Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books in lots of weird genres like fantasy (Blood of Kings and Kinsman Chronicles), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or on her author website. You can also try two of her fantasy novels for free here and here.
Three days left to finish my rewrite. And since it's September 13, and September 13 was Roald Dahl's birthday and is now Roald Dahl Day, I'm celebrating the literary legend.
Roald Dalh grew up in England. He moved to Africa at the age of eighteen to work for Shell Oil Company. After that he was a fighter pilot in World War II. As if all that wasn't adventure enough, when he was twenty-six he moved to America and began to write. (This is especially sweet to me, because I also started writing later in life. I started at the age of twenty-eight.)
Roald was twenty-seven when he published his first book, The Gremlins, which was about little creatures from the Royal Air Force. Walt Disney started making a film based on the book, but it never got made. Click here to see a cool picture (that I was afraid to use, because Disney) of a very young Roald and Walt with some stuffed Gremlins. (It's the second picture in the post, so you have to scroll down a bit.) Random Factoid #1: The 1984 Spielberg movie Gremlins was loosely inspired by Roald's mischievous little creatures. Random Factoid #2: You can see the original gremlins in the Epic Mickey video games. My kids were super excited to discover this. (Google "Epic Mickey Gremlins." They're cute.)
|Photo by Carl Van Vechten, 20 April 1954|
Roald went on to write short stories about his war experiences for The Saturday Evening Post, and for years he wrote for adults. It wasn't until 1960, when he was living in England again, that he started publishing children's books again, beginning with James and the Giant Peach in 1961. Some of my favorite Dahl books are The BFG, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
Roald also wrote two screenplays. One for the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice (which is the one where Sean Connery has to fight the Japanese ninjas) and the other for the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (about a fine, four-fendered flying car), both based on books by Ian Fleming. Roald also wrote for television.
Talk about an amazing and inspiring career. You can learn more about Roald Dahl on his website.
Seven Writing Tips From Roald Dahl
I found these tips as part of an extra in the back of the book The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, where Roald talks about how he became a writer.
"You should have a lively imagination."
"You should be able to write well. By that I mean you should be able to make a scene come alive in the reader's mind. Not everybody has this ability. It is a gift, and you either have it or you don't."
"You must have stamina. In other words, you must be able to stick to what you are doing and never give up, for hour after hour, day after day, week after week, and month after month."
"You must be a perfectionist. That means you must never be satisfied with what you have written until you have rewritten it again and again, making it as good as you possibly can."
"You must have strong self-discipline. You are working alone. No one is employing you. No one is around to give you the sack if you don't turn up for work, or to tick you off if you start slacking."
"It helps a lot if you have a keen sense of humor. This is not essential when writing for grown-ups, but for children, it's vital."
"You must have a degree of humility. The writer who thinks that his work is marvelous is heading for trouble."
What's your favorite Roald Dahl book? Share in the comments. Mine is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
[FYI, my sources are: Roald Dah's bio in the back of The BFG, the extra section in the back of the book The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, and Roald Dahl's Wikipedia page.]