David Almond gave a class on cross-over fiction at the Lit and Phil Library, Newcastle.

Top Tips

Write. Write again. Yes, writing is serious, is hard work, but it’s also a form of play. Books appear to be perfect, but they are the result of a messy and imperfect human process. Scribble. Mess about. Stare at the world. Smell it, touch it, bring it into your work. Experiment with different voices, different approaches, different forms. Read your work aloud to yourself and get the rhythms right. Allow yourself to be influenced by the writers you love. Read widely and freely. If you’re aiming to write ‘crossover fiction’ don’t just read ‘crossover fiction’. If you’re writing for the young, don’t censor yourself, don’t worry about what might be ‘suitable’. Young people will accept stories in many different forms. Don’t strive to be ‘significant’ or ‘contemporary’. Write for your own young self. Remember that the extraordinary is contained within the ordinary. Be brave. Be you. Allow yourself to go close to things that scare you. If you’re driven to write, it’s because something inside you needs to get written. Be alert. Work hard, but be ready to accept what comes spontaneously. Your own themes, characters, loves and fears will show themselves to you on the page. Write with your brain, but also with your body, your senses, your memories, your dreams. Write. Write again. Keep your feet on the ground, but aim very high. Write the best possible book you can in the best possible way you can. Then move on and write again.

Recommended Reading

Russell Hoban Riddley Walker
EB White Charlotte’s Webb
Jorge Luis Borges Labyrinths
Janne Teller Nothing
Raymond Carver Collected Stories
Flannery O’Connor Mystery and Manners
Kevin Henkes Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
Tony Harrison The School of Eloquence
William Blake Songs of Innocence and Experience
Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are
Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment
Ted Hughes Crow
Franz Kafka Metamorphosis
Natalie Goldberg Writing Down the Bones