Just learned that Brian Jacques died. He was the author of the Redwall series. If you have ever been a parent of a reader (and raising your kids as a reader is a big part of the job of a parent) you are probably familiar with the series. My daughter Millie was huge fan, read them all, most of them several times, and owned many if not most of them. So I know of Mr. Jacques.
The books are tales of adventure and derring do by the residents of Redwall Abbey, who are all animals. The stories are almost Arthurian, with the noble rabbits, mice, badgers and other critters struggling for good against evil foxes, wolves etc. The stories are good enough to stand on their own for adults, and with personified animals as their protagonists, they appeal more directly to kids.
Jacques died in February at age 71, and he left behind a treasure. In fact, he has a new one coming out in May, so in every sense the saga of Redwall Abbey in Mossflower Country lives on. That's not a bad legacy, and one of the things that writers have to look forward to, leaving behind something that will live on long after we're gone.
Adios, Brian Jacques.
Good Reading – Eric at Pimp My Novel, one of my favorite writer blogs, has a post that's well worth reading, some simple rules to keep in mind if you're a writer. In a nutshell (minus his very clear elucidation) they are:
• Create and Keep a Schedule
• Be Disciplined
• Be Willing to Revise
• Don't Give Up Easily
• Maintain Relationships with Other Writers
There's a lot more to it than that, of course, but that's a good place to start. Go over and give the blog a read. It's all about remembering that if you're serious about writing, you have to make it a priority and approach it in a disciplined, serious fashion. Almost businesslike, I'd say. These are all bits of advise I've given, when asked (which isn't often, I admit) and have tried to follow myself. You ought to write them and post them where you can see them daily, even needlepoint them int a sampler – except that would take away from your writing.
Anyway, very good advice from a very good writing blog.
My Update – How in the world did I write more than 2,000 words this morning? I had limited time, had to have the chapter finished to read it to the class, and I had barely started. So I just put my head down and was shocked when I checked the word count.
Not the greatest stuff I've ever written, but like I said before, it didn't have to be great. It had to be done. Great is for the second draft. And it was good enough to elicit a few laughs and a big gasp at the end. "Where's T.J.?" they all asked, echoing Leslie.
Where indeed. I'm not certain, although I think he's having a big adventure.
The key, for me, was realizing that all the other considerations were side issues. If the book is about getting those bones buried at the mall, then get the kids to the mall and commence with the shovels. There's plenty of things to get in their way once I get them there, and everything else is superfluous. So go, go, go!
That's about it for today.