My Characters Have Taken Over My Story!
I have on many occasions read about or heard authors talking about how their story characters seem to “come to life” or “take over the direction of the story” all by themselves. While it sounds fascinating, I have only one thought when I hear this:
If only that was the case, I’d simply write a pen into each characters hand - here you go, Amy, here’s a pen - and let them write the books themselves. I would then go to a spectacular beach somewhere .
But before we get into all that, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Glenn McDougall and I was lucky enough to have had MPI and SEG ask me to write their new series of graded readers, called Building Blocks Library (BBL).
I worked as a newspaper journalist in South Africa for many years before I migrated to Australia. I kept on writing short stories in Australia while I worked in IT, and ended up tutoring a Creative Writing Course at a university.
Since then I have written or co-written a number of titles in Japan, including the award winning Gorsch the Cellist, Funny Alphabet World, and the We Can! series of coursebooks.
It was a real honor to be asked to do it, and it has been a real pleasure, too. Well ... most of it.
BBL is a nine-level series (62 books) of carefully graded readers based on the lives and adventures of a close group of school friends.
The first three levels (26 books) are easy, fun phonics readers, and although the characters do appear here and there as small children, they are not the main event, as the stories are too simple to introduce them properly.
Levels 1, 2 and 3 have been for sale since August 2009.
The remaining six levels are illustrated storybooks, ranging from 200 words (level 4) to 3,500 words (the end of level 9).
We hope to have levels 4 and 5 available in June this year.
(Of course that’s if the characters don’t decided to change the stories at the last minute, and we can actually get them printed in time.)
I have been working on the project full-time for over eighteen months now. Fifty-six books in the series are written - only 6 more to write. Only. Six. More. Now, what are those kids going to get up to next?
Kids? Ah, yes. That brings us back to characters.