Welcome to my latest blog
I’ve loved writing these new children’s books. Not only has it been really good fun and something I’ve been able to do with my family, but I’ve also discovered a creative side in me that I didn’t really know existed. I’m usually quite practical and logical so I’ve surprised myself a bit by being able to start with a blank sheet of paper and create a new story from scratch.
That said one of the biggest challenges I’ve found is trying to get the right balance in the books with the explanation of the rules for each sport. I wanted to aim the books at younger kids in the hope that they would engage with reading and learn a bit about sports whilst having a bit of a giggle with the dafter side of the books.
This means that there needs to be a good balance with giving enough technical information on the rules of the sport so that the children learn something but keeping it light enough so that the kids enjoy reading them.
Ideally, I’d like the readers to learn without realising (because they are enjoying it and having fun with the stories) so it’s really important for me to find the right wording and imagery to achieve this. I also want to make sure that I’m respectful to each sport and represent it by being accurate with its rules and laws.
It’s fair to say that striking this balance with trampolining was more difficult than with swimming. There is a very logical approach to the rules and scoring of Olympic trampolining…but there are quite a lot of rules. So I’ve tried to simplify the rules as best as I can, whilst maintaining the key principles and characteristics of the sport.
So for something like trampolining, there are rules that I just couldn’t fit in to the book, such as:
- There are different types of routine – compulsory and optional;
- Each somersault scores different points;
- There are two different things the judges score –difficulty and the execution of the routine; and
- The highest and lowest scores for each routine being discarded.
I know these are all essential but in trying to make the books fun, interesting and memorable for the kids, I felt that including everything could have left them confused.
I’m currently finishing off wheelchair rugby and that’s been just as challenging but just as much fun. There are lots of rules involved in that sport too!
As always, I’d appreciate your thoughts and feedback on this. Have I found the right balance so far? And that’s something I’d love to hear about from both kids and parents/guardians as well as athletes and the sport’s governing bodies. The Quack and Field series is fiction and fun but that doesn’t stop me wanting the books to be educational and informative too.