Lockdown Activity:Write-30 No.1

What is Write – 30?

Write – 30 is a daily activity  aimed at kids where you write non-stop for twenty minutes then check and edit your work for 10 minutes. You will be asked to write about different subjects and in different forms.

The writing should be done on lined paper in pencil if possible. Edit and check the work in pen. If you don’t have paper and pencil, use what you can. Even a computer.

The whole family/household could do it and then share the results afterwards!

Finding it difficult? What you can do to help:

  • Always sit/work in the same place
  • Always use the same writing tools
  • Always turn the TV off
  • No talking – it distracts thinking
  • Always listen to the same piece of classical music when writing.
  • Always set yourself a goal: count the number of words. Try to beat that number the following day.

WRITE -3o for 27/03/20:

The Spaghetti Dinosaur.

You walk into the staff  room at your school. There is a dinosaur sat at a table eating tinned spaghetti. What happens next?

STUCK?  Try this story starter: I entered the staffroom looking for Mr Fitzsimons but instead saw a great big dinosaur sat in Ms Hillard’s  favourite chair eating tinned spaghetti (with tomato sauce). The dinosaur was…

 

 

POEM: the day the school was shut

shut school

the caretaker lost his broom
did a cartwheel
across the classroom
the day the school was shut

the school PA charged the computer
went on Dateline
looking for a suitor
the day the school was shut

the teachers began to sing
skipping around
in a great ring
the day the school was shut

the cook threw the potato smash
juggled the plates
watched them crash
the day the school was shut

the parents all began to scream
ran out the doors
looking for ice-cream
the day the school was shut

the school nurse poured out  lotion
skidded across the floor
causing a commotion
the day the school was shut

the Head Teacher stroked his wig
hopped on a table
and did a jig
the day the school was shut

WRITING TIP 7: Story Pieces

story parts

I’ve been asked many times by children when visiting schools: “Hey, mister, what makes up a story?”
Stories are made up of different kinds of parts which help you tell the whole thing. This explains some of the DRAD.

DESCRIPTION: This is the part of the story where you use lots of adjectives and longer sentences to describe the setting or characters. You might use descriptive writing devices like power-of-3, simile, metaphor, personification. Generally, it is better not to do all your description in one large chunk and have none any where else. Usually writers drop in some description through out their story.
Example: The old house stood at the end of the winding street on top of a grey hill. It loomed over the area like a dark, foreboding presence waiting for the unwise to enter.

REFLECTION: This is when the characters think about what is happening or what has happened to them or what will happen to them. It gives insight into the characters and their motivation.
Example: Why did I ever come here? This was the biggest mistake of my life! Kevin is dancing with Sarah and they’re dancing real close.

ACTION: These are fast paced sections where your character is doing something exciting. It should have lots of exciting verbs (action words) with little or no description and short sentences.
Example: He pulled the gun. He let off a shot. One. two. They flew over the bandit’s heads. He dived behind a rock. 

DIALOGUE: This is when two or more people are talking to each other in a story. Try to avoid using lots of words instead of SAID. Usually SAID is the bet word to use. What is said is the important thing. It should be important, interesting and move the story forward.
Example: I was like, ‘What do you want?’
He shuffled his feet. ‘I wanted to ask you out.’
‘YOU!’

How much of each part you have depends on the type of story you’re writing and what form it is taking. An adventure story like James Bond will have more action but a historical drama will have more description. A story told through diary entries will contain more reflection, dialogue but less descritption and action.

Get a copy of the Story Parts to print for display here: story parts

 

POEM: This is just to say…

pic of paper

I have broken
the vase
that was in
the living room

and which
you definitely
were giving
to your mother

Forgive me
it was ugly
so lumpy
and brown.

This poem is based on This is just to say… by William Carlos Williams.
Other poems and their structures can often provide inspiration for writing. Why not check his poem out here https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/56159/this-is-just-to-say and give it a go yourself.

 

 

Pulling A Blank

 

22504F9C-90B1-4611-B70F-22C901E5A62C.jpeg

You will have noticed I haven’t written an entry for my blog for a while. There is no great mystery behind it. I was not kidnapped, transported to another planet or plummeted into a mystical realm like the children of Narnia. No. It is quite simple. I was going through what many writers go through at various points when writing: writer’s block.  I just couldn’t think of anything to write for my blog.

Maybe it was because my creative energies were being sapped by two other things: submitting my second book to Literary Agents (time consuming and somewhat soul destroying) and compiling the notes on my third book before settling down to editing proper. I’m still at both of these and they have become my obsessions.

This meant I had less time to just let my wander and play in the quiet moments. This is an essential part of writing. If you are told to ‘just write,’ often you’re mind goes immediately blank.

That’s why writing at school can be really hard. The blank page and your teacher asking you to come out with some great story just like that. And there are all the things you are told to remember: fronted adverbials, alliteration for effect, a simile or metaphor or two. No wonder you mind just freezes. How can anyone write under such pressure?

