June 16, 2017 - Comments Off on Super Scoopster Edie interviews awesome author, Peter Bunzl

Super Scoopster Edie interviews awesome author, Peter Bunzl

On my! We have a HUGE treat for you today. One of our super Scoopster readers recently interviewed author Peter Bunzl at the fantastic Pickled Pepper Books. Over to you, Edie …

Peter Bunzl is the well-known author of Cogheart and Moonlocket. At the moment he is writing his third book. He told us two possible names for it, but they are TOP SECRET for now. He came to Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End for their book group and I asked him some questions.

What is your favourite book that you have written and who is your favourite character?
My favourite book will have to be Moonlocket because I finished and published it a few months ago, and I had to cut a lot out of Cogheart so I put a lot of the story into Moonlocket. My favourite character is Malkin. He is funny, helpful and always there when you need him. When I was writing Cogheart he was going to be a cat but it did not feel right so I thought about what other animals get chased and a fox seemed obvious. So I worked on adding foxy features to him.

What other time period would you like to set a book in?
I would like to set a book now. With kids who have magical powers, but not like Harry Potter.

When did you start to write?
I started to write when I was ten or eleven. I wrote my mum, dad and my sister a fourteen-page story and I was very pleased with myself. It was about a boy who travelled to an island and met magical, mythical creatures.

When you made your first book did you know it was going to be a sequel?
No, I didn't really know because when I first thought of the idea Cogheart it was going to be a comic strip. But lots of ideas had to be edited and it did not really work so then I tried writing it and it worked!

It was an amazing experience meeting an author of a bestselling book and I'm really looking forward to the new one being published.

For more information about Peter and his brilliant books, head over here.

June 12, 2017 - Comments Off on Presenting Ben Dix, the inspirational founder of Why Comics?, and our global comic competition

Presenting Ben Dix, the inspirational founder of Why Comics?, and our global comic competition

In our current issue, we’re delighted to have joined forces with Why Comics? and Common Everybody to offer an amazing global competition. We’re asking Scoop readers to write a 500-word story about a special journey. There are two categories – one for Years 5 and 6, and one for Years 7 and 8 – and the winning story from each will be transformed into a comic by Why Comics? and featured in our birthday issue in September. A pretty amazing opportunity, don’t you think?

Head here to find out the full details, and read on to discover more about Ben Dix, the mastermind behind Why Comics? and PositiveNegatives.

 Please can you tell us about your background?
I was a photojournalist in India when the 2004 South Asian tsunami occurred. My friend from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) was working in the Tamil Tiger-held area of North Sri Lanka, called Vanni, and he called me on the night of the tsunami and invited me to help him. I left for what I assumed would be a ten-day trip to Sri Lanka, but ended up staying four years.

The first time I used animation and illustrations was when a Norwegian NGO (Norwegian People’s Aid) employed me to develop and run a tsunami education programme in Vanni to educate survivors about the science behind a tsunami and help dispel rumours and superstitions. I worked with the Royal Geographical Society in London and we developed a 3D, semi-animated PowerPoint presentation. We would string up bed sheets between the palm trees on the pristine beaches and present to hundreds of people in the evenings. We did the same in the schools and delivered it to 55,000 people. I realised then that animation and illustrations were wonderful tools for explaining complex issues.

As the conflict between the Tamil Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka began to escalate in the north, I joined the UN in Vanni as a Communications and Liaison Manager. We spent many hours in our bunkers under air and artillery attack and one day I read a copy of Art Spiegleman’s Maus. I hadn’t really read comics before, apart from the odd copy of Calvin and Hobbes and Asterix as a child, but I found it wonderful how the complexities of identity, memory and trauma were presented so simply in Maus. I remember thinking how the rebels, civilians, government forces and the UN all sitting in this jungle would make a fascinatingly powerful graphic novel.

Later, my surviving Tamil friends and old colleagues from Sri Lanka began to contact me, mostly through Facebook, to say that they had come to London, Zurich, Oslo and Chennai as asylum seekers and refugees. I went to visit them and began to record their stories. I then remembered Maus and decided that this would be the graphic novel I wanted to produce – that dealt with conflict, migration, asylum, memory, identity and many other complex issues.

I met a fantastic artist, Lindsay Pollock, and we began to conceptualise the story. The responsibility of story I was aiming to tell, and the ethics involved of turning that story into a visual narrative, then really dawned on me, so I enrolled in a PhD in Anthropology. Fifty per cent of my PhD is the Sri Lanka comic, called The Vanni.

