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The reason why: page 7 in shiny happy colour

The reason why I went to the moon for my birthday, page 7 in colour

I love Dr. Seuss books. I like his limited colour palette and large areas of flat colour, so I copied him a bit. I’d like to know what you what you think. Does it work? Does it make you happy? Do you wish I had used some purple? (This book will contain no purple.)

The reason you’re getting a coloured page is that I have hired a successful children’s author to look at my story and tell me if it’s any good or not and recommend changes that will help it on it’s way to publication. I want her to have an idea of how the finished pages will look and there is no way I’m going to keep this little treat from you.

Here is a comparison of the original scan and the tidied and coloured page:

The reason why I went to the moon for my birthday, page 7 comparison


24 June 2015
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The reason why: page 12

The reason why I went to the moon for my birthday, page 12

I haven’t died.

During the last nine months I did a little graphic design project that turned into a massive design project and earned three GCSEs (probably – results day is 20 August). I also rewrote the second half of this book. Twice. I think it is a much stronger story now.

Now I’m back and I’m so happy to be working working on the book again!

Updates may not be weekly quite yet. Over the next week I will be getting the book ready to show to a professional editor that I am planning to hire for a consultation. It may be two or three weeks until the next page but it will definitely be less than nine months.


18 June 2015
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Creativity #40

Immerse yourself in the medium and the message will emerge. (This is the converse of #12.)


3 June 2015
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Creativity #39

Children who are allowed to are always making things and adventures. Ask a child why they make things and adventures and they won’t be able to give you a PROPER REASON. That’s because only adults are stupid enough to need a reason for making things. The fact that you are human is the reason to make things. (For lots more good thinking in this direction, listen to this conversation between Rob Bell and Elizabeth Gilbert.)


3 June 2015
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This site contains cookies

People often ask me two questions. The first is: Did you make these chocolate chip cookies yourself? I reply, Yes, with an appropriate amount of honesty. The second question is: Can I have the recipe? My answer is, Yes, you can have what is probably the best chocolate chip recipe in the world.

The ingredients are listed in a mix of American and British measurements, so you might need to use this.

Get a big bowl, and put this stuff in it:

Mix them all up. Don’t taste it yet; it’s too slimy and gloopy.

Now add this stuff:

Mix again. Tasting is good to do now.

Chop up 300 g of really good chocolate, 2/3 milk chocolate and 1/3 70% cocoa plain chocolate. If you are living in North America and you are tempted to use chocolate chips or anything that has Hershey’s written on the label, resist. Put the chocolate in the bowl and mix one last time.

Grab some dough, make a ball and put it on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat about 35 times. Bake all those little balls for about 9 minutes at 190°C.

Eat all that you can within a couple hours. Store the leftovers in an airtight container.

Your results may vary.

You’re welcome.


24 February 2015

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In which Neil Gaiman explains the quick and easy way to become a writer

Someone asked Neil Gaiman for writing advice because he found it difficult to get his thoughts onto paper. Gaiman replied:

Write the ideas down. If they are going to be stories, try and tell the stories you would like to read. Finish the things you start to write. Do it a lot and you will be a writer. The only way to do it is to do it.

I’m just kidding. There are much easier ways of doing it. For example: (This is where you click to go to Gaiman’s Tumblr and read the brilliance contained therein)


14 January 2015
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Creativity #38

Reject the idea that your identity is ‘consumer’. Become annoyed whenever you are referred to as a ‘consumer’.


14 November 2014
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TRUE

A comic by Richard Thomson about trying to think of a funny comic

By Richard Thomson. Found at Illustration Art


1 October 2014
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‘We've got… music so I can exaggerate my pain and give it a name’

—U2, ‘The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)’

I like stories where stuff happens – sci-fi, children’s book, comics. The Lord of the Rings is great, except for the part where Frodo and Sam are moping around outside Mordor for half a book. All the tension drains into a puddle of tedium into which I shout that the hobbit boys seriously need to have a good long kiss and then hurl themselves up Mount Doom with a fervour fuelled by reckless loving ecstasy.

I’m not saying I must have nonstop action. I love Bill Murray films. He spends half his films doing nothing, but somehow he makes nothing feel big and important.

Last summer I read Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy pretty much without stopping, but this year I couldn’t get through Ness’ The Crane Wife. The writing was superb, but nothing that happened felt big enough to keep my attention. When I was a teenager I read the first quarter of Great Expectations, during which No Discernible Action Took Place, so I stopped reading. I haven’t tried anything Dickens since then, but I’ve read a ton of Terry Pratchett.

It’s probably because I’m immature.

I like big feels. I love Kitten because all Chaidez’s songs – even the quiet ones – manage to seem bigger than life but without slipping into pastiche. That’s what my favourite kinds of books do too. Right now I’m reading A Monster Calls, another book by Patrick Ness. It’s got a yew tree turning into a huge monster right at the beginning and a mum dying of cancer and conflict with a best friend and a bully that totally has the upper hand and an absent father who’s back on the scene and a difficult grandmother. Stuff happens in every chapter, and it all feels big. It’s wonderful.

It’s also stuffed full of great lines like these:

Quote from A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Quote from A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The illustrations are superb.

I’ll finish with a question. Do you get excited about Dickens and small actions that feel small and lots of description? I’d honestly be grateful if you could explain to me how that works, because I’m missing that part of my brain. Only can you be sure your explanation has good pacing and feels kind of epic?


17 September 2014
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I bet Mika read Hop on Pop when he was a little boy (because putting obscure-ish pop music references in children’s book posts definitely draws the reader in)

Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss is a collection of fun storylets for very young readers. What the little stories teach is not without controversy. Earlier this year someone in Toronto asked the library to ban the book and apologise to fathers for promoting violence, yes violence, against poor helpless dads who have been hopped upon by their offspring. How silly.

I want to show you the story of Mr Brown (p.42–51). Mr Brown is living in an amiable but chaste marriage to Mrs Brown. Then some event turns his life upside down. We assume it is somehow precipitated by a manic pixie dream girl in the form of Pup.

Hop on Pop, p.42–43

Pup then facilitates Mr Brown leaving his life and wife behind for a journey of self-discovery.

Hop on Pop, p.44–45

Hop on Pop, p.46–47

We don’t know what happens out of town, but Mr Brown returns from his journey arm-in-arm with someone new.

Hop on Pop, p.48–49

And if we’re in any doubt about the nature of their relationship, we need only have a look at their snack.

Hop on Pop, p.50–51

While I’m pleased to see Mr Brown to accept his true identity, This story has some serious problems.

‘How silly!’ you say, ‘My young reader will never notice.’ That’s okay. Dr Seuss was all about silly. He also knew how to slip in some serious without becoming overbearing.

Someone else wrote about this before, but I came to most of my conclusions before I read it.

Part of Mother, Daughter and Son Book Reviews’ Kid Lit Blog Hop 45.


10 September 2014
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