Take a moment and put your pencil down. Stare out the window. Watch the trees in the breeze, traffic passing or the rain fall. Take some calming breaths. Think about what you are interested in: A TV programme you watched; a computer game you play; a song you like; a pet you cuddle… Make that your story.

There are no rules when writing stories. You can have happen whatever you want. You are the magical master. If you want a tap-dancing zebra as a class teacher, so be it! You want to be skiing on the skin of a bowl of custard, go on! It is your world. Rule it.

POEM: Beauty is…

Beauty

 

Beauty is a warm summer’s day
Beauty is a baby’s first smile
Beauty is a kiss from a mother
Beauty is the symmetry of a square
Beauty is the taste of hot chocolate
Beauty is the laughter of children
Beauty is the red of a scented rose
Beauty is the heart of my love

 

I should explain a little bit about this poem. It was written to help teach a group of Year 3 about metaphor and provide a simple stylistic model for their own poem. It also can provide a stimulus for Philosophy4Children (another interest of mine).

POEM: My Sister Loves Worms

Girl with wormA

My sister loves worms
She loves how they wiggle
My sister loves worms
She loves how they jiggle
My sister loves worms
Wherever they are found
My sister loves worms
Under muddy ground
My sister loves worms
On her comfy bed
My sister loves worms
On her silky head
My sister loves worms
Sat on our telly
My sister loves worms
Squirming in her belly

How To Write Badly…

 

So you have finally decided to write that story or book.  Let me tell you all the things you need to do to not get to the end and fail at your task.

1) Keep re-working that first chapter. That’s write. Why go on to the next part of the story when you can spend all your time endlessly re-writing the first part so it becomes perfect. After all, it’s not like most writers end up cutting the first chapter/part anyway as they started the story in the wrong place, is it?

2) Make sure you have access to Twitter, Facebook, Messenger or any other social media. You need to be constantly updated on the latest cake picture and cat video. You need to lose yourself down the rabbit hole of messages. Social media is catnip to writers and should be engaged at every opportunity rather than actually doing any writing on your story.

3) Surround yourself with lots of noise. Why not put the TV on as well or a playlist with good vocals? Nothing works better to help you lose your train of thought when you are being constantly…

4) Make sure you drink loads. Have lots of tea, coffee or fizzy drinks. It easily breaks the flow if you’re constantly sipping and having to run to the loo. Also, adds a sense of urgency.

5) Play a video game. You know you want to. Just get to the end of the level and then you’ll stop. Well, maybe, just one more level. Oh, is that the time. I’ll do some writing tomorrow, I promise.

6) Keep re-drafting your plan. In fact, invest in lots of colour pens and sticky labels to add a bit of colour to it all. What about a character spreadsheet mapping out all the history and interests of all the characters? I know you won’t use any of it but preparation is key.

7) Read a few books about writing. Better safe than sorry. Best to learn the craft from a book rather than actually doing a bit of writing. Maybe attend another writing course. Better still, re-read this blog post until you have memorised it.

8) Stare at the page. Fill yourself with nagging doubt and hesitate. Tell yourself it won’t be as good on the page as it is in your head. Whatever you do, don’t begin. Don’t put words down. You’re only setting yourself up to fail.

 

 

 

Writing Goals for 2019

So it is a new year and with every new year it is time to set some writing goals for the next 12 months (their like resolutions for writers). So here are mine.

  1. Finish submitting elf book to literary agents. It would be easy for me to let this aspect of writing to slip. I’ve had positive responses but need to follow up and send some more out. It is the process I find most frustrating as it takes so much time to get a response and I want to be pushing forward. A year can go by easily as you wait for replies from agents. And some don’t even use email!
  2. Complete work in progress and a rewrite. This is currently going a bit slow for me. It is mainly due to me: I’m writing out of my comfort zone; I have the most characters I’ve ever dealt with; I’m dealing with a multi-layered plot. This one is hard.
  3. Write lesson plans to go with Wishbone Billy. This is an. idea I’ve had for a while. I have a background of working in schools and I’m sure teachers would be grateful of any materials to make their planning easier. This would also tie in nicely with me offering free school visits.
  4. Complete exciting school visits and visit to Cub Scout group. I have again been invited to schools for World Book Day  this year and also a local Cub Scout group to help them with their book badge. I always love meeting readers and writers, and discussing what excites them. I want to do more!
  5. Not to worry if I don’t complete my goals. Writing books and everything that goes with writing can easily lead you to be overly worried, especially when things are not going well. Writing should be fun and you should not worry if you don’t do everything you set out to do. Keep your cool, take a breath and be happy with what you do get done.

Well, those are my goals for the year. I think they are quite challenging as I can easily get distracted at times from the task in hand. But this year, I’m going to be a new me. (so I lie to myself).