Meet Don Bosco, the award-winning author of children’s fiction, inspired by Asian myths and pop culture. He started the publishing studio Super Cool Books in 2011. And did you know that his superpower is using stories to awaken the awesomeness in young readers? His stories help kids feel that inside every book is a great reading experience they will remember for years and years to come. His stories have been adapted from print to ebook to app.
He has written a few series, namely, Lion City Adventures, Superkicks, Sherlock Hong Adventures and My Blade Quest. His books are available at Popular and Kinokuniya.
We chatted with Don and asked him how to turn a simple folk tale into a story that sparkles. He thinks that every successful writer has a unique voice. A writing style that you can recognise. A creative and artistic signature. It’s made up of many things — vocabulary, the rhythm of the words, the types of descriptions, the way the setting is created, the way the characters are introduced and developed, even the way you add the funny parts.
Once you find your voice, once you figure out your own unique way of writing about all these things, that’s when your best work comes out of you. You no longer spend your time struggling to string together generic phrases and stock sentences. Instead, you just allow your storytelling voice to take over. The result is that your stories sparkle. Your books are special. What a joy that is.
But how do you find your voice? Here’s a simple tip from Don:
“Take a legend or folk tale, something you’re familiar with, something that you’re sure others will also know well. See how you might rewrite this in your own style.
Ask yourself: how would you make the characters in the legend more interesting, and also more fascinating? How would you tweak the story events to make them more gripping? To create a greater sense of drama?
How would you bring out the sparkle and mystery and adventure, so that readers get lost in your telling, and they start to realise that perhaps they might even enjoy your version the best?
This is what I did with the legends of Singapore for the third Lion City Adventures book. You might have already heard about Badang the hero, perhaps the strongest man in Singapore’s history. Well, if you read ISLAND OF LEGENDS you’ll get to enjoy my very own version of this. And also my own version of how the coast of Singapore was once attacked by killer swordfish. And also my version of how some enemies from up north came to attack Singapore many hundreds of years ago but we were saved by a great wall that protected the city.
As a writer, I believe that the heroes in folk tales and legends are here to inspire us. They make sure that we rise to the challenge and bring out the most exceptional and emotionally resonant ideas that lie within us. When we create from the best of our ability, like this, that’s when we truly discover our creative potential, and that’s how memorable stories are written.
It’s quite a simple process, once you’re willing to try it. You’ll be inspired to work on your own stories even more. You’ll be able to share your art with all of us. Can you imagine how exciting that feels?
Enjoy these legends and pass on the experience to others if you can, the way these stories have been shared with you. Stories come to life when they bring us together like this.”
Now that we know about some of the tips and tricks of this writer, we want to know more about him. Read about the hilarious answers he gives to our wacky questions:
1. On the first day of ruling the world, what would you do?
Ask my wife to take over, so that I can go write more stories.
2. If you could either be a duck or an owl, what would you be? Why?
An owl. People eat ducks, but I haven’t heard of anyone eating owls.
3. What will finally break the internet?
Too much boring stuff.
4. Which fictional character would be the most boring to meet in real life?
Ultraman. He has no mouth or facial expressions. You will have to do all the talking. He won’t even smile for your Instagram.
5. What is the worst and best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is that I get to dream up stuff, and describe these visions to other people, so that my dreams can enter your heads and you can all share my wonderful ideas. The worst thing is having to sit alone in a room for many, many hours until it’s all been written down, and checked thoroughly for errors.
6. What was your favourite cartoon when you were growing up?
Scooby Doo! A bunch of friends who go around solving crazy mysteries, catching criminals, and basically having fun. Most of my stories are also about this. I haven’t grown up much.
7. What makes you cry?
Whenever I read something that’s very stiff and boring, I feel so sorry for the person who wrote it. It can even make me cry.
8. When you are day dreaming, what do you dream about?
Playing guitar in Duran Duran.
9. What would the title of your memoir be?
My Lovely Adventures on the Planet Imaginaroo.
10. What colour is imagination?
The colour of imagination is Orglellowple.
11. What does laughter smell like?
Laughter smells like a burp, except that it comes from your heart, not your digestive parts.