There’s something special about working with young people who appreciate the art of writing so I always look forward to any opportunity to conduct a school-based workshop. My imagination was most fertile when I was still at school. There’s a freedom to be able to just dream away and create a fantasy story that will take you on an adventure with characters that seem to manipulate you into doing what they want rather than what you thought they might want to do.
I had the privilege of conducting two creative writing workshops at Palm Beach State School as part of the Gold Coast Writer’s Festival Authors in Schools program. My enthusiastic participants were emerging young writers with a passion for creating exciting stories. They already knew a lot about the art of writing so we simply ran through the process of creating awesome stories.
The beginning was set by creating the characters and setting the scene. The students chose a female, male, baddie, a pet, and the scene where the story was to take place from a selection of images on the PowerPoint presentation. It was interesting the see the choices they made. Neither group made the same choice in characters but they did both choose the haunted house for the setting.
The middle is where we created a problem that needed to be solved. The baddie came into the story and created a stressful situation involving the character’s beloved pet.
The end was how the characters solved the dangerous situation and defeated the baddie. We created some action and tension with a good dose of humour.
Starting the book has been tricky and I suffered my first case of writer’s block (usually I can’t stop writing) because I wasn’t sure how the information I’d collected so far would all piece together. There were too many gaps and of course my subjects couldn’t remember much about what was going on when they were young or exact dates. I had no idea how I was going to sort it all out into chronological order, until…
I had the pleasure of conducting a four-hour interview with my leading lady. What an amazing woman and what an amazing full life she’s living. She is such an inspiration to anyone wanting to live their dream by doing what they have always loved.
Let the adventure begin! I am about to embark on my biggest project ever. I’m writing a novel based on a true story. I’m really excited about writing this book but at the same time I’m very nervous because it is a book based on history and I have no idea how to go about writing a story that happened in an era I know very little about. This is where I get to fine tune my research skills! And if it’s one thing I’m very good at, it’s asking questions, questions and more questions!