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Submitted by visitors to this website

Posted by Bex

November 26th 2009

Dear Mr Nicholson Sorry to bother you again. As you may remember, I have a desire to either write screenplays or books and that I'm currently doing a course at college involving a task to ask someone that inspires us. I wanted to know If I could ask you a few questions to help backup my coursework? Many Thanks, Bex

William Nicholson responded:

Send the questions along.

Posted by 8R1 @ Grace Academy

November 26th 2009

Hello Mr Nicholson, My name is Miss Pike, an English teacher at Grace Academy. We are in our final lesson on the Wind Singer and we looked at your website in preparation for an essay question that I am setting. My class were interested in the questions and wanted to say hello and "how good your book is". They are interested to know whether the Rich and Mad book will be suitable for them to read at school in year 9 (aged 14)? They really loved reading your book and I found it excellent to teach. Thank you, Miss Pike and 8R1

William Nicholson responded:

I would be happier if you were to read it yourself first. The main characters are 17 years old, and full of insecurity and self-doubt. They want to love and be loved, they make mistakes and get hurt, but they end up deeply in love. The controversial element is that I don't skate over the sexual side of growing up. The book ends - happily, and very tenderly - with their first experience of sex. My own conviction is that teenagers are left adrift in this area, and gain their knowledge of love and sex from sources that lie to them - our celebrity-mad culture, and the pornography industry. So I believe my book will prove to be enormously valuable to your 14-year-olds, and would stimulate wonderful discussions in class. Also it is, I hope, a really enjoyable read. But I must let you, as their teacher, decide what is and is not suitable in school.

Posted by layla

November 25th 2009

Hello, me again. I was wondering, when you plan a story how do you plan it, because when I look at your books like The Windsinger, and I think to myself 'I could never think up something like this'. How do you do it? Thanks again Layla

William Nicholson responded:

I do a lot of lying on a sofa with my eyes shut. Once you have half an idea, it's worth letting thoughts float round your head without chasing them too hard. It's amazing what emerges from the mist. I also find looking out of train windows very good for having random ideas. But don't be intimidated by other writers' finished books. All that stuff takes time to come together. So find a starting point, and let your thoughts drift round it and start to make a shape. Then do some writing. Then more drifting. Sounds woolly, but it works.

Posted by Freddie Copp

November 23rd 2009

This isn't really a question im afraid, i just wanted you to know how much i appreciate your books. I first read seeker maybe 3 years ago and the Noble Warriors books have been my favourite books ever since. Although they may be only works of fiction, they really made me think about who i am and who it is i want to be. Anyway, thanks alot, i really do love the Wind on Fire and the Noble Warrior books and yeah, i just wanted you to know how great they are really. Thanks!

William Nicholson responded:

Thanks for telling me - it really makes a difference to me. Particularly when readers tell me they like the Noble Warriors, because most of my readers seem not to get beyond the Wind on Fire trilogy. So I appreciate your words.

Posted by Jonathan Greenfield

November 23rd 2009

Hi! Sorry to bother you again. Just a few more questions. What would help me understand to be a better reader and writer? What should I do when I can't get something in my head when I'm almost done with a book?

William Nicholson responded:

You get to be a better reader by reading better books. It's not an obvious process, but the more good books you read, the sharper your perceptions of good writing will become. You can study books, as I did at university, but I'm not sure it makes you a better writer. The heart of a great book isn't really technique, it's emotion and wisdom. Note as you read what's moving you, and ask yourself why. But even more importantly, note in your own life as you live it what's moving you, and why. That will be your material as a writer.

Posted by Ethan DormanE. Followwill

November 23rd 2009

Dear Mr. Nicholson, I totally understand - I figured as much based solely on the number of comments you receive. Since meeting you isn't an option for now, what should I look for when I do read screenplays or watch films? I have watched Gladiator easily 200+ times and have transcribed a great deal of the film so as to study the story progression and character development. I once heard a writer say that the only way to get good at writing is to sit down and do it. To be honest though, everything I've written seems to betray the 'finished product' picture in my head. Any tips in terms of how to truly pick up the skills as a film writer? A story is like a fresh set of piano keys - the music can flow in any direction and do whatever you want it to do...but very few pieces stand out from the crowd. Any advice? All the best -->

William Nicholson responded:

There are many different answers to your questions. I personally think the heart of a successful film is emotion, and emotion is delivered by character. I'd advise you to look at how a good movie gets you to care about the main character, and to identify with that character's goals. Too many screenwriters think that pure plot does the job, or possibly pure special effects. But get the audience rooting for your hero and you're home.