Why do you think comics are such a powerful means of communication?
One of the best things about comics is that incredibly sensitive issues can be told anonymously. Comics also humanise and present complex issues in a way that a general, non-academic international audience can engage with.

Comics can easily transcend time and space, and we can easily go into people’s memories, dreams and spaces, like torture cells, where other media like film makers and photographers cannot go. The media is full of 'othering'. It's easy to see a photo of a refugee and think ‘that's sad but it's not me – they don't look like me’. But with a comic there is a simplicity to the illustrations so we can see ourselves in the illustrations. The simple illustrations of a face and especially as we keep our comics black and white transcend race and ethnicity, and are presented as human. Again, other media can struggle with this.

Also, for the younger generations who constantly interact with the mix of visual and textual information on social media and the world around, the comic sits perfectly as a form of short blocks of text intermingled with the visual without undermining the gravitas of the complex issues they discuss.

 

Can you explain how you research, write and work with artists to illustrate the stories?
The main format is that I approach, or am approached by, an organisation that will fund a project. I then work with them to conceptualise the story we want to tell we've covered issues of sex trafficking, drug addiction, smuggling, refugees, conflict, torture, identity, modern-day slavery, mental health, security and radicalisation.

I then begin to interview people about their lives and stories concerning the issues we're aiming to tell. Usually, I spend many days immersed with the individual and/or community. I record life histories and try to gain a sense of them as an individual. Next, I write an outline of the story as a comic book script. I base all the issues covered in the script on exact descriptions from the interviews, but I have to fictionalise the story to allow it to flow as a story, and to anonymise the individual.

The important step in the process is where I sit back down with the respondents and read them the story. I give them editorial control to make sure they are happy. This is very important as it is their story I'm just telling it. I've found that all the people I've interviewed love having their story told as a comic book. There's an excitement that I've witnessed that I haven't experienced when making documentaries or photo shoots. As I don't have to film, I can simply sit in someone's home, or under a tree, and chat and listen to them I never have to do a retake or worry about fading light etc. It's a very comfy and organic medium to work in especially with such sensitive topics.

Then, I try to find an artist who is appropriate for the particular project. I work closely with the illustrator and animator with the testimonies and the photos to sketch out a storyboard. We then take the storyboards back to the respondents and again ask them to comment on the illustrations. Does the comic look like their story? Once everyone is happy, we ink and finish the comic.

What's your long-term vision?
I would like to develop a community where we are bridging school students in the global north and south through comics. Since comics can be hi/low tech and in multiple languages, I think there is the potential and ability to engage students together from varying backgrounds and global locations.

I'd like PositiveNegatives to be a space where artists from all over the world can upload their stories of their world realities, and audiences can read them through our platforms.

And what’s next on the horizon?
I'm beginning to work on another very difficult story on the rehabilitation of female child soldiers in the DRCongo. I worked in South Sudan for a while and interacted with child soldiers and found it a deeply disturbing experience. I think the comic format will really come into its own to highlight the trauma, memories and experience of what children have gone through in armed groups in DRC. The comics will also have a way of showing their dreams and aspirations for the future.

 

June 5, 2017 - Comments Off on Gift of the GAB – the inspirational Give a Book charity

Gift of the GAB – the inspirational Give a Book charity

Because reading matters: this central philosophy behind the incredible Give a Book charity is very close to Scoop’s own heart, and so we’re delighted to host the following piece, which explains what they do, and why. Huge thanks to our friends at Give a Book for taking the time to write this for us.

Give a Book is a UK-based charity set up in 2011 with the simple aim of giving books where they will be of particular benefit.

Our core belief is that to pass on a good read – to give a book – is a transaction of worth. By working with schools and local communities, and partnering with other organisations, we facilitate the provision of books for a variety of projects. We have seen that there are many different situations where the gift of a book at the right time can really have a positive impact. And as Walt Disney said, ‘There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island.’

A lot of our work is focussed on getting books into schools that need them – where they can help to promote literacy and encourage an enjoyment of reading. We often work directly with schools and specialised organisations such as Hop, Skip & Jump, getting them the books they need; not only to help foster a love of reading but also to have a great impact on mood and outlook – good things happen when you read. We are in contact with some wonderful school librarians, who know what their libraries really need in order to engage pupils.

