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16 December 2023

Posted by Sukie & Claire

Junior Writers - Week 6 - Writing Winter

[Apologies for no week 5 session. Rail strike, plus signal failure, plus points failure = Claire & Sukie stuck on a train at Bournemouth station for over an hour, to then be told the train would no longer be going to New Milton].


Hi Writers,


The theme of this week’s workshop was winter (with a hint of Christmas and festive spirit). We had

our new assistant facilitator join us for the day, writer and performer Sukie Baker.


In our check-in, everyone chose a Christmas movie and a Christmas-related item that they felt

represented their week. From a phone with limited storage to a too-full stocking to a big present full

of things, it seemed everyone was feeling the pre-holiday rush!


Some great book recommendations were given when we asked what everyone was reading –

including a series of mysteries with great titles like ‘Arsenic For Tea’ and ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ –

before a riveting game of charades where we stretched our observational skills to the max.


We embarked on a series of sensory writing exercises, exploring what different words such as ‘long

nights’, ‘hot chocolate’ and ‘Christmas’ could sound, look, feel, taste or smell like. Indie’s ‘Long

Nights’ was very atmospheric, and Marissa’s ‘Christmas Jumper’ was beautifully clear.


Together, we read excerpts from ‘The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe’ and a summary of ‘A

Night At The Frost Fair’ and discussed how sensory language, paying careful attention to imagery

and well-rounded sensory description can transport a reader (or listener!) to an entirely different

place and make it feel deeply real.


‘There was no answer and Edmund noticed that his own voice had a curious sound – not the sound

you expect in a cupboard, but a kind of open-air sound. He also noticed that he was unexpectedly

cold; and then he saw a light.

“Thank goodness,” said Edmund, “the door must have swung open of its own accord.” He forgot all

about Lucy and went towards the light, which he thought was the open door of the wardrobe. But

instead of finding himself stepping out into the spare room he found himself stepping out from the

shadow of some thick dark fir trees into an open place in the middle of a wood.

There was crisp, dry snow under his feet and more snow lying on the branches of the trees. Overhead

there was pale blue sky, the sort of sky one sees on a fine winter day in the morning. Straight ahead

of him he saw between the tree-trunks the sun, just rising, very red and clear. Everything was

perfectly still, as if he were the only living creature in that country. There was not even a robin or a

squirrel among the trees, and the wood stretched as far as he could see in every direction. He

shivered.’


During our character development exercise, Hamish and Marissa came up with a pair of fantastic

felines: Santa Paws, the Christmas tiger (who always carries biscuits!) and Santa Claws, the lion who

hates sand. Between them, they wove a tale of derring do and hijinks as the two warriors battled

against the evil Grinchiskull and prevented him from taking over the world by ruining Christmas.


Indie also created a great adventure story, where Angel, the super-powered, pink girlfriend of Stitch,

fought off the crafty Red Stitch and saved Christmas with the help of a serendipitous lawnmower

and a length of rope.


To round out the session, we played a quick round of one-word story and created a shockingly

coherent narrative of Santa Paws and Santa Claws defeating Grinchiskull once again.


Wishing you all a Happy Christmas


See you in 2024


x

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