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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

01 July 2023

Posted by Holly Spillar and Rohan Gotobed

A Mysterious Visitor


This week the scientists sent us a warning about an escaped experiment from one of their labs! A giant alien puppet who had come to join the writers for one week only.

Split into groups and each given a section of the story (backstory, day in the life of a scientist, romantic interest, family tree, enemy's, goals) the writers worked in small groups to piece together the reason for this strange creature's existence and why on EARTH he wanted to join our group.

The writers got really involved with this task. Highlight moments included the creation of his woodland dwelling girlfriend Mrs Poopalotte and a very detailed scientist diary - exposing their struggles and juxtaposing the utter chaos created by our long blue friend and a murder mystery. 

It was really fun to have a physical prop in the room to interact with and use as inspiration and it was so interesting to see everyones interpretations of the puppet. He was evil, a hero, a love interest and a lonely child all in one session. Our blue friend definitely enjoyed Junior Writers and hopes to visit again someday. 


...... 1st July

Firstly, thank you again to Antosh for leading last week’s session. We had lots of very positive feedback afterwards!

Today we were exploring storytelling. Everyone knows classic stories, but what differs Cinderella from Harry Potter; Medusa from Peter Rabbit; Robin Hood from Batman? The latter are all authored, but the first three stories (among others like Hansel & Gretel, Icarus, or Beowulf) come from an oral storytelling tradition, where stories are transformed over retellings across countless generations. To highlight this, we looked at the story of ‘The Pedlar of Swaffham’, an old English tale that none of us had heard before – how it came to life being read out loud, rather than written on the page.

The main aim of the session was to apply some of the principles of Hugh Lupton, noted storyteller, to an existing story we all knew – Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In groups, we made sure we could remember the tale from beginning to end. We then split the story into six sections, with all the young writers finding smaller groups with whom to focus on their section:

1. Three bears in the house

2. Goldilocks break-in and eats porridge

3. Goldilocks breaks chair

4. Goldilocks sleeps in their bed

5. Bears find eaten porridge and broken chairs

6. Bears find the bed and Goldilocks flees the house (or is eaten)

The Young Writers took their moment and had to describe it as specifically and beautifully as possible, like it was a still from a film or an illustration in a book. They had to use the prefix ‘I See’ as inspiration. Once they’d written down their section, using a list of similes we made for reference, they had to read them aloud in groups. They then put their notes away and attempted, from memory, to tell the stories again to each other. What remained? What didn’t? It was great to see some of the writers thrive as they told the story afresh without looking down at their books.

Next week we’ll be preparing for our summer showcase, and coming up with plans for the upcoming holidays! 


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