Arthur Ransome . Master Storyteller
by Wardale, Roger
pub. by Great Northern Books. Ilkley, UK ( - 2010     isbn 978 1 905080 81 6
- - 160 p. - - ransome
This is a biographical work which details Arthur Ransome writing the books for which he is famous. It is well written and illustrated by numerous black and white photos of locations that were in some way sites of Ransomes writings. Each of books has its own chapter describing how it came to be written. Ransom had an interesting method. After outlining the story he just jumped in and wrote a chapter anywhere in the book, then wrote other chapters and stitched them together. After a rough first draft was done he re-wrote until satisfied with the text. His wife Evgenia, read the drafts and offered criticism, sometimes harsh, driving Arthur to re-write and improve the stories. Ransomes mother also read and offered advice. Sometimes the publisher (a friend as well as business associate) offered suggestions.
Arthur Ransome was very particular about the illustrations for the books. At first he considered professional offerings dreadful and actually the first edition of the Swallows and Amazons was not illustrated beyond a map. He and publisher, and the American publisher Macmillan found illustrators whose work was appreciated. In later works Ransome largely did his own illustrations, sometimes with help from talented friends.
This book is a very good study of the work of a successful author. It reveals methodology, as well as the joys and sorrows of a very successful writer. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in writing fiction for people of any age, and for anyone interested in having a better appreciation of Arthur Ransome. I have read 3 book length biographies of Arthur Ransome before reading this one. Each of them reveals a little more about the man. He lived a very interesting life before he launched into the Swallows and Amazons series, and revealed himself as a great writer in the creation of this series. In his lifetime over a million copies of his works sold. A great accomplishment particularly in that most were hardback books.

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