First up - a great insight into the mind of the brilliant Terry Pratchett:
“Writing, for me, is a little like wood carving. You find the lump of tree (the big central theme that gets you started), and you start cutting the shape that you think you want it to be. But you find, if you do it right, that the wood has a grain of its own (characters develop and present new insights, concentrated thinking about the story opens new avenues). If you’re sensible, you work with the grain and, if you come across a knot hole, you incorporate that into the design. This is not the same as ‘making it up as you go along’; it’s a very careful process of control.”
Terry Pratchett, in back matter for A Hat Full of Sky.
The author of the very funny Pippi Longstocking stories (which I enjoyed reading with my daughter recently and highly recommend) is quoted as having said:
“I don’t want to write for adults. I want to write for readers who can perform miracles. Only children perform miracles when they read.”
Next, we move onto another of my favourite authors, Roald Dahl. Not only was he a brilliant storyteller but his poetry is genius too. If you haven’t read his book of revolting rhymes for children, described as a collection of nursery tales with bite, then I suggest you do so!
Roald Dahl on his early career, when he wrote novels for adults:
“I’m probably more pleased with my children’s books than with my adult short stories. Children’s books are harder to write. It’s tougher to keep a child interested because a child doesn’t have the concentration of an adult. The child knows the television is in the next room. It’s tough to hold a child, but it’s a lovely thing to try to do.”
And a few more that I particularly like...
“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”
Ursula K. LeGuin
“Thou shalt not” is soon forgotten, but ‘Once upon a time’ lasts forever.”
Philip Pullman, 1996 Carnegie Medal acceptance speech.
“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”
"Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older. The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader’s imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book."
Anthony Browne, UK Children’s Laureate, 2009-2011.
"I think books for children should be wild and adventurous. They should offer you something you can escape into, something you don't get later on--it might be the only chance. It's the only time that children can develop their imagination and it's so porous it's vital to fill it with extraordinary things, not mundane, boring things."
Emma Chichester Clark, as quoted for the 2003 Magic Pencil Exhibition.
“The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.”
Harold Goddard, The Meaning of Shakespeare.
“It is as easy to dream up a book as it is hard to write one.”
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
G. K. Chesterton
If anyone has come across other great quotes on writing, particularly for children, then I would love to hear from you. Please do feel free to post on my website or on Facebook.