We partner with a range of organisations to enable further children’s projects. In 2013 we started working with Magic Breakfast, a charity that provides nutritious breakfast food for children in primary schools. We established Magic Breakfast Book Clubs so that children could have a book along with their breakfast, and have so far set up clubs in twenty-three schools.

We also work with Doorstep Library, a charity committed to improving literacy in economically disadvantaged families. We provide books for Doorstep volunteers to take to families around London, engaging both children and parents in the value of reading for pleasure and education. We also provide books for their Read in the Park events across London.

The wonderful feedback we receive from all those involved in our projects encourages us to continue reaching out to new schools and partners. We believe that all children should have the opportunity to discover the pleasure of reading, and continue to support projects that enable this.

You can find out more about the variety of projects we are involved with on our website: giveabook.org.uk/

May 22, 2017 - Comments Off on Poetry Perfection: the 2017 Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award

Poetry Perfection: the 2017 Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award

We at Scoop are huge fans of poetry for children, and so the CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) is very close to our hearts.

Launched in 2003, this is the only award for published poetry for children and, as such, plays a vital role in ensuring that poetry for children is recognised and celebrated. With this year’s shortlist recently announced, we’re delighted to share this fascinating account of the judging process from Rachel Rooney, the Chair of Judges, along with more information about the five brilliant books. Over to Rachel...

 

Acting as Chair of Judges for this year’s CLiPPA has been an honour and a real pleasure – particularly because in my earlier writing days, I’d looked through previous CLiPPA shortlists (and those of its predecessor, the Signal Award) in my search for quality poetry for young people. My fellow judges were Sarah Crossan, Caleb Femi, Charlotte Hacking and Imogen Russell Williams.

There was a certain responsibility to favour those books that were accessible and that might engage young readers. But there was also a debt to poetry itself; to highlight its power and possibility. I was looking for poems that were crafted and honed with the same rigour expected from published ‘adult poetry’. I use quotation marks here because the distinction between adult and children’s poetry is not always clear-cut. A number of adult poems can be accessed and appreciated by children on some significant level. Likewise, adults can be charmed, amused or stimulated by quality poetry that is ostensibly for children.

So when reading through the long-listed books, I sought to satisfy the eyes, ears and heart of my inner-child as well as her more critical outer-adult. What was I hoping for? The child in me wanted surprise and intrigue, comfort and familiarity, musicality and playfulness. I didn’t want to knowingly be told how I should feel – though I was open to skilled persuasion. (Yes, I was that stubborn child.) My outer-adult noted the originality and inventiveness of ideas and form, technical skill, authenticity of voice and a breadth of vision. There were hundreds of poems to be considered. Some made me double take. Some offered up more secrets on a further reading. Then there were those that intrinsically hit the emotional age spot and demanded to be re-read. These were amongst the most memorable ones.

Judging was made a challenge by the spread of books that were submitted. The CLiPPA is open to published poetry books for a diverse and changing readership, from the pre-schooler to the early teen. How does one compare a poetic prose novel with early verse? A single-poet collection with an anthology? Like a poem, each book ultimately has to be measured against itself. Did it achieve its specific aim? Was there a satisfying match between subject matter, tone, form and flow? Did it work for the intended readership? Was it polished and did it gleam?

Poetry is subjective by nature and so I was thankful to work alongside four other judges, all of whom brought their own expertise and interests to the table. There were some inevitable differences of opinion but this was generally accepted to be a matter of personal taste. We tried to focus on the quality of the writing and consider what it might offer a certain reader at a certain age. Was it pitched well and did it leave room for growth?

Writing poetry for children can appear easy but writing powerful poetry that is accessible and appealing to children is considerably more difficult to achieve. In their own particular way, the following books all did this:

Zim Zam Zoom by James Carter, illustrated by Nicola Colton (Otter-Barry Books)
This book is perfectly pitched for the young listener or early reader. Rhythmically pleasing to the ear, the poems ask to be read aloud and provide plenty of opportunities for joining-in. The poems are patterned yet playful, familiar yet surprising. James Carter achieves a lot in a small space. 3+

Jelly Boots Smelly Boots by Michael Rosen, illustrated by David Tazzyman (Bloomsbury)
Quirky, clever poems ranging from those that involve humorous misunderstandings to thoughtful and more intimate musings. Michael Rosen’s slick word play skills and sharp observations are evident throughout. 6+

