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

20 January 2024

Posted by By Robyn O'Mahoney

Titles, blurbs and openings

Titles, blurbs and openings


On Saturday 13 th January the Junior and Young Writers gathered at MAST Mayflower

Studios for the first writing workshops of 2024.


The sessions began with an introduction from successful children’s author, Ali Sparkes, who

is leading the groups this term. The groups were excited at the prospect of being guided by a

novelist with many titles under her belt, and we were all keen to put our pens to the page for

session one.


Once we were reacquainted, we discussed the journey we go on when we choose books in

libraries and bookstores. We talked about the importance of an intriguing cover, a strong

title, and a well-written blurb. And we considered the opening page of a story, how it needs

to hook us before we decide to dive in.


To demonstrate what we had discussed, Ali presented four of her books and asked the

groups to vote for the one they found most interesting, based on different aspects. The

decisions of the group changed as we started with just a title, then a blurb, then a piece of

the narrative, and we saw how our perceptions and interests went in different directions the

more informed we became.


Both groups then split into pairs to come up with their own ideas for a novel. They had to

decide on a title, write a blurb, and begin chapter one, before sharing their creations with

their peers. We heard some wonderful ideas, including 9,000 Years in Space, Detective Dog,

The Road from Home and Space Guinea Pigs and the Curly Kale of Death.


Both groups were brave and confident when they shared their story ideas, which were fully

formed and unique. Every pitch received a great response, and Ali gave

comprehensive feedback to encourage the writers to continue with their ideas and writing.


Next week Mayflower Junior and Young Writers will be joined by assistant, Carla Hall. 


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