Roald Dahls Shed
by John Coupe
School Trip to The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre
Imagine my excitement when I found that my seven-year-old son was to have a school trip to Great Missenden. For those of you not in the know, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire is where Roald Dahl spent 35 years of his life, turning out such classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, James and The Giant Peach etc etc
Roald Dahl's house-called Gypsy house after the caravan in Danny The Champion of the World -is now privately owned and is the true location of his writing shed which is located in the orchard (The picture I sent in is a photo montage from the musem). The house and shed is not open to the public. The shed is getting quite elderly, is not open to the public but take heart it is preserved just as Roald Dahl left it.
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre is located a few hundred yards from Gypsy House in the centre of Great Missenden where they have built a replica of the inside of the shed at
A guided tour of the Roald Dahl Museum and story centre gave great advice and guidance to future shedworkers based on Roald Dahl's idiosyncratic daily routine.
Roald Dahl had a schedule for his writing, two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon.
He made his work area suit him and had familiar objects and trophies around him to stimulate his creativity.
Roald Dahl's modifications to his work environment were:
-Electric heater overhead
-Armchair with part cutout to make it more comfortable for his bad back
-A roll of cardboard to support a green baize covered writing board (with brush handy for cleaning off rubbings out and crumbs of chocolate)
The trip around the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre was well set up to stimulate the children's ideas and creativity and to get them reading and writing. Top writing tips from the man himself were;
-Always use Dixon Ticonderoga pencils, about six pencils (sharpened at the beginning of the work session) should last a two hour writing stint.
-Always carry a notebook to write down those great ideas as they pop into your head.
-Start off the session by reviewing your previous work. If it was good - send it to the publishers for review, if not - bin it!
-For your first draft don't worry about messy handwriting or bad spelling. Give it to the PA for typing/spell corrections.
-Personalise your work environment. Roald Dahl wrote with yellow pencils on yellow paper in a yellow shed (his favourite colour was yellow!)To get started on your shedworking - story writing
-Don't bother with writers block just start writing (my note: even if it is rubbish or involves copying it out of a book)
-Use a prop - have something to write about or to stimulate the imagination
-Edit your work at the end - it is much easier to change or sculpt something once it is there.
In summary it was a great day out. Now all I have to do is to help Simon get his Roald Dahl school project in for the end of this month!!!