George Ivanoff – Author

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Writing about what interests YOU

Hello everyone! My name is George… and I’m an author. I write all sorts of things — short stories, articles, non-fiction books, school readers and novels. I’ve written over 60 books so far and I’ve got plans for lots more.

Even though I write about lots of different subjects, the one thing they all have in common, is my interest in them. It is very important to be really interested in what you’re writing about. Because if you’re not interested in what you’re writing, how can you expect a reader to be interested in it?

The Gamers novels

I’ve written two novels in my Gamers series so far — Gamers’ Quest and Gamers’ Challenge. These novels sprung from my teenage obsession with computer games. I used to spend ages playing things like Asteroids, Galaga and my favourite, Space Invaders. And it wasn’t just the games I liked, but also any fiction (book or film or tv show) that dealt with computer games. So I loved films like TRON and books like Gillian Rubinstein’s Space Demons.

I used this interest in computer games to fashion a story idea. I started asking myself some questions to get the ball rolling. What if you were a character in a computer game? What if you thought the game you lived in was the real world? What if you suddenly discovered you were in a game? Would you try to get out? Would you want to see the real world?

In Gamers’ Quest I introduce readers to Tark and Zyra, two teenage thieves who live in an amazing world where both science and magic exist side-by-side. This world that they live in is an environment within an elaborate computer game, but Tark and Zyra don’t know it. It’s not until the end of the book that they discover the truth. They then break the rules of the game and stop playing. So, in Gamers’ Challenge, even though they are no longer playing, they are still trapped within the game. And now they are searching for a way out.

Writing a novel can take a long time. I spent over three months writing and re-writing Gamers’ Quest before I felt ready to send it to my publisher; and then another three plus months working on it with my publisher and editor. When you’re spending this amount of time on one story, you really need to love it. And it was very easy for me to love a story about computer games.

Note to Teachers:

Lots of kids and teens also love computer games. So Gamers’ Quest and Gamers’ Challenge can provide a way of linking game playing with reading and literacy. Teaching notes for both books are available as free PDFs from Ford Street Publishing.

Writing Activities

What is it that really interests you? Something you know lots about? Something you could spend ages talking about?

Do you love playing computer games? Are you into football? Is music your thing?

Choose something that you’re really interested in. And then give these activities a try…

1. Write a paragraph about your interest. Tell your reader why you like it. Tell them what makes it special to you.

2. Make a list of questions about your interest that could lead to a story.
Tip: “What if?” questions are really good ones to ask. For example, if your interest is football, you could ask: What if I was the greatest footballer in the world? If your interest is stamp collecting, you could ask: What if I found the rarest stamp in the world?

3. Now, take those questions and start to think about a story. Think about how you might like to start the story. Write the first paragraph.

Tip: It’s good to start off a story with something to grab the readers’ attention — some action; or something mysterious; or a really interesting character; or an unusual setting — something to make people want to continue reading.

George Ivanoff is a Melbourne author and stay-at-home dad who loves doing school visits and talking about his writing. To find out more about him, check out his website (http://georgeivanoff.com.au). To find out about the Gamers books, visit the Official Gamers Website (http://www.gamersquestbook.com).

The Gamers books are available in bookshops throughout Australia. Gamers’ Quest is also available as an eBook through Amazon  and Readings.

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