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Richard Peck’s Ten Commandments for Writing for the Young

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Den amerikanske forfatter Richard Peck har skrevet følgende no-nonsense guide til hvordan man skriver for unge mennesker:

1. Do not commit autobiography—use other people’s memories, not your own. (He writes in the first person to eliminate himself.)

2. Don’t begin the story too early—avoid too much background. Instead, start with the human voice (all readers are lonely) and action.

3. Do not allow adult characters to take over—especially the mother. A wise adult is okay, but the main character must solve the problem.

4. Avoid sentimentality. Childhood is a jungle, not a garden. You can’t both protect and portray characters. We’re writing the biographies of the survivors. If it’s too sweet, there’s no triumph.

5. Don’t patronize anybody—don’t write “down” and don’t give advice. Raise questions. What do you wonder? No unsolicited advice. No happily ever after.

6. Don’t attempt to recreate the wheel unaided. To write, you must read.

7. Do market research till it comes out your ears. Get publishers’ catalogues, read award-winners.

8. Don’t communicate with young readers by e-mail. Snail mail letters.

9. If you see an adverb, shoot it. Replace adverbs with better verbs; they are the mark of an amateur.

10. Use good vocabulary. Don’t write if you don’t know the meaning of “fustian.” (Sorry you¹ll have to look it up, just like we did!)

Questions to ask:

– Who is my intended reader?

– What successful book can I compare this manuscript to?

– What is the first-page grabber?

– What’s going to keep this story from sinking in the middle?

Miscellaneous pithy pieces of advice:

– Always make the person with the most potential for change your main character.

– When writing historical novels, go to letters for conversation and read bound periodicals from the times.

– If you have writer’s block, don’t take a break and do something else. Edit an already written page until it’s perfect, then take out 20 words.

– The first chapter is the last chapter in disguise. Rewrite it when you know how the story ends and seed it with clues.

– Write about other places and times to help give kids a sense of them. (Each of his novels involves a trip that changes characters.)

– The first pages should include colors and conversation.

– There should be contrast sharper than real life on every page: male/female, young/old, rural/urban. Sharpen the contrast.

– When in the story does the character find his own future?

– In all comedies, everyone gets what he deserves in the end.

– The cover art will be bad, so make the title good.

– Good novels are the best defense against video games.

– Entertain on every line, annoy on three.

– Leave out the lines people skip.


Skrevet af Lars Hvidberg

4. July, 2004 @ 22:01

Kategorier: Bøger,Citater

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