22 January 2018
The Arts Centre Theatre was a hive of creativity this week when students in Years 5-8 welcomed author, Ross Welford, to Pipers to talk to them about story writing, his writing journey and all the things that inspire him.
Ross was a journalist and television producer before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of “Time Travelling With A Hamster”, “What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible” and most recently “The 1,000-year-old Boy”. “Time Travelling with a Hamster” has been shortlisted for no fewer than 14 of the country’s biggest children’s book prizes, including the Costa, the Blue Peter, the Branford Boase, and the Waterstones Prize and it was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal.
Ross began by speaking about how important it is to read what you enjoy and how story-telling is an art that has been in existence as long as humans have been on the planet. He went on to discuss his latest book, “The 1,000-year-old Boy” which was, in part, inspired by his interest in history and how events of the past can have an impact on the modern world.
During the session Ross read an extract from his book before challenging the audience to come up with some story ideas of their own using the prompts – what would you do if you could time travel? and what would you do if you became were invisible? He encouraged the girls to think about the consequences of their ideas – the ability to fully consider what would actually happen in a situation, including the impact any action might have on others, is a key approach to writing stories.
Another story writing technique Ross talked about was the importance of re-writing a story. He explained how once a story is written it often needs rewriting to reach its full potential – revealing that one of his own books took three re-writes until it was finished!
To demonstrate how easy it can be to devise an outline for a story Ross gave the girls a title of a well-known book “Lost and Found” and challenged them to collaboratively construct a story, identifying main characters, events and places. The outcome was as follows:
There was once a flying, talking pig called Queen Delilah, who had a servant called Bob – a flamingo. The Queen lost her glasses and, after much searching, ended up in a butcher’s shop at the annual convention of butchers. After being saved from some stampeding cows, the Queen found her glasses and she and Bob both lived happily ever after!
School Librarian, Mrs Harris, said “It is hugely important to encourage young people to love literature and reading, and Ross certainly succeeded in inspiring us all to want to be storytellers. We are really looking forward to seeing how the girls use the advice and tips Ross gave them to help them with their creative writing, especially if they choose to enter this year’s Radio 2 500 words story writing competition.”