Wonderland, Alice in Poetry, edited by Michaela Morgan, illustrated by John Tenniel (Macmillan)
In this anthology, Michaela Morgan curates the poetry of Lewis Carroll and his sources, inviting new and established contemporary poets to pen their responses. Some poems are tangential, some mirror and some subvert - but all of them celebrate the spirit of Wonderland with their own refreshing spin. 8+

Moon Juice by Kate Wakeling, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa (The Emma Press)
A debut collection of poetry that presents magical, strange and unlikely events in a confident and persuasive way. These poems are lively and unexpected and Kate Wakeling shows a consistent sensitivity to the rhythm and power of language. 8+

Booked by Kwame Alexander (Andersen Press)
In this free verse novel, written in the voice of 12-year-old soccer-loving boy, Kwame Alexander weaves an emotive narrative through poetry and word play. We are drawn into the hopes and disappointments of the main character and like him, we discover the power of poetry and delight in words along the way. 10+

Once the shortlisted books were agreed upon, we sat back and viewed the selection. There was a surprising but satisfying span of ages catered for and a variety of poetry formats and writing styles. The number of books submitted this year had increased and there was a healthy spread of publishers across the shortlist. This bodes very well for the future of published children’s poetry.

 

Rachel Rooney
Visit Rachel’s website www.rachelrooneypoet.com
View films of Rachel performing on www.clpe.org.uk/poetryline
Sign up for the free Schools Shadowing Scheme for CLiPPA www.clpe.org.uk/clippa2017

 

May 15, 2017 - Comments Off on Get the inside scoop on author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson

Get the inside scoop on author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson

We at Scoop are over the moon to present this OUT-OF-THE-WORLD interview with the multi-talented Laura Ellen Anderson – writer, illustrator and creator of cool comic strips and graphic novels – ahead of her Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour. The tour will see Laura visit schools in the Western Isles between 15 and 19 May, delivering inspiring interactive comic workshops in which the lucky attendees will get to create their very own comic characters and story boards.

Read on to find out more about Laura’s work …

 You’re a multi-talented author, illustrator, creator of comic strips and graphic novels, but which was your first love: writing or illustration? And what are the respective joys and challenges of each role?
Hello! Now this is a TRICKY question because I absolutely LOVE both writing and illustrating in equal measures. I often have days when I’m feeling more for one over the other. Recently, my passion for writing has very much grown since landing my debut fiction deal. To me, writing feels a lot more immediate. You’re able to express an idea or how a character is feeling within a few sentences, whereas illustrating takes a bit longer. That’s not to say it’s any less fun. Bringing a piece of writing to life with an illustration is one of the best feelings. An illustration can help to enhance the world and often demonstrate an element of a story rather than having to write it down. I feel blessed to be able to write and illustrate my own work.

Your Evil Emperor Penguin comic strips for The Phoenix comic are massively popular! Did you have a specific reader in mind when you first created this character? And what was your initial inspiration for the character? Was there an Evil Emperor EUREKA moment?
The very first time I drew an Evil Emperor Penguin of sorts was during a summer job at a screen-printing company. I was doing odd jobs, packing and folding and I spotted some sticky notepaper. When you leave an artist alone with a sticky note pad and access to a pen, silly-Evil Emperor Penguin-shaped ideas may come to life! My colleague at the time loved penguins and the idea pretty much fell out of my brain. It was just a bit of fun to fill the time … little did I know he’d be starring in his own full-blown comic some years down the line!

Woo-hoo! Evil Emperor Penguin is now available in graphic novel form! What do you think are the greatest appeals of this form of storytelling? And which graphic novels would you recommend as must-reads for newcomers to the form?
I think graphic novels can be a bit more accessible for reluctant readers and those who may feel a little intimidated by a full-blown text-only book. To me, a graphic novel is like following a set of movie stills. It’s the closest you can get to watching an animated film, without the moving picture. Films often start out with a storyboard, so it’s like that really. Some graphic novels I’d recommend are Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, Gary’s Garden by Gary Northfield and Unicorn on a Roll by Dana Simpson.

 What’s the most important lesson you learned when you were starting out? What advice would you give to aspiring young writers and illustrators?
One lesson I learned was to KEEP GOING. Keep drawing, keep writing down ideas (even if you think they’re no good) and persevere. Publishers will inevitably dislike a bunch of your ideas, but they’ll also love the right idea at the right time. Also, as cheesy as it sounds, write and draw from the HEART. I can’t express how important that is. A publisher will be able to tell when you’re passionate and excited about an idea, and all of those feelings will show through your work. This enables the publisher to FEEL your passion, and get excited about the idea themselves. This is so valuable.

