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Writing for children II

17 May 2004

'You can't be self-indulgent, particularly if you are writing for teenagers. I took this book to a class of 14-year old boys, and the comments I got were very interesting. There are kids who are immediately hooked by writing anyway, and they are gone within the first page, so you're fine with them; but there's another group who put a book down relatively easily, so there has to be very strong action, suspense or intrigue to keep them reading...

The main lesson was that you couldn't indulge yourself. Everything in the book has to be pulling the story forward, and anything that is just there because it's quite fun to write has to go.'

N M Browne, author of Basilisk, quoted in the Bookseller