"Teleportation in the rain" - Why I write for Teenagers
By Tim Flanagan
Writing for teenagers is refreshing!
It provides me, as a writer, with a lot more freedom to write ideas and possibilities than I could ever get away with in an adult book. Teenagers are much more likely to accept things that an adult’s methodical and scientific brain would be closed off to. With children there is no ‘that’s not possible,’ or ‘he wouldn’t do that,’ or ‘because of the erratic nature of ions it would not be physically possible for teleportation to occur when it rains.’
As a teen I read loads of books. I read whatever I could get my hands on. I particularly loved to read comics – they were pure imagination and fantasy. It was an exciting moment for me when I would visit the local Virgin Megastore and buy a DC Comic. I always went for the ones in plastic covers, so that I could keep them in perfect condition. Other things I read – Sherlock Holmes, Action Man and the odd Dragonlance book.
But, despite reading loads, my English teacher had a problem with me.
When I was about 14 years old my English teacher said that I could never compose complete sentences, so being a stubborn person, I set out to prove him wrong. I remember sitting in my bedroom spending ages writing the greatest piece of descriptive work I possibly could about a tree. Yes, you read it right - a tree. The thesaurus had never been used so much! But the important thing was that I went back over the 500 word piece of writing and edited it several times, joining the short sentences together to improve it. I realized that I couldn’t write as fast as my brain worked, so editing and rewriting were vital if I wanted to improve the structure and flow of my work.
The next piece I wrote was a fantasy story that ended up being a lot longer than was required (don’t they always!). After I had handed in the masterpiece I had called ‘The Citadel’ (together with an artistically drawn front cover) the English teacher stopped me in the corridor as I was going for my lunch break and asked if I had really written it. He then gave me the highest mark possible for it and from then on we seemed to have a reasonable appreciation of each other.
It was quite some time later when I went back to fantasy novels. After university I wrote a couple of medical textbooks, but let’s be honest, they’re pretty boring. For my own pleasure I had continued to write many different things including an Agatha Christie-style whodunit, as well as a rather depressing story that was supposed to be a love story, but many of them still sit unfinished in a folder. One of the reasons I think I got bored with them was because they were restricting in many ways for me as the writer.
Things changed for me one morning in the bathroom two years ago when my son James and I came up with the idea for The Moon Stealers. He was only 9 years old at the time. We were getting ready to go out and he asked me to tell him a story. I plucked the name The Moon Stealers out of thin air and by the time we had finished getting ready we had the whole idea for the story mapped out.
James wanted to draw some pictures based on the story, so I started writing some bits down, but I soon realized it was going to be much longer than a few pages. Throughout the entire process of writing the books, he still goes through every chapter I write with a pencil, looking for errors or making suggestions. He loves the fact that he gets to read them before anyone else in the whole world. It’s even given him some additional ‘street cred’ at school!
They always say that a writer should write what they know, but I don’t totally agree with that. You should write what you enjoy. Writing for teenagers takes me back to my childhood. It awakens the excitement I used to get from the comics I read or the tingles I felt when I heard the first chord of the Star Wars theme tune. To a child anything is possible. And, as a writer, that’s exciting.
Writing is inspiring. Children are refreshing. Freedom to write what you want is liberating.
Sentences are sometimes short.
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BOOKS FOR GIVEAWAY
5 sets of all 3 Kindle ebooks in The Moon Stealer series.
The series starts when a meteorite containing an alien bacteria lands on earth. This bacteria evolves into something that is deadly to the human race and very quickly puts our future survival into question. The overall story is one of survival and the human spirit, and is taken from two different points of view - adults who look for a scientific solution to the problem and children who take a more magic view. The story includes elements of ancient myths and legends that are rooted deep in the English history and culture, including King Arthur, Witches and Faeries.
The fourth and final book in the series is due for release at the end of 2013.
TheMoon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough (Book 1)
TheMoon Stealers and the Queen of the Underworld (Book 2)
TheMoon Stealers and the Everlasting Night (Book 3)
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At some point in Tim’s childhood, he was abducted by aliens and sent on a voyage of knowledge and discovery across the universe. As an adult, persistent memories of new worlds, dragons and other creatures desperately tried to break out, so he began writing. He has successfully infiltrated the humans and hides behind the façade known as a family. He learns from his children, but is regularly told to stop acting like a child by his wife. Naturally shy and unsociable by nature, he prefers to be around old books, bonsai and art. He likes to catch up with old acquaintances on Tatooine, Westeros and Middle Earth. Tim's galactic mission is to translate his brain activity into a language that inspires and entertains you, transports you to different worlds and grants you an audience with the characters you have dreamt about, but never dared to remember. All of this in an attempt to redeem himself with his childhood alien abductors and travel the stars once more.
Current projects he is working on:
The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown (humorous detective story + illustrations) - release 15 November 2013
Book 4 in the Moon Stealers series - release December 2013
Then for 2014:
YA Futuristic London Underground story + illustrations
YA London Dragon book set in 1600's
(Possible) 2nd detective story + illustrations
Marketing for Authors - resource directory
Omnibus edition of all 4 Moon Stealer books, plus extra info, maps and appendices
2nd Edition of a Medical Textbook (Update from one I wrote in 2007)
Phew! - think that’s everything!