Who, or what, is your biggest inspiration?
I am incredibly inspired by animated film. The likes of Disney Pixar, Laika, Aardman and Dreamworks. A good animated film really speaks to me. When I’m writing or illustrating, I always consider my work as if it were a moving picture. I even compose book covers as if they are a film poster. I am hugely inspired more by film than other comics if I’m completely honest. The work of Tim Burton has also had a huge impact on me; I have a soft spot for any quirky gothic story with a spindly character! And of course, other illustrated books have inspired me over the years ... Growing up, I was a huge fan of The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy, any of Jacqueline Wilson’s books illustrated by Nick Sharratt, and Roald Dahl’s collection illustrated by Quentin Blake. All of these have deeply inspired me over time.

You’ve illustrated many brilliant books written by other people – for example, My Brother is a Superhero, and Witch Wars. How does illustrating books written by other people compare with the process of both writing and illustrating your own work? Illustrating for other authors is such a joy. It’s a real pleasure to bring a character to life, especially when you gel with the story and it’s a subject matter you really enjoy. So far, I’ve been paired up with some fabulous authors all of whom I’ve gotten along with so well and loved illustrating their stories. I feel very lucky. I also feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to write and illustrate my own stories. It’s something I’ve been aiming for and wanting to do for years. Now that I’m finally doing it, I can safely say, there’s nothing I’d rather do in life! I’m always up for illustrating other author’s work as well as working on my own. It’s nice to have the choice to do both!

Are there any children’s classics you’d love to illustrate and/or re-tell?
I would NOT say no if I was asked to illustrate anything remotely Harry Potter related … But one book I’ve always thought would be lovely to illustrate would be The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I do also love a good fairytale. It would be fun to illustrate a Brother’s Grimm tale or a story by Hans Christian Andersen.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently writing and illustrating my debut book Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball, which will be published by Egmont on 5 October 2017. There will be three books in the series, so I’m working on the edits for book two whilst I round illustrating book one! I’m also working on my second picture book with Bloomsbury to follow on from I Don’t Want Curly Hair, and of course, Evil Emperor Penguin for the . I’m also due to start work on the next two books in the Witch Wars series with Sibeal Pounder. Busy and Exciting times!

You’re about to embark on the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour in the Western Isles. What can the lucky attendees expect from your events?
Lots of silliness!!! I’ll be giving the pupils an insight into how I create the characters from Evil Emperor Penguin; a look at the way I structure an episode, and they’ll also have lots of fun creating some evil inventions to incorporate into their own dastardly comic! MWAHAHAHAAAAR!

May 5, 2017 - Comments Off on Young readers! Exercise your right to vote … for the 2017 Children’s Book Award.

Young readers! Exercise your right to vote … for the 2017 Children’s Book Award.

 

 Coordinated by the Federation of Children’s Books Groups, the highly respected Children’s Book Award is the ONLY national award for children’s books that’s voted for entirely by children, and young readers have one week left to vote in the 2017 awards (the deadline for online voting is 12 noon, Friday 12 May).

Past winners have included J. K. Rowling, Patrick Ness, Andy Stanton, Malorie Blackman, Anthony Horowitz and Michael Morpurgo, and the award has a fabulous track record of recognising future stars of children’s fiction. The ten titles on the shortlist for the categories of Books for Younger Children, Books for Younger Readers and Books for Older Readers were chosen by children nationwide who read and voted for the books throughout the year as part of the network of the Federation’s Children’s Book Groups. Here’s the shortlist in full:

Books for Younger Children

Chicken Nugget by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Tom McLaughlin, published by Puffin

Oi Dog by Kes Gray and Claire Gray, illustrated by Jim Field, published by Hodder

Grandad's Island by Benji Davies, published by Simon and Schuster

Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger by Helen Stephens, published by Scholastic

Books for Younger Readers

The Accidental Pirates (Voyage to Magical North) by Claire Fayer, published by Macmillan

An Eagle in the Snow by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman published by Harper Collins Children’s Books

The Jam Doughnut that Ruined my Life by Mark Lowery, illustrated by Hannah Shaw, published by Piccadilly

 Books for Older Readers

One by Sarah Crossan, published by Bloomsbury

Car-Jacked by Ali Sparkes, published by OUP

Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens, published by Puffin

Head here to find out more about the award and how young readers can cast their votes for category winners.

