Because I love telling stories and writing so much, I have always wanted to share that with other people, and get them writing too! Everyone has a story, everyone has some tale to tell… When I was an English teacher part of the job was to do exactly that, to get young people to write. Yes, in theory it was for their exams, but in practice I wanted it to be much more.
I taught in main stream schools for over fifteen years, then after a brief intermission having my own children and telling them stories, I went back into teaching. In my new line of work I was teaching young people who for various reasons (often not through their own fault) they were not in school and outside the statutory education system. Many of them were totally alienated from even the idea of education, let alone what I was trying to teach which they saw as irrelevant. ‘I can speak English – I don’t need you to teach me!’
However, I needed to teach them; and in the last ‘school’ I worked in, I not only had to teach them, but in one single year prepare them for public exams and get them through those exams! Now most of these young people were intelligent, able, imaginative, literate… and short of time to turn things around to get the qualifications and certification they needed. My colleagues and I had just one year to get them ready!
I created what I suppose was actually a creative writing course… After I finished work to start writing full-time, I looked back at the material I had produced for them, which was in a specific order, and had been refined over years of trial and error with a very critical set of ‘guinea pigs’, and very important reason to get it right.
The upshot of all this is, that a short while ago, I polished up and published this material as a short book ‘So You Want To Write’!
Here is an excerpt:
Some people like to plan their stories, some people like to let their stories unfold almost by themselves or as the characters develop.
If you already have a story, skip the next bit! If you don’t have a story in mind, but really want to write something then you need…
Where do stories come from? Here are some ideas:
- an observation of people passing by
- an incident you observed /a scrap of conversation overheard
- a strange experience /coincidence
- a dream/ day-dream
- a traditional story or legend
- a what if… moment
- a found photo… who are those people?
- the story of a house
- a picture
- a song/ music
So off you go and write your story, but once it is complete, then the hard work begins!
However you write your story, there are things common to all story-telling. Some are so obvious you may not have properly considered them. This brief list is expanded in an appendix – but there are plenty of ideas to get anyone writing!!
Here is a link to find ‘So You Want To Write’ – as an e-book or a tree book: