Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Graphic Novels - Oh, My - Stitches

Yesterday Anne sent us a link that featured several writers on the 10 Rules for Writing. At first I dismissed it, but when I hit a rough spot in my revision late yesterday, I printed them all out, hoping for a magic clue to get me over my hump. Two lists suggested no internet while writing, which would have stopped me in my tracks and forced me to stay with the words. But that's another story. This story is about the suggestion to read widely (oops - no adverbs.) I don't know any writers who don't. But still there are genres I haven't explored much.

Like graphic novels. I have to admit the curmudgeon in me just couldn't get past the idea that they were like the comic books my brothers devoured growing up. Until I read David Small's memoir Stitches over the weekend. It moved me like no recent book. I don't even think I could have handled reading about his awful childhood except for the blend of pictures and words that together took me deep into the psyche of this dear boy and thus deep into my own. Small, famous for Imogene's Antlers and other delightful picture books, put it all out there. Nominated for a National Book award, it fits their criteria that the book appeal to young people and adults. Some reviewers wondered if this book would only appeal to adults. I disagree. I believe that teens everywhere will be drawn to this story of pain and of hope and drawn to study his picture books with a new eye. Hey, this guy survived. So can I.


  1. That list keeps coming into my head as well and every time I think of it I remember a scene in Shakespeare in Love where Shakespeare settles down to work but first e has to spin in his chair three times, and spit in his hand (I don't remember it exactly). But he's got his ritual. I know the list is not all ritual but in a way it is. It's all these things that anchor each of these writers. Repeated actions=rituals. There's something so alluring about the ritual. Maybe we'll find a secret. But maybe the secret is the white elephant...or maybe it's a mammoth!

  2. Steinbeck's ritual was sharpening pencils. His son said he would sharpen dozens of pencils every morning before beginning his writing day. I'm still searching for my perfect ritual. Maybe something besides email and Facebook?

  3. Stitches is a pretty powerful story. Worth the read! There are some really fabulous graphic novels out there, Claire. But I agree that many of them just look to annoying to read. It's the ones that have legible graphics along with a STRONG narrative that work best.
    I've been hanging out a bit with the Sequential Art department here--they really need a writer in that dept.