As a child my favourite author was Michael Morpurgo, I focussed almost all of my attention on reading his books. There was something about his writing that captivated me. I knew that every time I turned a page I would be transported into a whole other world, whether that be on the battlefield with Joey the horse, in South Africa with the butterfly lion or with ‘Lucy Lost’ as the Lusitania was sinking. His elaborate stories and descriptions both ignited and fuelled my desire to write.
One of the things I remember most about his books were the storylines. Each plot twist, character and setting were so detailedly woven into the story, causing you to feel a whole array of different emotions. Morpurgo manages to dream up characters that you become immediately attached to and ones that you can’t help but hate. This in turn exaggerates the emotional response that is felt by the reader when something happens to those individuals. For example, as a reader, it would be a lot more upsetting if something terrible happened to one of the characters that you loved. In Private Peaceful, Charlie, the main character who is adored by everybody, gets executed. This turn of events at the end of the book is a devastating moment and because of the attachment to Charlie that readers develop throughout the novel, his death comes as a much harder blow. I have never forgotten the feeling I had when I read those last few pages.
Personally, I believe that it is very difficult to portray sadness through writing due to the fact that it’s such an individual emotion for everyone, yet somehow, Morpurgo manges to get it spot on in all of his books. I think he achieves this partly through the tragic plot of the story. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I have cried while reading his writing.
Another thing I adored about the way Morpurgo wrote, were his descriptions. The simple language he applied painted such vivid images inside your head. The words he picked just fit together and flowed – they sounded almost poetic. For instance, in Born To Run, Morpurgo describes a more mature ‘Best Mate’ as “… no longer a cute and clumsy puppy, but a creature of astonishing beauty and grace and power.” His phrasing here causes the reader to feel like they are growing up besides the dog, it makes you imagine a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly or an ugly duckling molding into a majestic swan. This style of language creates a nostalgic atmosphere which helps the reader relate to the novel.
From reading Morpurgo’s books, I have altered the way that I write tremendously. I make my characters more lovable or disagreeable to ensure the reader feels more emotionally attached to them. I have also tried to create more tragic storylines and I try to think a lot more about what I’m writing, taking careful consideration for every single word I place on my page. If it wasn’t for this author’s wonderful books, I wouldn’t be who I am today and more importantly, my writing would most certainly not be the same.