Writing

I've written stories for many years in one form or another. It began as cartooning, and as you can see from my blog I'm still influenced by them. A cartoon is a little story within itself. The great thing about it is you can say a lot in a small space.

Writing screenplays seemed like a natural extension toward a longer form. Film is obviously a visual medium, and the writing has to be succinct - almost too succinct sometimes. You sacrifice a bit to keep the page count down to the magical 100 pages (which equates to approximately 100 minutes on screen).

The difficulties of actually getting a film made (primarily the millions of dollars it takes to produce) finally pushed me into something that I'd always wanted to do but was scared to - write a book. Now that I've done one, the only thing stopping me is procrastination and my other job (the one that actually makes money).

Books take longer to write than screenplays. What's also taken a while, is figuring out what you really want to write about. I've written stories that can be classified as thrillers, historical dramas, action/adventures, straight comedy, black comedy ...

I've come to realize that my preferred genres revolve around comedy and family. The history of storytelling began thousands of years ago. People, often children, would learn valuable life lessons through an elder re-telling a (usually) fictional story. I like this idea - and I try to uphold it to some extent in my own writing. Too often I read episodic "stories" that have no intrinsic value. A common example are those factory line series books that seem to be just churned out. The only good thing about them is that they do get boys to read. I just think stories for boys can be better than that.














What stories do I love? Many things by Roald Dahl. The BFG is a favourite. Super Ninja Alien Robot Monsters by this guy called Jeff Bilman is pretty awesome too. Whilst often for a younger audience, I still love Dr Suess - books like 'The Lorax' and 'Oh, the places you'll go' have a message and are fun.

I have two boys. I therefore write with them in mind. I don't understand girls as I do boys, but I do have four older nieces so I always try to include female characters. They tend to be secondary characters - nevertheless strong and independent and whom demand respect (and eventually get it).

Books for 7-12 Year Olds

Looking through bookshops I've noticed there seems to be a 'line drawn in the sand' between books marked for 7-9 year olds and 10-12 year olds. The younger books have a lot of pictures, very simple stories, and simple words and grammar. Then you cross the shelf to the 8-12 year old section and the difference can be stark. The stories and grammar are much more complex, the pictures are generally gone, and the books are much thicker - catering for the developmental differences between the groups.

The problem I had was finding an 'in-between' book. I was looking for a new book for my 8 year old, who is a very good reader for his age. I was stuck between the two book shelves. There were few books that appealed (admittedly, to me). The younger books seemed too young, and the older books, too old.

The other issue I had with the younger books was that, as an adult, I generally didn't enjoy them. And part of our bed time reading was often either Mum or Dad reading a chapter to our son. You know when you go and see an animated movie nowadays, they generally have an appeal on an adult level and a child level. Well, that wasn't happening for either Mum or Dad with most of these books.

So that's how SUPER NINJA ALIEN ROBOT MONSTERS came about.

It's currently available as both an e-book for Kindle and paperback on Amazon. If you live in Australia you can also get the print version from my Australian store at my writer website, since postage to Australia from Amazon is expensive.