Thursday, November 26, 2009

Building Believable Book People

On one of my loops, I found a link to an interesting article about letting past experiences shape your book people. It looks a bit long-winded, but it's written well, so take a look.

What experiences have shaped your personality? What are you afraid of and why? Why do you dream the ambitions you do?

Tell me. (WARNING: I'm not promising not to use it in a book....)

Here are some random musings about some of my quirks:
  • My parents moved house, city and even country on a regular basis. Is it a coincidence that I get stressed by change in my surroundings?
  • Here is a factor that shaped me in its contrast: my father led a nomadic life style and was a more of a guest in our household than a family member. I expect the father of my children to participate 50-50 in the nitty-gritty of child-raising.
  • Food for thought: I come from a culture which shows friendliness through gifts and hospitality. My husband comes from a culture of saving every penny. Hands up who can see a potential for conflict?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

From BBC Archives: Enid Blyton


Excuse this long quote, but it really shook me. Before you dig into it, ask yourselves:
  • When you were a child, did you enjoy Enid Blyton's books?
  • Do you know a child today who likes The Secret Seven and The Famous Five? (I own one, LOL, who wants the entire Secret Seven series for her 7th birthday!)
  • Do you think Enid Blyton's work lacks "literary value"? Compared to, say, the works of J.K. Rowling?

Now read the excerpt:

*** Popular children's author Enid Blyton was banned from the BBC for nearly 30 years because officials thought her work "lacked literary value", letters from the broadcaster's archives showed.

BBC executives turned down the chance to broadcast the plays and books of the creator of Noddy, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven because they were "such small beer" and had been produced by a "second rater".

In an internal memo dated 1938, Jean Sutcliffe, head of the BBC Schools department, dismissed the work of the woman who went on to become one of the best-selling authors of her era.

"My impression of her stories is that they might do for Children's Hour but certainly not for Schools Dept. They haven't much literary value," she wrote but conceded they were "competently written".

Two years later, the daily radio programme "Children's Hour" rejected Blyton's play "The Monkey and the Barrel Organ" because producers found its dialogue "both stilted and long winded".

One team member wrote: "It really is odd to think that this woman is a best-seller."

The released letters show Blyton realised she had been blacklisted.

After being invited to speak on a children's programme in May 1949, Blyton replied to the producer: "I and my stories are completely banned by the BBC as far as children are concerned -- not one story has ever been broadcast, and, so it is said, not one ever will be."

In 1954, Sutcliffe explained that Blyton should not appear on the popular "Woman's Hour" programme because the BBC risked becoming "just another victim of the amazing advertising campaign which has raised this competent and tenacious second-rater to such astronomical heights of success."

Blyton finally appeared on "Woman's Hour" in 1963, almost three decades after she first pitched ideas to the BBC.

She died in 1968 at the age of 71, but her books remain best-sellers today.***

Yvonne again: I wonder whether Ms Blyton ever felt like a success, despite all the books he'd written and sold....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Publishing Adventure


This week, I'm blogging Behind the Scenes about how I got published. It's a one-long-post-a-day-for-5-days kind of blog, so please come and read the first 3 installments!

Excerpt:
Hi there, my name is Yvonne Walus (pen name for erotic romances: Eve Summers) and I’m a Polish South African New Zealander, which at least gives me something to talk about at parties (when I'm not talking about erotic romances).

My love affair with language began when I was four and composed my first poem. I didn’t understand why my parents made such a fuss: it was just some rhyming words about “the flower of white dew”, and I was willing to create many more, if it made my mom happy. Over the years, I must have made my mom very happy indeed, with self-made poems for every birthday and Christmas.

My road to publication was somewhat trickier, though. For a very, very long time, publishers did not make a fuss over my manuscripts, and I didn’t make them happy at all when I sent anything more. I suppose my heart wasn’t really in it, anyway, because at the time I was a shy person who valued her privacy and would suffer embarrassment to see her name in print. I kid you not!

I will never forget my first publication....

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Another week has flown by...

I can't believe another week has gone by... and the only thing I've read are research-related books. TV-wise I'm no better: one Big Bang Theory and about 100 Flintstones/Jetsons episodes. Ho hum. Am I turning into an all-work-and-no-play Jill?

A poem I wrote a few weeks ago aptly reflects my current mood:

insignia of a modern mother

the focus - always outwards

lingerie - prim, black or beige or white

perfume - pumpkin soup

ambitions - forgotten

therapy - needed

time for therapy - null