This is brilliant and exciting!
I used to present the Chinese spectacular shows run by 'The Colchester Cultural Society' with a frankly beautiful lady called Liang Xu (or Irene as I am allowed to call her) and she has linked me up with her cousin Dr Zhou in Shanghai who runs the Dragon Boat Education company.
They wish to purchase the publishing rights for my books so that they can publish them and use them in their education programmes in China (starting in Shanghai) and they have asked me to go out there to help promote the books in March (depending on publication progress I guess)
This is a huge honour for me and I am hugely grateful to Irene for making the connections. Watch this space!
The story journey for the character.
In most stories the main character has to go on a journey. Sometimes that is a journey from one place to another and sometimes not. But they usually have an epiphany. A realisation and / or change of mind, sometimes good, sometimes bad!
A bit like this.
"I think that Elephants are scary and horrible. I hate Elephants! They are big and frightening so I shall stay in the car on this Safari thanks. You all go off into the bush and find your precious Elephants. Bye!"
"Oh no! There are Lions coming towards the Jeep I’ll start the Jeep and drive off! The Jeep has broken down. Oh no! I am surrounded by lions and they want to eat me!
Now I can see Elephants coming towards me as well! Help! This is so scary! The Elephants have surrounded the Jeep. I am going to die!!!
The Elephants are attacking the Jeep and I am so scared! Where is everyone?
No, wait a minute. The Elephants are pushing the Jeep along the track away from the Lions.
The Lions have run away from the Elephants. The Elephants have pushed me to safety away from the Lions.
The Elephants are smiling at me? Gosh how I love Elephants!"
Very basic but that is the personal journey. A change of attitude from what the hero first thinks is true. We also all recognise the truth at the beginning that Elephants are nice or maybe we don’t?
Every Hero needs to go on that journey because that is the journey that we take with them.
We have a physical journey, emotional journey and a personal discovery all in one short time line.
Having checked out Qi Fang’s artwork and on the back of the success of ‘The Bucket’ my Publishers Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie have this morning kindly offered me a contract for my second children’s novel ‘The Bag’. It will be really good to see two on the shelves now and so I had best get to writing the third.
It also means that when I go into schools to do a book signing and story games hour that I will feel a bit more like a writer! Really looking forwards to the start of the school term and hopefully filling the diary with dates and events. If I could do just this for a living then I would be one happy bunny!
I had a really nice meeting with Ros, Director of The Essex Book Festival. Apart from getting on really well and finding much common ground she has engaged me to do two 'Story Creation Games day for the Essex Book Festival next year. One in Colchester and one in Chelmsford, both in March. How cool is that.
It will take the form of two separate hours sessions. The first will be games to develop a story. The second hour will be devoted to finishing the story and creating an illustrated front cover with Qi Fang who has tentatively and provisionally agreed to come down and help.
Also those children attending will be able to get a stamp for 'The Children's University Passport' for taking part.
How cool is that! It will be a showcase event for sponsors and interested parties with the aim of creating a children's writing competition the following year!
Today Debbie and I did a story hour at the first St Mary's Book Festival and it was awesome! The children were switched on and really creative. The staff were friendly and very appreciative. We had school dinners which were scrumptious. We met other authors and illustrator which was inspiring. Red Lion Books took care of book sales and we sold out.
To be honest, the best parts of the day were watching the kids laugh when they played the story games. When we did some of the story games there was one or two girls in each session who could barely speak for giggling!
So we sold some books and that is nice but what really floats me and Deb's boats is watching the kids realise that making up stories is easy because that's what they do all the time anyway!
St Mary's is also keen to become involved in the Essex Book Festival so we'll be keeping in touch and hopefully developing a children's writing competition.
Possibly one of our best days ever and brilliantly there are more of these days to come.
I had a great afternoon at this school and the session went really well. Apart from hearing the giggling during the session I know it has been a good one by the collective sigh of disappointment from two year groups when I say "And that is probably a good place to end the session!"
Jess, one of the teachers was delightful, and keeps a tight ship with some very excitable children and she'll recommend it to the other schools in their group. Another fabulous session. The children were very bright and came up with some great stuff.
I just had the most fabulous evening that I have had in some years.Darren Gooding and I just picked over the characters in 'The Bucket'. It was wonderful to sit and actually catch up but more than that, hugely flattering to have somebody ask what, why and how and who and when about my work. When Darren has applied his huge vocal talent to the book I feel I shall owe him a huge debt of gratitude. It was like the 'New Route Theatre Company' had re-emerged in some grown up sort of way. It is brilliant to be working with my old friend again. For those of you who may not know Darren was one of the best actors we had in our theatre company and went on to develop his own vast array of characters, radio plays and theatre productions with the 'I hear voices' theatre company' 'ManlyTruelove' and a host of other brilliant characters and caricatures. I feel truly honoured to have him be my Narrator.
Have a listen and tell me what you think? Then maybe have a crack at narrating yourself.
As I said, my publishers are going to create an audio book through acx. If you fancy your chances as 'The Narrator' for 'The Bucket' and become immortalised you can find out about doing that here http://www.acx.com/titleview/A1L9EOJA0LPDOA/ref=acx_ts_sr_an_p1_1 Sadly I don't have the right recording gear to make a clean version for an MP3 player thing or I would audition myself but if you do then knock yourself out!
My publishers have informed me that they are going to make an audio version of the book and I am over the moon about it. They have begun inviting for auditions and I have the first one to listen to this evening. It's going to be tricky deciding upon who has the best voice and can carry off the drama required so very best of luck to all of the actors auditioning!
My aim in these workshops is to make it easier for children to understand how to write a story. So D J Cattrell is not just about books but about giving kids practical easy structures to understand all aspects of stories and how important they are in life from newspaper articles to Greek Myths around television programmes and over the hill of history. Stories are what we are, how we remember our world and how we make sense of it.
Wednesday 17th August 2016