Diana Wynne Jones Essays

Diana Wynne Jones Essays-28
But it was a hidden one and, when I came to write for adults, I realized that it was something all adults assumed.I grew very tender of their brains and kept explaining. Here we have books for children, which a host of adults dismiss as puerile, over-easy, and are no such thing; and there we have books for adults, who might be supposed to need something more advanced and difficult, which we have to write as if the readers were simple-minded.

But it was a hidden one and, when I came to write for adults, I realized that it was something all adults assumed.I grew very tender of their brains and kept explaining. Here we have books for children, which a host of adults dismiss as puerile, over-easy, and are no such thing; and there we have books for adults, who might be supposed to need something more advanced and difficult, which we have to write as if the readers were simple-minded.

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Apart from the kinds I've already mentioned, the most obvious form of padding is description - whether of the galactic core seen from the vertiginous skin of a spaceship, or the landscape passed through on the Quest.Some adult writers trust their readers so little that if they have, say, a hero with blue eyes who comes from Mars, they call him "the man from Mars" every time they mention him, and interlard this with "the blue-eyed man from Mars," or occasionally "the man with blue eyes." I swore a great oath not to do this, but it hovered, and I had to fight it.Hovering over me also was the notion "This should be the first in a trilogy" (which is another way of having things read in bits) and I kept worrying that I was not only bringing the book to too definite a conclusion but that I was also obliged to set up a world in great detail in order to be able to use it again.And as for having my world there in detail, it was when I realized that I was actually being deterred from considering the sequel by the assumption that adults have to be reminded of the plot and action of Book First between the lines of Book Second - this despite a host of really good ideas - that I began to feel this was absurd.When I wrote Drowned Ammet I did not feel it necessary to recapitulate Cart and Cwidder: It would have been largely irrelevant anyway. It was around this area that I began to run foul of the assumptions of my would-be editor as well as my own.And here I was, writing for people of fifteen and over, assuming that the people who read, say, Fire and Hemlock last year have now given up using their brains.This is back-to-front to what one usually assumes, if one only looks on the surface, but I found it went much deeper than that.I used my usual method, but I added a hundred percent more describing. "Too short" and "I don't get enough of a sense of wonder," were the phrases used. Perhaps the difference is merely that they need me to do different things.I bit back a retort to the effect, "But you should get a sense of wonder if you stop to imagine it! I started writing for children at a point where all but a few children's books were very bad and inane.At first I thought it was my own assumption, based on personal experiences.Once when I was doing a signing, a mother came in with her nine-year-old son and berated me for making The Homeward Bounders so difficult. It was just her that didn't." It was clear to both of us that his poor mother had given up using her brain when she read.

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