[star rating = 5/5]
A comic from the start, kids laugh hysterically as Ade Edmondson dances sideways on to the stage and continues right back off again pretending to leave. He stops and of course returns to entertain and inform; and does both during the next hour.
Edmondson is there to promote his latest book, Junkyard Jack and the Horse That Talked. But he is also there to impart some wisdom to this audience of would be authors.
“I try to be like a child because children are far more interesting people, they’ve got the imagination.. Grown ups stop having fun and get all serious and responsible.” he announces much to the kids’ delight.
He then goes on to inform this imaginative and eager crowd that he is going to provide them with 8 rules for writing. Rule 1, he explains, is, “All rules shall be broken”.
Edmondson recounts a time when he was back in school, an angry school, he remarks, where he and his friend made it their duty to break all the rules within the first 2 week. The kids laugh and the parents are left wondering where this is going with this.
Thankfully, for all, Edmondson’s rules are actually quite good advice for any budding and perhaps struggling writer. Here are some of them –
Write with your bottom – hysterics at the word bottom of course. “The hardest thing to do is to start.” He proffers. “You have to sit there and concentrate; resist distraction.” – He then tells of how he will sit down until he has written at least a paragraph, just one – he will then get up and do something else, perhaps flick rubber bands or play some records from his collection of over 1000 singles. He’ll then write another paragraph and then play some more, until before long, he has a whole page, and then a chapter. “You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done, but don’t get too distracted.” he warns.
Know your characters – “This is something I do that you might want to copy” he advises. He explains the importance of writing down everything you know about each of your characters, so that you will know what they will do in each situation they encounter in your story.
Edmondson goes on to describe where he got some of the inspiration for the characters in his current book. Jack is partly based on himself. He shows a photo of a 7-year-old Edmondson brandishing a toy gun and wearing a sword. A number of his own childhood adventures feature in the book, such as the junkyard of tyres where he (Jack) meets Boadicea, the talking horse.
The best of the show is yet to come; questions from the audience. It wasn’t so much the questions themselves, but the way they were asked and the delight in which Adrian answered them. My favourite was – “Do you write in your pyjamas?”.
The word fart appears often, much to the hilarity of the kids (and the adults), the book sounds very entertaining and it was wonderful to hear about the journey prior to publishing. Edmondson is the real deal, a proper kids (and adults) entertainer.
Junkyard Jack and The Horse That Talked, published by Puffin, June 2018, is for 7 – 9-year-olds but I’m sure parents will get a lot of amusement from it too.