Michael Morpurgo’s 10 Rules For Writers

Enjoy reading English author, Michael Morpurgo’s 10 rules for writers.

Michael Morpurgo (born 5 October 1943) is an English author, poet, playwright, and librettist, best known for his work in children’s literature. He is the author of War Horse.

Five of his novels have been made into films and he was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to literature. His recent works include Half a Man, An Eagle in the Snow, and Flamingo Boy.

Morpurgo‘s writing is noted for its ‘magical storytelling’. He includes themes like ‘the triumph of an outsider’ or ‘survival’ in his books. His novels have been set in places like the vivid Cornish coast and during World War I. He served as the third Children’s Laureate, from 2003 to 2005.

Michael Morpurgo’s 10 Rules For Writers

  1. The prerequisite for me is to keep my well of ideas full. This means living as full and varied a life as possible, to have my antennae out all the time.
  2. Ted Hughes gave me this advice and it works wonders: record moments, fleeting impressions, overheard dialogue, your own sadnesses and bewilderments and joys.
  3. A notion for a story is for me a confluence of real events, historical perhaps, or from my own memory to create an exciting fusion.
  4. It is the gestation time which counts.
  5. Once the skeleton of the story is ready I begin talking about it, mostly to Clare, my wife, sounding her out.
  6. By the time I sit down and face the blank page I am raring to go. I tell it as if I’m talking to my best friend or one of my grandchildren.
  7. Once a chapter is scribbled down rough – I write very small so I don’t have to turn the page and face the next empty one – Clare puts it on the word processor, prints it out, sometimes with her own comments added.
  8. When I’m deep inside a story, ­living it as I write, I honestly don’t know what will happen. I try not to dictate it, not to play God.
  9. Once the book is finished in its first draft, I read it out loud to myself. How it sounds is hugely important.
  10. With all editing, no matter how sensitive – and I’ve been very lucky here – I react sulkily at first, but then I settle down and get on with it, and a year later I have my book in my hand.

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 by Amanda Patterson

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