So today has been a good writing day. I’m 142 pages through my first draft of Manchester at Midnight, a strange children’s book for adults, or an adult book for children. What’s interesting about writing a book for children is the inspiration I draw from, namely the fact that I wanted to write a sort of guide to childhood , written in a fun way.
Unlike the previous work, Manchester at Midnight has a clear message at the core of everything I write, while making sure that it’s never boring (rule 101 with writing children’s fiction). The best part of writing a children’s book is that I get to play around with all the strange little memories I had as a kid, and work some of the things that followed me around through my adolescence.
I think it’s easy to forget how difficult childhood can be. I told my partner Holly that primary school for me was a prison, where you made sure above all else that you didn’t do anyone else’s time. School can be rough, and not because of the stereotypical bullies, but the harsh and often cruel behaviour of children as a whole.
Parents like to believe that adults are the scary ones, but next to a child these monsters and boogiemen don’t stand a chance. I wrote a while back that antagonists in stories are so fun because they understand the logical order and laws, and proceed to break them. Children have no laws, and as a result can dip and dive all over the spectrum, often reining it in a little when parents are present.
With my story I wanted to deal with themes that bothered me a lot as a child, and took me to adult years to fully comprehend what they meant. The current idea is about what is right, which is often mistaken for what is considered acceptable. History is full of examples where what is right and what is acceptable are not mutually exclusive.
Children suffer from this more than most, mainly because there is such an uncharted waters as far as what is good for you, as opposed to good for popularity and friendship. What i love about children most is that they seem to cut straight to the point, which I think comes from the lack of desire to please people. Children are capable of anything, but tact is rarely one of them.
It’s great to play with an idea like this, especially in a fantasy setting where you have all sorts of people doing what they want, just because they can get away with it. I knew straight away I wanted to write a story where children aren’t just ignored or incidental heroes, while also maintaining the essence of being a child. I don’t want to do an 80’s kids action film story, at least not with this one, i’ll save it for something else.