Diana Wynne Jones Essays

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They are asked for this effort every hour of every school day and, though they may not make the effort willingly, they at least expect it.

In addition, nearly everyone between the ages of nine and fifteen is amazingly good at solving puzzles and following complicated plots - this being the happy result of many hours spent at computer games and watching television. I can make my plots for them as complex as I please, and yet I know I never have to explain them more than once (or twice at the very most).

Most of these were quite as irrational as the shame of a grown man caught reading teenage fiction.

They ran right across the board, too, and affected almost everything: from the length of the book to its style and subject matter.

A long book, it follows, is going to be read in bits.

Therefore you have to keep reminding your readers of things, even if they do use their brains.In neither case are they assumed to be enjoying the book for its own sake.Silly though this seemed, it struck me as hard on them.At first I thought it was my own assumption, based on personal experiences.Once when I was doing a signing, a mother came in with her nine-year-old son and berated me for making The Homeward Bounders so difficult. It was just her that didn't." It was clear to both of us that his poor mother had given up using her brain when she read.And as for having my world there in detail, it was when I realized that I was actually being deterred from considering the sequel by the assumption that adults have to be reminded of the plot and action of Book First between the lines of Book Second - this despite a host of really good ideas - that I began to feel this was absurd.When I wrote Drowned Ammet I did not feel it necessary to recapitulate Cart and Cwidder: It would have been largely irrelevant anyway. It was around this area that I began to run foul of the assumptions of my would-be editor as well as my own.Now, having come to my senses and started to think about these assumptions, I ask myself why.A book should conclude satisfactorily; to leave the ending for the next volume is cynical (and annoying for readers).To take the most obvious first: I found myself thinking as I wrote, "These poor adults are never going to understand this; I must explain it to them twice more and then remind them again later in different terms." Now this is something I never have to think when I write for younger readers.Children are used to making an effort to understand.


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