Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Andy Stanton
























illustration: David Tazzyman

Talking about animals and creators of parallel universes, we saw Andy Stanton (author of the Mr Gum series of books) talk at the Bath Children's Literature Festival. It was great, entertaining stuff in which elements of Stanton's subconscious combined with the the absurdity of nature and emotion - or something like that.


His tips for writing were

1. Write down your ideas (that's how his second book Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire came about - he was blocked to the eyeballs until in the middle of the night he had the idea of "a gingerbread man called Alan Taylor with electric muscles". Which he wrote on a piece of paper, forgot about and then one day happened upon, so causing his second great Mr Gum book to come about).

2. Once you have an idea, start writing - don't worry about the ending. The ending will come.

And that's about it really and it holds good for photography too. The rest of the time he spent running around sweating and shouting at kids - in a good kind of way.

5 comments:

a relevant individual said...

hello! this is andy stanton, truly it is. i spend far too much time googling myself on the net instead of doing any of that writing stuff.

anyway, thank you for your kind comments. i appreciate them very much. bath was fun, except it was HOT in that room. or maybe i'm just getting old/fat/both.

toodles!

colin pantall said...

It's an honour to have you here, Andy. I'm reading the Dancing Bear to my daughter for the fifth time and I still love it - I always read Mr Gum and Billy William with a weird Steptoe and Son kind of relationship and accent, and Polly and Friday O'Leary as sort of West Country in a Dorset kind of way.

Do you always run around like that at your talks - and terrify the grown ups. Great Stuff!

a relevant individual said...

'Do you always run around like that at your talks - and terrify the grown ups.'

er, yes, pretty much. but i'll never forget the bath event as i finally got to achieve my ambition of making a child laugh so hard they were sick. TRUE.

fortunately the child wasn't sick in the theatre. the mum led him out and the two of them returned some minutes later. i didn't know what was going on until the signing, when the mother explained what had happened. neither she nor her child seemed at all distressed by this, they acted as if it had been a bonus.

so nice to hear the dancing bear's got re-readable value. that makes me very happy.

toodles!

colin pantall said...

Ha ha - I remember the kid - he was the one you kept running up to and shouting "A gingerbread man with electric muscles called Alan Taylor." I remember them leaving the room as well - I thought it was from disgust at the lack of analytical insight into the books, Bath's a bit like that, but it wasn't. Being sick is good, but what comes next - fainting, comas and death and an author crazed by his own power!

Anyway, my daughter Isabel has a message for you.

"Maybe you could write a book called Mr Gum and the voice in the Dark. Mr Gum loses his voice and sees how horrible he's been and turns nice but in a month he forgets about it and turns bad again because he forgot that the voice had told him that. Polly and Friday help to realise how horrible he's been. He steals a toy from Polly.

Your books are very good and I love them and I'm reading one of them at the moment."

a relevant individual said...

oh, analytical insight, schmanalytical insight. i could do that 'til the cows come home; but who needs it? much more fun to let everyone draw their own conclusions.

thanks for the idea, isabel! strangely enough, i have actually been thinking about doing a story where mr gum turns good... but we'll see. i do love your title though. 'the voice in the dark' - that's really mysterious and spoooooky.

yours sincerely

-me