We’ve been sharing posts from Lois Elsden about her attempts to engage young people in reading; she was teaching students who could read, but wouldn’t. In order to ‘hook’ them as readers, she wrote a weekly serial with a cliff-hanger ending; her third story had another purpose::
My final story which was written for a different purpose was THE STORY OF RUFUS REDMAYNE. As well as telling the story of Rufus and his adventures in Camel Wood, it was an exercise in writing for different purposes and different audiences. The first chapter is a straightforward narrative written as a story for young teens; the second in the style of fantasy story, with hints of were-wolves and strange creatures lurking in the old forest. The third chapter is written as a fairy tale with archaic language and the sort of repeated phrases there might be in what was originally an oral tale.
The third chapter is a newspaper report and subsequent chapters are written as dialogues, scenes from plays, TV news reports, chapters from a local history book, diaries … And the narrator varies, Rufus, the forester Jack Green, me as the author… With all this contrivance the story still had to carry the reader on, still had to have the cliff hanging end of chapter, still had to engage and intrigue the readers, and carry them through not just to the dénouement but to the very last words as spoken by old Ruby Redmayne, Rufus’s grandma.
The novels I am writing and publishing now may not be exercises in punctuation, grammar, creative writing and improving reading… but I still need to be aware of my audience, to engage my readers and keep them reading. They may not tell me to f*** off if they don’t like what I write, they may not throw things at me – except metaphorically – but I still need them to follow me through my narrative… once they have taken the bait I need to keep them hooked until I have landed them safely at the end of my story!
To read Lois’s e-books for grown-ups, follow this link: