In February 2018 Padraig Kenny published his debut children’s literature title Tin, and it not only won Waterstones Book of the Month but it was also nominated for the Carnegie. In April 2019 Padraig’s second middle grade title was published, and Pog became the Independent Bookseller’s Book of the Month. This month has seen the publication of The Monsters of Rookhaven, and there is no doubt that this is once again award winning material from this incredibly talented writer, especially given how powerful this story is. Readers will delight in the adventure that awaits them as they come to love main character Mirabelle. It gives me great pleasure to share the following feature on my blog, detailing Padraig’s writing tips, focusing specifically on the best way to progress a blank page. Written entirely by the author himself, these are brilliant tips for budding writers and established writers alike.
Five tips for facing the blank page.
- First off, if you’re faced with a blank page do yourself a favour and walk away from it. The worst thing you can do as a writer is sit in front of a screen and hope that inspiration might strike. Often you’ll just sit there glaring at the screen/page becoming more and more annoyed with yourself that something isn’t happening. Move away from the page, slowly, steadily, and don’t look back.
- Now you can go for a walk. I walk a lot and I find that once I get into a good walking rhythm the world around me just slips away and find myself daydreaming. Walking is how I discovered the idea for my first book. Walking is also how I unravelled the plot problems with The Monsters of Rookhaven. Walking and daydreaming is how one day I was so wrapped up in something that I walked straight into a lamp post and had to go to A&E, so maybe pay a little more attention to your surroundings than I did.
- If you listen to music then maybe take a break and do that. I find music inspires me to find a mood for my book, a kind of overall tone that I strive for, an atmosphere that I’d like to create or that helps me unlock the story. When writing The Monsters of Rookhaven I was stuck at a particular point but a song by Hilary Woods called Inhaler unlocked everything for me because it set just the right mood and suggested images to me.
- If you have a dishwasher throw it out. I get some of my best ideas when doing the washing up. Doing really mundane tasks always helps me think through problems, or, on really good days, can suggest a whole new story to me. When you’re doing boring jobs part of your brain switches off and the subconscious story part of your brain kicks in. I do loads of washing up.
- If you’re stuck on a part of a story you might be feeling anxious and frustrated. Some people call it writer’s block, but I think it’s not so much that as a writer’s fear of moving forward. It’s not a lack of inspiration but more a lack of confidence. So, if you’re stuck, write something, anything to move the story forward, suddenly you’ll find things start moving again. You’ll be afraid that the new bit you’ve written is rubbish, but here’s the thing – I can guarantee when you look back at the point you were stuck you won’t see the join or you may even have forgotten completely what point you’d gotten stuck at.
The Monsters of Rookhaven is available to purchase now, and is published by Macmillan.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour for #TheMonstersOfRookhaven – details below.
A massive to Padraig and Macmillan for giving me this incredible opportunity.