Sunday, 23 November 2008

Reading, writing & dreaming

Two blogs in one day? What's going on?

I ditched my earlier plan to go into uni and work on my website there. It kept raining, and I was nice and cozy at home with a cup of tea and a Penguin biscuit. I can't remember the last time I pppppicked up a Penguin. Unlike some things fondly remembered from childhood, Penguins haven't lost their allure. Clubs biscuits aren't nearly as exciting, and Creme Eggs have definitely shrunk (although they're still pretty damn good).

I've just finished reading recent Guardian Children's Fiction Prize winner The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I raced through it, and now I'm left feeling slightly unsatisfied. The reason for this is that it's the first in a planned trilogy. Which is great, because that means there's more to come, but it also means I'll have to wait some time for it; I'm not sure the cliff's strong enough to support me.....

One of the things I loved about this novel was the strong voice of the adolescent protagonist, Todd. If you want to get technical about it, I suppose you could call it skaz - a particular way of speaking with a lot of slang and idiosyncrasies. This is enhanced by spelling some of the worlds phonetically, such as 'direkshun' for direction. You get the picture.

Without wanting to give too much of the novel away, Todd lives in a world where all men's and all animals' thoughts can be heard; a phenomenon they call Noise. Noise is represented visually through different typescripts on the page, giving it an almost graphic feel. I haven't seen that done before. It's an effective technique, which reminds me of some of the children's picture books I've been looking at recently and the way picture books are now starting to play with text on the page.

I'm quite drawn to the idea of combining writing with illustration or photography, or some combination of all three. I know they've got a good collection of picture books and graphic novels down at Woodlane, so I'm going to try and head over there tomorrow and see if I can find some inspiration.

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