Editing With Roald Dahl

When I was a kid I thought The Witches was the most perfect book ever written. I’m scared to revisit it now in case I found something wrong with it — which I inevitably would, so I won’t.

However, Publishers Weekly has an interesting piece after a conversation with the editor who worked on The Witches with Roald Dahl. It’s a good read in itself, for anyone interested in the process of story creation.

Here are some points I have taken away from the master of gruesome tales for kids:

  1. When editing don’t lose sight of how prose will sound when read aloud
  2. In a story featuring both adults and children, the children should come up with the bright ideas to get them all out of strife. This is what makes a story for children.
  3. If you’re going to write a story full of mean [women] then you should feature an especially kind [woman] to offset.
  4. Think of your audience. Bugger everyone else.