It’s been two weeks since I started the Golden Egg Academy Foundations course and I’m loving it. It’s giving me the incentive to work on my manuscript (incentive as in deadline!) but it’s also taught me something. If I’m going to write for children, the children of now, then I need to read, and read the books that they are reading now!
I know that may seem really obvious but I like to read what I’m familiar with, and these tend to be children’s books that are well over 10 years old (erm, Harry Potter fanatic here). Much as these older books are loved by children, I need to have an appreciation of what is being written for them now. And not just that, I need to be aware of what books are being published now, so which ones publishers think will sell.
I’ve been scouring the library, Goodreads, Amazon and Twitter (publishers always tweet when a new book is about to be released), and have really enjoyed getting stuck into the huge pile of middle grade books mounting up by my bed.
My current read is The Apprentice Witch by the lovely James Nicol, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Golden Egg study day. It’s a wonderful book, relaying the ups and downs of Arianwyn, young woman who is sent to work as an apprentice witch in remote Lull, after not qualifying as a fully fledged witch. Of course she gets into quite a bit of trouble but saves the day in the end. Read it. I guarantee you’ll love it and, if you do, it’s sequel – A Witch Alone – is published next month.
But nice as all this reading it, it has a purpose. This may seem like stating the obvious, but to be a good writer you have to be an avid reader. Since reading more I’ve not only been writing more, but I’ve been writing better, being more objective of my work and making some drastic, but very much needed amendments to my manuscript. So I’ll continue to read (Cogheart by Peter Bunzl is next) and continue to write, and enjoy them both.