Louis Sachar

  • Sep. 27th, 2010 at 12:21 PM
beth_shulman: (meg powers)
"An idea doesn't die... It exists somewhere, in its own dimension, waiting to be perceived." (The Cardturner)
beth_shulman: (meg powers)
Most reviewers have remarked on the clever name of the main character, Stanley Yelnats, whose name is spelled the same frontward and backward. That's not clever. That's just spelling a name backward. I did it because I was so caught up in creating the story, I didn't want to stop my train of thought to think of the main character's last name. So I just wrote his first name backward, and went on, figuring I'd change it later...

People often ask me how I managed to tie everything together at the end, but that wasn't the hard part. I knew how everything was going to fit together. The hard part was laying out the strands throughout the story; of telling the story of Kate Barlow, and of Elya Yelnats, and Elya's son, without it getting in the way of Stanley's story. And then trying to make Stanley's story interesting, when all he does is dig holes, all day, every day. How many times did I write, "He dug his shovel into the dirt"? ...

So what exactly was I trying to accomplish with Holes? That's something else I've been asked by a number of different reporters over the last several months. What do I want kids to learn from the book? What was my message? What morals am I hoping to teach children?

I seemed to give a particularly good answer when I spoke to the Houston Chronicle. The reporter reported that I said, "The best morals kids get from any book is just the capacity to empathize with other people, to care about the characters and their feelings. So you don't have to write a preachy book to do that. You just make it a fun book with characters they care about, and they will become better people as a result."

I always have a difficult time answering interviewers' questions - especially on TV where I'm given thirty seconds to tell the audience what my book is about - but I also have trouble with newspapers as well. So I was proud that I was able to come up with a good answer to that question, and, in fact, I believe it's true. I think I heard Jim Trelease say it once. But that certainly was not on my mind when I was writing Holes. I was just struggling to write the story.

It's hard to imagine anyone asking an author of an adult novel what morals or lessons he or she was trying to teach the reader.

But there is a perception that if you write for young people, then the book should be a lesson of some sort, a learning experience, a step toward something else.

It's not just reporters who feel this way. Some teachers and possibly even the students themselves believe this. Some fan letters read like class assignments. I received one recently that said something like, "Your book taught me that the acts of your great-great-grandfather can affect your life." Here, it seemed, the teacher required the students to write a letter to an author and say what lessons they learned from the book.

Well, I didn't write the book for the purpose of teaching kids that something their great-great-grandparents did long ago might have cursed them and their descendants for all eternity. I included the curse only because I think most adolescents can identify with the feeling that their lives must be cursed.

The book was written for the sake of the book, and nothing beyond that. If there's any lesson at all, it is that reading is fun.

Source

Louis Sachar

  • Jun. 5th, 2010 at 11:21 PM
beth_shulman: (meg powers)
"The best morals kids get from any book is just the capacity to empathize with other people, to care about the characters and their feelings. So you don’t have to write a preachy book to do that. You just have to make it a fun book with characters they care about, and they will become better people as a result."

Profile

beth_shulman: (Default)
[personal profile] beth_shulman
beth_shulman

Latest Month

April 2017
S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      

Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios
Designed by [personal profile] chasethestars