I had the privilege of spending most of yesterday with the primary classes at The British School in Kathmandu, a lovely friendly place of 60:40 expats to Nepalis. It was World Book Day and at morning Assembly I was introduced – by Professor Dumbledore – to 300 excited children, many of whom were dressed as book characters.
They were such an effusive crowd. As I read to them from my book, they were eager to imagine themselves pursued by an angry mother rhino or tied up in the jungles of lowland Nepal – the jungle that inspired some of Kipling’s best stories.
In sessions with classes from years five and six we discussed tension, emotion, atmosphere, and creating characters whom readers care about and baddies to give them a hard time. We chatted about creatures large and small – from scorpions and stink bugs to king cobras and tigers.
One pupil asked me if it took me long to write a book and when I said, ‘Yes, a long, long time,’ she suggested, ‘Maybe two weeks.’
I seldom enjoy the luxury of writing every day indeed I don’t even aspire to write full time so I find it hard to answer how long it takes to complete a book. Like many writers, perhaps, inspiration and confidence waxes and wanes and a book can be put in my metaphorical bottom drawer for months or even years but I might say that if I can complete a couple of thousand words in a day – and if, on rereading, those 2000 words seem to flow and entertain – then I will be satisfied.
My two adventure stories for children aged around 8 to 12 run to a little over 40,000 words so anyone interested can do the sums and work out how long it should
take me to write a book.
|My prize for joining in the fun at The British School on World Book Day yesterday