After a brief sojourn in my room to clean teeth and tidy away the laptop and other articles strewn around so that the maid would be able to do her job without having to disturb my stuff, I trotted off to find the belly dance workshop. As the only belly dancing I've ever done is in the privacy of my own home, learning by means of a video, this was a little daunting initially because all the others seemed to attend classes, but after a minute or two, I discovered that the moves were what I'd been learning and I didn't embarrass myself and it turned out to be great fun. By coincidence, the woman leading the group was a pupil of the very woman whose video I use. It's a shame I didn't know the workshop was going to be on as I could have taken my jingly hip scarf, the one with thin silver coins stirched in rows.
After a quick tour round the dealers' room, where I didn't buy any books. No, I mean I've got a huge To Read pile already and... Well perhaps I did just pick up a couple of Tom Holt's novels because I haven't read any of his and he's a comic novelist and it's Reseach, OK? Anyway, after the dealer's room, it was off to the panel on film adaptations of books. This turned out to be nowhere near as focused as I'd expected, but was still interesting enough.
Just time to grab a cup of tea and a snack of crispbreads, fruit and nuts -- well, I did have a large cooked breakfast -- before going to Juliet McKenna's panel on Young Heroes, i.e. the child protagonist. Interesting discussion on child characters as written to be read by children and child characters as written to be read by adults. And also mentions of those that work for both, e.g. Phillip Pulman and Diana Wynne Jones.
Panel on The Youthful Hero. Panellists were Juliet McKenna (several of whose books I've read), Chaz Brenchley and Jessica Rydill (who I haven't read)
Random scraps from the panel:
- Discussion of the difference between writing a child protag to be read by a child and a child protag to be read by an adult. No firm conclusions that I recall, though Phillip Pulman and Diana Wynne Jones (amongst others) were mentioned as writers whose child protags work for both adult and child readers.
- Chaz and Juliet mentioned that one thing about a child protag is that you can have them do foolish things without them being a fool, due to their lack of experience. Ignorance is not the same as stupidity and you can accept or forgive behaviour from a child that would have you throw the book across the room if it was an adult protag.
- Children/adolescents are interesting to write because they are changing and growing so much and stories are about change.
- Teenagers tend to live in a very black and white world (in which they are always right!). You can show them as being wrong and then learning and growing as they come to terms with a world which is shades of grey.
- All three writers denied consciously writing differently for boys or girls.
- On being asked whether he felt any obligation to set a good example in his books, Chaz said that he did not feel that he should write stories in a way that will develop the morals of his young readers; his sole loyalty is to the story -- which he saw as an absolute thing -- and he felt very passionate about that. (Not sure that I agree with this for several reasons, but I couldn't think of a way of framing a question that was on-topic for the panel.)
- On being asked whether he was troubled by readers writing in citing instances where he had made slips in the details of his story and being given a hypothetical example, Chaz said, "I am so with that pedant."
Finally, Juliet stressed that one should never patronise your youthful characters and via them your readers.
Did try to go to the EuroClarion discussion, but discovered that it's been postponed to 4.00 pm, when I want to do something else. Bother.