What is your writing process like when working on your novels? What does your average working day look like?
I write for about two hours a day, every morning, in my office in my house. I don’t know much about the story when I start, maybe just an idea for a character, and maybe a small plot idea. I make up the story as I go along, but a lot of it is really bad. So after I finish the first draft, I write a second draft. It’s still pretty bad, but at least I know the story and characters better. Then I write a third draft. Then a fourth draft. Then a fifth draft. And maybe a sixth draft. The first few drafts I’m mostly concerned with characters and plot. The later drafts I’m more concerned with the art of writing.
David Almond, describing a school visit…
I showed them my messy notebooks, and we talked about how the apparent perfection of a published book is an illusion, that the book, like all of the best human achievements, like society itself, is the product of an imperfect, dogged, messy, passionate, optimistic process. We talked about the importance of honouring the time you spend on a story or a poem, respecting the language, respecting yourself, not dismissing your work as useless, finding something to like in everything you write, the value of careful editing.
The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival brings together the country’s best writers for children. The 2013 programme has been designed by guest artistic director David Almond, the award-winning author of Skellig.
The other authors appearing range from your favourite picture book creators to the latest Young Adult sensation. They include Michael Rosen, Axel Scheffler, Sarah Ferguson, Michelle Paver, Robert Muchamore, Andrew Motion, Chloe Inkpen, Anne Fine, Derek Landy, Eoin Colfer, Lauren St John and Patrick Ness.
General booking is now open for the festival, which runs from Friday September 27 to Sunday October 6, and is held at various venues around the city of Bath.
You can book online by visiting bathfestivals.org.uk/childrens-literature, where you can also browse the entire programme. You can book by telephone by calling 01225 463 362 (Monday to Saturday, 9.30am-5.30pm) or visit the box office in person at Bath Box Office, Bath Visitor Information Centre, Abbey Chambers, Abbey Churchyard, Bath BA1 1LY.