies beneath reading in stories. How and why would you use that in your own work.
On Monday 9th January, I was the willing subject of the Golden Egg Academy question and answer session on Twitter. Thirty minutes of furious reading and typing about my role as a reader for Serendipity Reviews. ( If you want to see my replies and typos follow the #GEAQA hash tag!)
One of the first questions was what do I love about book-blogging? It's the range and scope of current works for children and young people. Not just books but comics, graphic novels and all - and the whole multiplicity of genres, styles and approaches. Thinking about the wonderful creators in SCBWI British Isles and SCBWI Ireland for this article made me consider this.
In short, it has challenged my empathy. This is handy for a developing editor and writer. I've tackled books I'd never have thought of going near - by inhabiting a variety of different MEs. Sometimes it can be a ME in a different mood. Sometimes pizza hits the spot, sometimes only full Sunday dinner will do. Frank Cottrell-Boyce or Frances Hardinge? It's all good.
So what use are a reviewer's musings to an author or an illustrator?Simply, reading matter reveals a deal about character. So many questions to answer.
- Why does a character read - to be entertained, to learn, to escape?
- How do they read - eagerly or reluctantly, in quick bursts or long bouts?
- What do they read - diaries, newspapers, comics, ads, recipes, novels, poetry?
- When do they read - in snatched moments, when they should be doing something else?
- Where do they read - bath, bunk-bed, boarding school, spaceship, prison library, kitchen table?
Many of these answers are powerfully visual - perhaps funny, poignant or revealing. Take the grandly displayed unread tomes of a pompous villain - and her stash of celebrity magazines. Or a handmade fairytale treasured in poverty.
|Some rights reserved by Natasha Fadeeva|
- Know what your characters would read and why.
- Show through image or dialogue.
- Suggest attitudes - perhaps conflict?
- Reveal the effect it has on them - and others.
- Have fun with your choices!
|Jasperdo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0|