April 13, 2017 - Comments Off on Books to put a spring in young readers’ steps

Books to put a spring in young readers’ steps

With Easter almost upon us, and spring well and truly sprung, here are a few reading suggestions that are sure to put a spring in young readers’ steps.

Perfect Picture Books for Seedling Readers

Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed is a picture book classic that explores a small seed’s extraordinary journey over oceans, deserts and mountains. It survives peril upon peril before settling into the soil and growing into a splendidly tall flower.

Emily Gravett’s ingeniously witty The Odd Egg is now available as a board book, and the split pages create some cracking (pun entirely intended) visual jokes. Poor Duck feels left out by not having an egg to hatch, until he finds an egg of his own. While the other birds think it’s rather odd, to Duck it’s the most beautiful egg ever and, when it hatches, everyone’s in for quite a surprise!

Guess How Much I Love You in the Spring? offers a sweet slice of seasonal knowledge as lovely Little Nutbrown Hare learns all about nature and the changes that spring brings.

Fabulous Feasts

With chocolate everywhere you look, little ones might be tempted to wish for more, more, more but the heroine of David Lucas’s Grendel: A Cautionary Tale about Chocolate finds out the hard way that wishing everything he touches turns to chocolate isn't such a good idea...

Elys Dolan’s Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory is the very epitome of picture book innovation, and will delight readers of five upwards (adults very much included). When factory boss Mr Bunny decides to crank up production, his poultry workers team up to make a stand. It’s packed with clever detail, and offers an introduction to capitalism and protest (yes - in a picture book!) through much hilarity.

This is also the perfect season for introducing newly independent readers to the heartwarming delights of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We also recommend Stephanie Burgis’s newly published The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, an enchanting and decidedly delicious tale of a fierce dragon who finds her true (chocolaty) vocation through friendship.

The Great Outdoors

Longer, warmer days make exploring the great outdoors even more magical, and Maria Ana Peixe Dias’s Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature is a treasure trove of illustration and information that will inspire even the most hardened couch potato to get out and explore the great outdoors, including city landscapes.

And for fiction that captures nature’s thrills, Pier Torday’s The Last Wild trilogy comes highly recommended. This sequence of all-action ecological thrillers set in a dystopian world bears a vital message about the interdependence of humanity and the natural world.

 

April 6, 2017 - Comments Off on Pots of Inspiration

Pots of Inspiration

We at Scoop are all about enthusing young readers to get creative, and so we’re delighted to have discovered the inspiring Inkpots writing workshops. So, if you know, or if you ARE, a budding young writer, read on to discover the creative delights that await ...

 

Great reasons for joining a writing club

Are you a member of a writing group or club? If you enjoy writing, you may think of it as something that you do on your own – in fact, writers of all kinds are often seen as being quite solitary. But there are lots of positive reasons why joining a workshop or group for writers can be really helpful for you and your stories.

Here are just a few:

  • You get to hang out with people who get what you do. It’s great to be with people who understand why you want to write – and they will probably enjoy reading books and creating stories as much as you do too.
  • Being in a group is great for sharing ideas – you know that feeling when you have an idea but are just not sure if there is a story in it? Sharing your plans is brilliant in a group as there is always someone to give you feedback.
  • We all get stuck with our writing from time to time. A writers’ group can be just the place to go and get unstuck because everyone has been there!
  • We have one group at Inkpots where the children have an ongoing story that they are all working on together. They all contribute – some come up with brilliant characters and storylines, while others are doing the illustrations. It’s a really good way to learn to work as part of a team
  • In a well-run writers’ group, positive feedback is encouraged. You will be able to learn what people like about your stories, as well as those bits that maybe don’t work as well. But this will be done in such a way that you will be able to take on the advice and really develop your writing.
  • You will get to see things from someone else’s point of view too, and learn different techniques.
  • Making new friends!
  • Have fun! Above all writing should be fun – and your group should be a warm, welcoming place too.

Inkpots runs workshops in mid-Sussex in the UK, but also has an online club too – Inkpots Inc – which is also warm, welcoming and supportive. And fun! Your school or local library may run a writers’ group.

More information: http://inkpots.org/wordpress/inkpots-inc/