Friday, 27 June 2008

Who is Artemis Fowl?

Artemis Fowl is the main character of a series of books by Eoin Colfer, set in the 21st Century. Unlike most main characters, who tend to be virtuous and heroic, Artemis is villainous and ruthless.
He is a twelve year old genius who lives in Fowl Manor, Dublin, Northern Ireland. Although the Manor is traditional in appearance it is full of high-tech equipment. Artemis is a computer buff and loves technology.
His father, Artemis Fowl Senior, had been a billionaire until the Russian Mafia blew up one of his trading ships. Even though the family are still rich, young Artemis, or Arty as his mother calls him, is determined to replace their massive fortune. He intends to do this by stealing gold from the fairies. The incident with the ship has left Arty’s mother Angeline deeply disturbed, in fact more than a little batty. She lives in the attic.
Young Artemis doesn’t look like most twelve year old boys. He has dark hair and blue eyes, but his skin is vampire-white from spending so much time on the computer. As the family are rich he wears designer suits.
His intelligence is so amazing, he is what is often referred to as a child prodigy. This super intelligence, coupled with his determination makes him calculated and sinister.
His motto is ‘know thine enemy.’ He has several enemies and he loves playing mind games with them. He is prepared to lie to get what he wants and is cold hearted. The only thing known to upset him is his mother’s madness.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Ten Tips on Writing Stories Children and Editors will Love.

1. Don’t patronize. Children are sophisticated, intelligent and like to be challenged. Don’t over simply or over explain. Don’t write for children because you think it’s the easy option. It’s not.
2. Don’t preach. It’s okay for your story to have a message or moral, but don’t bang on about it. If your story is well written the message will be apparent as your character will have learnt something and your reader will learn too as a result.
3. Do create interesting, realistic characters your reader can relate to and want to know better.
4. Don’t sit around waiting for inspiration. Find it by reading children’s books and stories, listening to them talk, watching their TV programmes and so on. Emerge yourself into their world as much as you can.
5. Do make sure your story and its language are age appropriate. Research what children of that age may be interested in before you write. Research what editors are looking for too. and write what they want
6. Do include dialogue that is realistic, true to the characters’ personalities and which helps move the story on.
7. Don’t jump into the story and tell it yourself– let your characters do that for you.
8. Don’t be miserable, morbid or melodramatic, even if your story has a serious message or sad content.
9. Do enjoy what you write. If you’re having fun your reader will too.
10. Don’t be afraid to try a new slant on an old story. Many successful modern stories are based on or inspired by fables and fairy stories writers enjoyed themselves.

Use the above tips as guidelines and add to it as you become experienced in writing stories for children.
Learn from your masters (the writers you admire), learn from your writing - from your mistakes and your successes. And one final tip to keep in mind – don’t expect your story to be perfect, just make it as good as you can.