Is character just science?

Is character just science?

I’m writing a YA novel where the main protagonist is fascinated by how the brain works.  His older brother, a bit of a London street boy, was shunted through a windscreen five years earlier and the accident shatters the family’s fragile balance.  This article questioning the effectiveness of using neuroscience in fiction gave me something to chew over.

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April 28, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Multi-heritage stories

Multi-heritage stories

Purloined from saturday’s ‘Guardian’, the peer Oona King talks about her multiheritage family experiences.  African-American, Jewish, London, Italian – her family stories span the globe, rather like mine.

Families in the UK are incorporating increasingly diverse national histories, ethnic identities, skin colours, hair types.  Do our children and young adult books reflect this?

April 22, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Alice in Chain(mail)

Can my kids see Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’?

It was a full house in Islington Vue when we saw this one – me, my 10-year-old daughter and my partner who would happily avoid fantasy in favour of sci-fi or Spike Lee.  But – it’s hard to find a film that we can all see of a Saturday night, so it was either Alice or leaving my daughter munching popcorn in the foyer for a couple of hours while we popped in to ‘Shutter Island’.  She wasn’t keen on that idea.

It was 3D, though I’d forgotten my glasses so the screen was the same colouful blur whether or not I wore the 3D goggles.

So what will your children like?  Well, it looks like someone’s stuck a camera straight into a child’s imagination.  The visuals are great.  The story’s not too hard to follow if simplicity’s your thing and you don’t want to keep answering questions about what’s happening.  Or, in my case, asking them.  And a double Matt Lucas was relatively unpainful.  If your children do gruesome, there’s a popped out eyeball and a bit of Jabberwocky slaying at the end.  And they’ll probably be mutterwhacking futterwhacking for a while afterwards.

Cringe moments?  Well, my daughter started to shift away from me after my constant nudging her – ‘That sounds like  Snape in ‘Harry Potter’?’ ‘Which one’s Peggy from ‘Eastenders’?’  ‘Weren’t they in ‘Stardust’/’Princess Diaries’/Oooh, that’s Sauraman from ‘Lord of the Rings’! Why does Johnny Depp’s accent keep changing?’

Nope, I just wasn’t engrossed in the story.  The film also offers some wonderfully detailed tips to children on how to destroy their mates’ birthday parties.  And you might have to explain what a corset is and whether or not people really do have big heads.

Cringe Factor – 3 (mainly from Anne Hathaway’s acting)

Gruesome Factor – 4 ( a rolling eyeball in 3D)

Parents Endurance Factor – 1 (enjoyed it, though still mourning ‘Shutter Island’)

April 14, 2010. Tags: , , , . 12A, film, parenting. Leave a comment.

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April 14, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.