Roald Dahl as Storyteller – Part 3

Perhaps part of Dahl’s brilliance was his reliance on real children – often his own – to listen to their feedback. Telling his children nighttime stories inspired his writing:

“Children are … highly critical. And they lose interest so quickly,” he asserted in his New York Times book review interview. ” You have to keep things ticking along. And if you think a child is getting bored, you must think up something that jolts it back. Something that tickles. You have to know what children like.”

One of his most famous books highlights his process and his life; Behind the Scenes writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

2014 was the 50th anniversary of the publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Lucy Mangan wrote a book detailing the behind the scenes information from the book and Dahl’s experience writing it.

The story that it was…

He wrote a first draft of the chocolate story but, as he wrote to young readers many years later: “I got everything wrong. I wrote a story about a little boy who was going round a chocolate factory and he accidentally fell into a big tub of melted chocolate and got sucked into the machine that made chocolate figures and couldn’t get out.”

Nephew called it “rubbish” and Dahl threw out that draft

Revised draft entitled “Charlie’s Chocolate Boy” to agent. The premise of draft ? A boy stuck in chocolate candy!

As he worked on next draft, his daughter Olivia passed away from measles; this had a profound impact on him as a father. He stepped away and mourned.

When he returned to writing, he published CATCF in 1964, selling 10,00 copies in the first week. It was a fantastic success: “Let’s his imagination rip in fairyland” – NY Times

Roald Dahl was a master storyteller. He wrote in an unvarnished, realistic manner about life; he didn’t avoid topics like death, pain, suffering, and even terrible childish habits like chewing gum. In this way, Dahl could be considered a modern fairy tale writer? He helped his characters overcome terrible situations, and, often, terrible family members. However he’s defined, Dahl was a genius at is work evidenced by it’s beloved stature by children still.

The Marvelous World of Roald Dahl (check out for video inside his story) from the British Council

Check out our favorite inspirational quotes from Roald Dahl