First They Were Bedtime Stories

Before these classic children’s books ended up on your kid’s shelf, they were told to children tucked in bed, Stacy Conradt writes in Mental Floss.

Pippi coverImage courtesy of Amazon

Pippi Longstocking and her famous plaits were born when Astrid Lindgren’s daughter Karin was bedridden due to an illness. “Tell me a story about Pippi Longstocking,” Karin told her mother, pulling a funny name out of thin air. “Since the name was remarkable, it had to be a remarkable girl,” Lindgren later said. Her own bed rest due to a sprained ankle inspired Lindgren to put the story down on paper in 1944, and Pippi was published in 1945.

Image cbabar coverCourtesy of Amazon

In 1930, Mathieu de Brunhoff told his mother he wasn’t feeling well. To help him feel better, Cecile de Brunhoff told little Mathieu and his brother a story about an orphaned elephant visiting Paris. Excited about the tale, the boys repeated it to their book illustrator father the next day, who thought the story had legs as a children’s book. Although it was slated to be published in 1931 with a byline for both Jean and Cecile, Cecile declined to take any credit, saying her role in creating the classic character was negligible.

The origins of some children’s books are bittersweet. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham, for example.

Grahame began The Wind in the Willows as a bedtime story for his young son, Alastair, which he later continued over a series of letters while Alastair was away at boarding school. But this may not be as charming as it sounds—some historians suggest that Grahame hid behind the stories in order to avoid dealing with his son’s emotional issues. For example, after Alastair begged his parents to allow him to visit for his birthday, Kenneth wrote, “I wish we could have all been together, but we shall meet again soon and then we shall have treats. Have you heard about the Toad? He was never taken prisoner by brigands at all. It was all a low trick of his…”

While attending Oxford in 1920, Alastair committed suicide by lying down on nearby train tracks and letting an oncoming train decapitate him.

Bedtime stories
 
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Bizarre Publishing Stories of 24 Famous Authors

Had a rejection lately? Feeling blue?… try browsing these stories. Smith Publicity has a fun webpage. “We tell stories anonymously so you can guess who it may have been.,” Brian Smith says.  “Then you hover your mouse over the card and it tells you which author it was.”

For example:
Criticized by his fellow writers for not being educated. Took over ten years to gain credibility and respect. Second most quoted writer. Who was that?

Well, I’ll give you that one:
Shakespeare
But who is the FIRST ‘most quoted writer’???  Oscar Wilde, mayhap…? Mark Twain? Who?

Rejection Blues

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London to Get Benches Depicting Famous Books

London is one of the most touristed cities in the world — some 3.4 million people visited our fair city in the first three months of 2013. During the spring and summer you can hardly walk down the sidewalk without tripping over a gaggle of tourists. Now, the literary charity National Literary Trust, “an independent charity tackling low literacy levels,” in partnership with Wild in Art (specialists in public art sculpture trails), is planning to add 50-70 “BookBenches” to London’s landscape, shaped like and depicting scenes from famous books.

Book bench frontBook bench illustrated

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book bench

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How they become their favorite fictional characters

Psychologists have discovered that while reading a book or story, Christine Hsu tells us in Medical Daily, people are prone to subconsciously adopt the behavior, thoughts, and beliefs of fictional characters as if they were their own.

Stories written in the first-person can temporarily transform the way readers view the world, themselves and other social groups.

You are the character

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Dog Eats Student’s Homework, Requires Surgery

You knew it had to happen sometime, didn’t you?

Watch the video

The dog ate my homework

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Real doesn’t mean raw

Many writers use incidents from real life in their writing, Patricia C. Wrede blogs, but it really happened’ is a terrible justification for doing anything in a novel if it’s the only justification for doing it.

There are a number of reasons for this, first and foremost the fact that real life doesn’t have to have a coherent plot (or make any sense at all, actually).

A lot of beginning writers find this more than a little confusing. They have been told repeatedly that real life is material; if it’s material, then surely it should go into their stories! What they don’t realize is that real life is raw material.

If you want to build a car, you don’t slap a bunch of iron ore, some sand, a rubber tree, and a couple of cows together and call it good; you have to take the raw materials and turn them into steel and glass and rubber and leather, and then into car parts and windshields and tires and seats, and then you have to put all those pieces together in the right places. Then you finally have a car.

Read the whole blog
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Alma Alexander

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