[DWJ] Writing for the young (was Dumbledore vs. Snape)
mark at allums.com
Mon May 14 20:27:02 EDT 2007
With much snippage here and there:
>> minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:
> In this scene it was assumed that somebody holding a wand must be the
> person who had used it, on no evidence whatsoever and when a Truth Spell
> would have been available to establish the facts... Or that's how I
> remember it.
Yeah, that one's a bit awkward. I always thought, based on [spoiler]
that the truth spell/serum was Not Done. Except by cretins and Evil
> No questions asked about
> whether 'stun' for a human is 'sudden death' to an alien life-form about
> which nothing at all is known. No attempt to find out whether this might
> be the local cops in pursuit of a criminal lunatic...
Yeah, that one requires one to a) assume that there is info *you* don't
have, or b) suspend disbelief for the duration.
> Is that supposed to excuse poor writing? If so, it's a *terrible* excuse!
> When Kipling wrote for children he didn't let the standards slip; nor did
> Rosemary Sutcliff; nor did C.S. Lewis, nor Diana Wynne Jones, nor Patricia
> Wrede, nor Neil Gaiman. Nor (you have your own list).
No! On the contrary. Writing good children's lit is *hard*. (I've
tried. I can't.) I was referring to the fact that IMO, reading Harry
Potter is fun. Most children's lit is intended to be a pleasant
experience, at least for the children, if not for the characters in the
>> Start reading now, and be ready for when Book Seven
>> appears. :)
> Can't do that! The rule is that I'm waiting until I won't have to wait for
> the next one. Judging by the now-eighteen-year-old, these books are going
> to take me less than a day each to read: if she got through them that fast,
> on first reading as they came out, I expect I shall too. So I had better
> start about a week before the last one comes out: that gives her time to
> read the last one whilst I am on Book 6 and have it ready for me when I
> want to keep on keeping on through.
Ahhh, a Strategy! :) Good! I bet it's been hard, though, trying not
to be too spoilered. I read the first one to see if it was appropriate
for my niece. She was about 7 at the time. There were rumors of
murders and morbid stuff in the books (book 4 was imminent at the time).
She had already read 1 and 2. I was behind. I caught up. And
found myself hooked.
>> *literarily? Let us coin a word, meaning, "of or about something
>> literary". It's a bit of a tongue twister.
> Lit'ry is the word for that sort of discussion and the lit'ry folk who have
> it, so maybe "litrily"? I don't demand lit'ry in my light reading, but I
> do require literate (as well as coherent and self-consistent within the
> world created: there are definite limits beyond which I cannot suspend my
> disbelief). Judging by the random four pages or so of HP I read when
> someone was making a point on this list a couple of years ago (see comments
> on mer-people earlier) I may decide that this is not a book to be set down
> lightly -- in the Dorothy Parker meaning of that phrase -- purely on
> account of my being a member of the Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty
> To The Semi-Colon.
> One thing has to be said for Enid Blyton: she had at least been taught the
> use of punctuation at some point. Her stuff doesn't demand a re-write
> every couple of sentences, and I don't find that I have got out a red biro
> and started absent-mindedly to proof-read it as I go along. Formulaic,
> yes, maybe, but not horribly constructed word-by-word as well as
Oh dear. I do commit the serial comma/run-on sentence upon occasion. I
use semi-colons both correctly and incorrectly; here's an example of
one. Is it correct? I once knew all the rules; I got a really nice
grade on quite a few papers. But time and brain atrophy have taken
their toll, and I verb nouns and commit other crimes against grammar. I
can mispell with the best of them. Alas, I'm getting worse. Forgive
me my more atrocious errors.
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