Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Writing Advice for the Kids

Buy lotto tickets. If you don't win, you still have a little piece of paper. You can use that little slip of paper as a bookmark, and/or to take notes on. Reading and writing is always good advice for any fledgling author.
        Pseudonymous Bosch

Pseudonymous Bosch is the pen name of the author of The Secret Series, a five-book young adult series that breaks most of the rules but succeeds wildly because it knows and understands the one secret (a key word in the series) of novel writing – know your audience and entertain them.

The title of the first book in the series is The Name of This Book is Secret. The author spends the first 15 to 20 pages telling the readers NOT to read the book. It's too dangerous. He's not going to tell reveal the name of the city the story happens in, or the name of the school, or even the name of the characters, because the readers might figure out where it happened and that information could prove fatal.

They're five amazing mystery adventures in which three middle school kids do battle with a worldwide conspiracy that will stop at nothing – Nothing! – in their quest for the secret to everlasting life. The stories are wild, completely implausible, unpredictable. Kids love them.

He interrupts the stories repeatedly with asides, footnotes, digressions and, at one point a five-page comic book showing him writing the novels by dictating them to a pet rabbit while his cat offers sarcastic commentary. He also has suggestions for how to disguise your copies of the book so people won't know you're reading them.

The author also has a website, which is not surprising, called The Name of This Website Is Secret, in which he maintains that he is not the person who has been identified as the author, that the real Pseudonymous Bosch is in hiding in a cave or the rain forest, he won't say which, and that the person going around doing book signings, appearing at middle schools and at writing conferences and workshops claiming to be Pseudonymous Bosch is actually an impostor.

He warns his fans in the UK that bookstores there are about to do a special promotion, selling the five volumes of the series at an amazing discount, which could be disastrous because more people would have them, and urges his readers to rush to their bookstores and buy up all the copies before they get into wider distribution.

The bit of advice to young writers at the top of this post came from the site, part of a longer discussion in which he advises readers that the three rules of fiction writing are "Lie, Cheat and Steal." And makes the case.

Pseudonymous Bosch knows kids. Knows the kind of story they like, knows what makes them laugh, what catches their attention, what keeps them turning pages. The whole thing is a joke – and he and his young readers are both in on it, them against the world.

It works.

WIP UPDATE – Tuesday's total, 1,037 words. Total to date, 12,778 words. I just keep following the story.

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