You could feel the anticipation of 30 eager year 7 pupils this morning at the Guru Nanak Sikh Academy as they gathered around published children’s author, Susan Moore for a 90 minute creative writing workshop. Navjit, one of the pupils in the class was the winner of the Alliotts Short Story Competition and her prize was a workshop hosted by Susan Moore. [Read Navjit's winning entry]
Susan started off by sharing her own experience of childhood, growing up in a sleepy Derbyshire town, with a dog for company she roamed the open countryside, and let her imagination run wild. When she was older she spent time working on the US West coast in the games and film industry, which fuelled her fascination with sci-fi and robots.
photo: Susan Moore capitivates pupils at Guru Nanak Sikh Academy with stories of her childhood
The pupils talked about what made a good story including, intrigue, suspense, twists in a plot and something unexpected.
For Susan, the key ingredients to a story are hero, villain, the world and of course robots. That’s just the start. But, she asked the class, ‘where does inspiration come from?’ Susan believes that it’s in everything you are exposed to, what you experience, see, hear and read.
Some of the books that have inspired Susan include, His Dark Materials, The Hobbit, The Hunger Games and The Chronicles of Narnia. Film too can play a part, The Fifth Element is a sci-fi film Susan particularly enjoys.
Encouraging the young writers, Susan said
‘It’s important to also let your senses inspire you, think about what you taste, eat, hear and smell and use these elements in your writing.’
Susan advised the class
‘When you have mapped out what you want in your story, then you are ready for the next stage.
You may decide to sit and write where it happens and feel and absorb the atmosphere, I prefer to write in a shed, looking at a blank wall.
Poetry is an important skill for writers, it helps you hone and distil your writing, you learn how to use words more succinctly to convey your meaning.
When you are creating your story line, you need to think about creating interesting events. Ramp up the pressure on the characters, give them more challenges to develop aspects of their personality.’
The first of Susan’s series of adventure stories is Crimson Poison, which is followed by Emerald Street. The next in the series, Indigo Island will be published in 2018. Following this workshop it will be interesting for readers to see what happens to the characters next and how they are challenged.
An added bonus was listening to Susan read a chapter from Crimson Poison and bringing her characters to life.
During the interactive part of the workshop pupils were invited to create their own robot, exercising their imagination. In creating a robot they had to consider: What is your robot? What does it look and sound like? What can it do and what does it like? What is its name?
The day ended on a real high with pupils sharing their highly imaginative robotic creations. These robots included; a manipulative fairy; a polar bear that liked porridge; a martial arts expert t-rex dragon combo; an immortal being with spiked arms; a fashion loving pink human-like creation; a robot that could produce diamonds and refill bank accounts; and a warrior equipped with jet packs.
Photo: pupils of the Guru Nanak Sikh Academy proudly show their robot creations
Thank you and Congratulations
Susan thanked the young creative writers for their contribution to the workshop,
‘I feel honoured to be here today. The world would be much richer for your inventions, keep your imaginations alive!’
Steve Meredith, Head of Alliotts Education Team thanked Preya Mistry, an English teacher at the Guru Nanak Sikh Academy, for arranging the event and Susan Moore for leading a stimulating workshop on creative writing for the next generation of talented authors.
Congratulating Navjit on her excellent winning short story Steve said,
‘Thank you for taking part in Alliotts Short Story Competition, having read your entry I hope that you will continue to write and I’m sure that we will hear more from you in the future.’
Susan then rounded off the day by presenting a very happy Navjit with a signed copy of Crimson Poison and Emerald Street.
Alliotts are proud to have supported such a well received initiative. Thank you to everyone who sent in their stories, it was a pleasure to read them. We are looking forward to hosting their next Short Story Competition to encourage tomorrow's creative talent.
photo l-r Susan Moore, Steve Meredith of Alliotts and competition winner Navjit
photo: Susan Moore signs a copy of Crimson Poison for Navjit