Tuesday, March 9, 2010

0 Invisible Writing vs. Dull Writing

Lately, in reading about the art of children's writing, I have come across the phrase "invisible writing" several times. I spit on that phrase! (Ptoooie, Ptoooie, Ptoooie, in the words of my friend Debby Waldman!) Writing for children should be invisible only to the extent that the writer should remove anything (and everything!) from the text that could pull the reader out of the story or interfere with the reader's ability to "picture" exactly what is happening. That is the essence of revision. On the other hand, I believe that children's books should contain the most lovely, playful, rhythmic and vivid language of any work being published. And that's part of revision, too. If we don't expose children to the beauty of language while they are children, their adult worlds will be painted in duller colors.


P.S. - Here are a few of my favorite passages (SOOOO hard to choose!!!):

Nothing was said. Just a silence in reply, that echoed of dust and loneliness. Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. We’ve got to forgive ourselves that. I must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of grey to work with. No one can live in the light all the time. Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty

It seemed to travel with her, to sweep her aloft in the power of song, so that she was moving in glory among the stars, and for a moment she, too, felt that the words Darkness and Light had no meaning, and only this melody was real. Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses it turning. Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

That very next morning, when there was nothing left of the Equinoxes, because the Precession had preceded according to precedent, this 'satiable Elephant's Child took a hundred pounds of bananas (the little short red kind), and a hundred pounds of sugar-cane (the long purple kind), and seventeen melons (the greeny-crackly kind), and said to all his dear families, 'Goodbye. I am going to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to find out what the Crocodile has for dinner.' And they all spanked him once more for luck, though he asked them most politely to stop. Rudyard Kipling, The Elephant's Child

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