Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A good example of the Writer as a Human Camera lens

Have you read anything by Eva Ibbotson? It's a treat, I tell you. When I read Eva's books I get the feeling like the narrator is the cutest, plump English, apron-clad grandmother in the whole world, and that she's telling me the story over a plate of fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk. To get the most out of reading Eva Ibbotson, you really must read her books out loud and in your best British accent. It's a hoot! :0D

I recently finished reading The Secret of Platform 13 and there's a great example of how the differing perceptions of the characters can give us insights into their personalities and how they think.

This book is about a Prince that is kidnapped from a magical kingdom. 9 years later, an unlikely foursome of rescuers are given the task to rescue the Prince. One of these rescuers is a giant one-eyed Ogre. The rescuers need to go into the real world unnoticed, so they have to cover the giant Ogre in a lotion that will make him invisible. Except for his one eye.

The boy that they believe to be the prince is a horrible and spoiled boy named Raymond.

The boy that they wish was the prince is a servant boy named Ben.

Here are the different reactions of Ben and Raymond upon their first observation of the Ogre's disembodied eye.

Bens Reaction in Chapter 4:

"The ogre had managed to follow them to the bench with his eye shut, but the Prince's" ( They think that Ben, was the prince at this point) "voice pleased him so much that he now opened it. Cor frowned at him, Gurkie shook her head--they had been so careful not to startle the Prince, and invisible ogres are unusual; there is nothing to be done about that. But the boy didn't seem at all put out by a single blue eye floating halfay up the trunk of the tree.
'Is he. . . or she . . . I don't want to pry, but is he a friend of yours?"

Raymonds Reaction in Chapter 7:

"But now Raymond sat up very straight and pointed to the door. 'Eeek!' he shouted. 'There's a horrible thing there! An eye! It's disgusting; it's creepy. I want my mummy!'

The others turned their heads in dismay. They knew how sensitive the ogre was, and to call such a clean-living person 'creepy' is about as hurtful as it is possible to be. And sure enough, a tear welled up in Hans' clear blue eye, trembled there . . . and fell. Then the eye vanished, and from the space where the giant sat, there came a deep, unhappy sigh."


PJ Hoover said...

I've never read anything, but it sounds fantastic! I love the premise!

Rena said...

I'm like PJ -- so out of the loop, unless the book has pictures. It's cool how they showed such different perspectives. :)

Ello said...

Ooh, I love Ibbotson! I think of her like an old school writer so I love your analogy to an apron clad grandmother. That fits! I also liked Which Witch!

I saw several choices on your blog menu but I think I will link up to this one, if that's ok?

Kelly said...

Good examples. The story sounds vaguely like the Whipping Boy but with more interesting characters looking for the prince!

kathleen duey said...

Thanks Christy, for the great thought-provokers (is that a word?) you post.

Ibbotson is all children's writers' grandmother.

I went to read her Wiki and learned this: Her birth name was Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner.

And my first thought was..I wonder if David knows that and it they are connected somehow...

...wouldn't that be fun!!

sruble said...

I haven't read any of Eva's books yet, but I've wanted to for a while. I love the way the different boys react to the invisible ogre. I don't know that I can pull off reading the book in a fake British accent though. My attempt doesn't sound British at all :)

Colorado Writer said...

Amazing post!

adrienne said...

I haven't read her stories, but they sound delightful. Great examples!

C.R. Evers said...

Thanks for popping in guys, I do really love her stuff too. Well worth the read for those who haven't read anything yet. The best way to describe her style is "Delightful"


Gottawrite Girl said...

Yes, great post, and wonderful sounding stories!!! Thanks for posting, Christy.

C.R. Evers said...

Thanks Susan!

Bish Denham said...

Oh boy, ANOTHER author to add to my to read list. Wil it never end!? :O

C.R. Evers said...

Hey Bish!

The good thing about Eva's books is that they are an easy read. They are short and just plain' ol fun, so its the kind of book that you could easily read in one night. I often keep one of her books in my car for when I'm waiting in car pool lines or something like that. Times when I have to wait, but don't need to get bogged into a more difficult book. So, you can add her to your list with a smile. :0D