word craft


Summer Blog Series: Avi

As I did last sum­mer, I’ve invit­ed 13 admired mid­dle grade authors to write for my blog for the next three months. I hope you’ll tune in each Tues­day to see who has answered these three ques­tions. You should have a list of ter­rif­ic books to read and share by the end of the sum­mer … along with new authors to follow!

Your favorite book on writing:

The one book about writ­ing that I have found most help­ful to me is Aspects of the Nov­el by E.M. Forster. (Among his own illus­tri­ous and well-known nov­els are Pas­sage to India, Howard’s End, A Room of One’s Own.) Based on a lec­ture series Forster gave in 1927, the sev­en aspects he dis­cuss­es are sto­ry, peo­ple, plot, fan­ta­sy, prophe­cy, pat­tern, and rhythm.

In no sense of the word is this short vol­ume a “how to do” book. Rather, Forster presents ways of think­ing about the nov­el, bro­ken down into its var­i­ous aspects. That said, if he gets you to think about those aspects slight­ly dif­fer­ent­ly than you usu­al­ly do, it may help you extri­cate your­self from par­tic­u­lar prob­lems. They are also help­ful when think­ing about the nov­els you are read­ing. The fact that these were lec­tures deliv­ered almost a hun­dred years ago in no way detracts from lit­er­ary wisdom.

Aspects of the Novel E.M. Forster
Reading aloud from my books:

Of all my books which teach­ers, librar­i­ans, and par­ents tell me they most enjoy read­ing aloud to kids, are my Pop­py books. In fact, I have heard from many who have read the whole series to their stu­dents in the course of a year. 

Though the books were not com­posed in sequence, the sev­en books as they exist today, have an over-arch­ing sto­ry­line, begin­ning with Rag­weed and end­ing with Pop­py and Ereth, sev­en books in all. 

That said, many read­ers begin with the third (and short­est) book in the series, Pop­py. In par­tic­u­lar, kids enjoy the non­sense swear­ing by the grumpy Ereth the Porcupine. 

For old­er kids, the two-vol­ume Beyond the West­ern Sea, with its short chap­ters and cliff-hang­ing struc­ture seems to engage many—including adults. 

Where do you write most often?
Avi's writing space

2 thoughts on “Summer Blog Series: Avi”

  1. Oh, I’m so hap­py you are doing this again! I look for­ward to read­ing all the posts. I tru­ly enjoyed last year’s series!


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