The Monkey's Paw by WW Jacobs is one of my favourite short stories. Musing the other day, it dawned on me that this tale sparked me into writing children's novels. And supernatural ones at that! It has seeped into popular culture, even the Simpsons, all the way from 1902 and, although the language can be difficult, kids in my classes used to love to hear it.
It's one of those 'be careful what you wish for' stories and provoked all manner of lively debates, not to mention some excellent stories by the pupils.
I love the fact that, in the story, all the horror is hinted at. Everything is left to the reader's imagination. we never see mangled corpses rising from graves. We never learn what the last owner of the paw, Sergeant Major Morris wished for. When he is asked if he has made three wishes, he shivers and says, 'I have.'
The tension builds beautifully and what Mr White, the main protagonist, has to wish for in the end is truly tragic and horrific.
Speaking of being careful what you wish for, I've now had back the second edited manuscript of Mortlock. It needs a few (well two actually) tweaks. I often hear writers bemoan the revision process but I have to confess, I quite enjoy it. It never ceases to amaze me how a few changes, rearranging a paragraph, modifying a sentence, can transform a scene and take your work to another level. It's brilliant!
But I haven't been stuck inside all of this sunny, shiny weekend. The chicks hatched about three weeks ago are getting feisty and adventurous so we moved them out into a nursery run in the garden.
And today I'm going to a SCBWI crit group in Chester which, if I remember my camera, I will tell you all about next time!
But for now, here's some music for you! It's called the Teetotaller, which I'm not.