A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit Abbots Langley Primary School, an establishment oozing with enthusiasm.
Amazing to have author Caroline Boxall visit us today, inspiring our budding authors! We learnt how characters take shape, how books are published and even had a go at creating our own descriptions using ‘pathetic fallacy’. @AbbotsWriting @AbbotsPrimary
This visit was not as a teacher, but as an author – my purpose was not to sell my books so much as to give the children an insight to the life of an author. I went through the whole process, from the first idea to the finished product resplendent on the shelf.
The children were, or at least seemed to be, fascinated by the journey which can be divided equally into two halves. The first half is the writing, the second is when the book is finished. Unless you have self-published a book you would have no idea how long it takes to edit, format, re-format, re-edit, publish, and then market your book. Alongside this you are probably submitting to agents and writing fabulous blogs! 😊
The children asked brilliant questions such as, “Where do you get your ideas from?” and “How long did it take to write your first book?” and my favourite of all, “Please can I show you a story I wrote?” from a boy who stayed behind after school because he wanted me to read his (excellent) story. My heart nearly burst with joy!
We enjoyed a great visit from author Caroline Boxall this afternoon. She told us all about the life of an author and the children have brought information slips home for signed copies of her book, It's Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella
So the enthusiasm is there, but now for the sad bit. Schools don’t have time for proper creative writing anymore. These days you have to stick to the rules, and everything has to follow curriculum guidelines. GCSE English requires pupils to answer questions that are prescriptive, no imagination required, no creativity necessary.
In preparation for this, the practice of mediocrity is drummed in from an early age. In my ‘Crazy Creative’ writing club, I have had to convince the children that to be truly creative, you can’t be bound by SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar), or by handwriting. It’s sad that schools, in their attempts to achieve good results, can sometimes overlook the essence of life.
If we don’t encourage creative writing in our children, a few years from now we’ll find that literature has become soulless, and there will be no decent new books to read!
There are many wonderful quotes about imagination and creativity, but these are two of my favourites:
The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope. Henry Ward Beecher
You need imagination in order to imagine a future that doesn’t exist. Azar Nafisi
And that takes me nicely to the latest book series I’m working on with the incredible Year 6 children at Cherry Tree Primary. Set one hundred years from now, it’s taking our imaginations to a whole new level.
Bet you can’t wait!
So is creative writing dead? Not quite, but it's reached intensive care and needs immediate resuscitation.
To read my own attempt at creative writing click here
And if you're in America, it's on special offer at the moment! Click here.
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