“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away.
And in its place, you can install,
A lovely bookcase on the wall.” – Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl 1916 -1990
For this week’s writer’s corner, I have chosen the children’s literature author Roald Dahl. Dahl was, in his lifetime, a children’s writer, a screenwriter, a short story novelist, a fighter pilot during WW2 and an Intelligence Officer and Diplomat. His fame though, lies in his work, namely his children stories. Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and the BFG, and an image forms in your mind of a quick-witted, humorous story teller that is loved by each generation of children around the world.
Roald Dahl was born on the outskirts of Cardiff, Wales, UK, to Norwegian parents. His father died when he was just three years old, and he was sent to boarding school at a young age. It was at boarding school, which he hated, that he drew inspiration from many of his his children’s books (Matilda, springs to mind and the horrible headmistress, Agatha Trunchball).
His children’s books are known for their macabre themes, such as The Witches, but have a darkly comic underlying tone, mixed with humor and a quirky warmheartedness. They always champion the underdog, with a warm sentimentality that has thrilled and delighted people for decades.
My favorite book of his, the BFG, was made into a movie featuring Academy Award winning actor Mark Rylance in the lead role. Other movies (how can we forget?) star Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, and Danny de Vito in Matilda.
Did you know?
- the inspiration for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came from Dahl’s time at Repton School, Derbyshire. The chocolate manufacturer, Cadburys, used to send new samples of chocolate bars for the boys to taste, and test.
- The Times placed him 16th in a poll of 2008, as ‘”The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″
- Sophie, the little girl in the BFG, is named after his granddaughter Sophie Dahl, whose also and author and a cookbook writer.
- His adult works include the Tales of the Unexpected stories, which always had a twist at the end. These short story narratives became a TV show many years ago, and were introduced by Dahl himself (I know, because I used to watch the show!).
Writing Tips from Roald Dahl
- Have a lively imagination.
- Let your scenes come to life, so that the reader is in the story with you.
- Have a lot of stamina – stick to your writing, day after day, hour after hour – persevere!
- Be a perfectionist. Never be satisfied with what you have written, always aim for better next time.
- Have a lot of self-discipline! You are working alone. There is no boss behind you, sacking you for shirking.
- Have a keen sense of humor. For children’s writing, this is vital.
- Lastly, gain some humility. The writer who thinks that his work is marvelous, is heading for trouble.
Have a great week, fellow bloggers!
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