POEM: Teacher says…



Teacher says
my writing is not very good
But I dream of slaying serpents
with a dappled sword of light

Teacher says
I should use more connectives
But I search the fathoms of Hades
for the last souls of the unforgiven

Teacher says
it would be better with subordinate clauses
But I dance with moonlight maidens
on an ocean of stardust from Mars

Teacher says
my work lacks imagination
But I journey home, sword broken
and the beast of burden victorious

POEM: Words Of Wisdom


Grown ups say daft things.
I just don’t get them.
They want me to do as I’m told
and learn
but how can I
when they say such rubbish.

Just the other day
Nan said: If you don’t go to sleep
right now
you’ll be sleeping in
the other room.
Do you understand?

So I had to tell her: Yes I understand.
If you were speaking
another language
I wouldn’t
but you’re speaking english.

Then another time
after we had a BIG dinner
at a small price
Nan said: You certainly get
what you pay for
in that place.

So I had to point out: Well
you always get
what you pay for,
don’t you?
As for my mum,
she’s no better,
why to my little brother
who was tipping water
ON the dinner table
she said : That
was a BIG mistake!

So I had to tell her:
No it wasn’t.
That was
on purpose.

WRITING TIP 2: Get Your Characters Talking


Writing speech can leave you at a lost for words. It can be tricky stuff. First, you have all that problem of speech layout to get pass and that’s before your characters even open their mouths. Then, what should they say? And when should they say it? Tricky stuff.

So, here’s my first speech tip: Don’t get too bogged down in the layout and words instead of said (I know some teachers are obsessed with words instead of said and even do WHOLE lessons on it! But it’s not important. Many writers just use said). The most important thing is what your character is saying.

Having said that, it does help your reader if they can tell who is speaking and when. To help you get the layout right, then you could use my TEN RULES FOR SPEECH LAYOUT below. Before anyone says it (usually a writer or teacher), I know all speech is not set out like this. These rules are just a starting point so you can get going. You can play around with the structure later when you think you’ve got it. Let’s keep it simple at first. No space travel before we’ve invented the wheel.


Just click on image to make it bigger

Now the layout is sorted, let’s concentrate on the important fun part of what to say. Here’s when my second speech tip: Make sure your character has something important to say. Whatever you do, don’t just have them waffling away without what they are talking about moving the story on. Here’s an example of what not to do:

“Hello, Pete. What are you doing?” said John.

“I’m going to the park,” said Pete.

“Why are you going to the park?” asked John.

“To play football, ” said Pete.

“I might go too,” said John…..

Your reader is now gnawing in anger on the book, or worse has fallen asleep and is drooling, or even worse worse is an adult who has fallen asleep and is drooling all over the page and nobody wants to see that. Better to have no speech at all than speech like this. Instead, when your character talks, make it exciting and punchy but most of all get to the point. Maybe something like this:

“Hey, John, it’s Pete. I’m at the park. You got to come down and see this?”

“What?” asked John.

“I can’t tell you on the phone. You just wouldn’t believe me. Just get down here,” said Pete then the phone went dead.

The final and most important speech writing  tip: Read your speech aloud. I know, this may sound a bit bonkers and a very embarrassing thing to do but it works. It makes your dialogue sound right. 100% guaranteed. If you don’t, there will be drooling!

So, here are those three tips again to get your characters talking:

Don’t get too bogged down in the layout and words instead of said


Make sure your character has something important to say

Read your speech aloud.


Have fun!



Little Brother entered house
said he found
some chocolate
delicious chocolate
covered from head to foot
in sticky brown
beautiful chocolate
heavenly chocolate
licked his fingers
one to ten
melted chocolate
that sweet chocolate
a dreadful smell around
just like a dog pen
nothing like chocolate
it wasn’t chocolate!

WRITING TIP 1: How To Be A Better Writer

Children often ask me, “Oi, mister! Why do you have that onion on your head?! You look stooopid!” (says the boy with his bum hanging out of his trousers).

And sometimes they say, “How can I be a better writer?” and so I tell them the most important rules in the world.

Rule 1, I say, is READ.

Rule 2, I say, is READ.

Rule 3, I say, is READ.

Rule 4, I say, is READ.

   By the time I get to Rule 100 they’ve normally wandered off. Odd.
Now, you’re probably thinking: well, it’s ok for you to say that but how do you know it’s the most important rules in the world and works?

   Well, when I was school, in the age of black & white, I didn’t really bother to read much. Right up to Year 6. And if you tried reading one of my stories (usually about Snoopy going on adventures or aliens) you would have probably given up after the second sentence. Almost every word was spelled wrong and it didn’t really make sense.

   How was this fixed?

   I got the reading bug. I found a book I enjoyed and read it four times in a row! After that I began reading everything! Back of cereal packets, ingredients on packets, signs and posters, comics, newspapers…Soon I became such an addict that I held the World Record for the Worst Newspaper Boy Ever!!! I would read every different newspaper and magazine I had to deliver. I took so long people were having supper before they got their paper.
   So that’s Writing Tip 1: Read, Read, Read to become a better writer!

POEM: What’s That Noise?


What’s that noise outside?
Bounding from the tree
What’s that noise outside?
Making me want to flee.

What’s that noise in the garden?
Slinking through the grass
What’s that noise in the garden?
I hope it does not last.

What’s that noise by the back door?
Clawing at the window
What’s that noise by the back door?
I wish it would just go.

What’s that noise in the kitchen?
Sneaking across the floor
What’s that noise in the kitchen?
With sharp teeth and claws.

What’s that noise in the hallway?
Slithering up the stairs
What’s that noise in the hallway?
I wish it was not there.

What’s that noise on the landing?
Creeping in the night
 What’s that noise on the landing?
Giving me a fright.

What’s that noise in my bedroom?
Leaping on my bed
What’s that noise in my bedroom
It’s …..my cat Winifred!