Having read his first novel, The Cry of the Wolf, back in 1990, Mrs Gibson has been a fan of Melvin Burgess ever since, so she was not going to turn down the opportunity of having him visiting Backwell School! As he usually writes for older teenagers these days, she was pleased to offer an event for the older students in school. Rather than the traditional “author talk”, she and the English Department arranged for Melvin to run two workshops for Y10-12 students who enjoy writing and wish to learn more about the craft.
What a thought-provoking morning we had! Melvin emphasised the importance of structure, and proceeded to use fairy stories to analyse character and event. We dissected Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White – great stories, seminal characters and known world wide, even in the Congo. Then we attempted to recreate our own modern stories with the same bare bones – not so easy, but some great ideas.
For those who are interested in writing, he recommended the ARVON Foundation who run residential writing courses across the country. He also spoke highly of the Creative Writing Degree course at Bath Spa University .
And don’t forget the Rule of 10,000 hours (which includes reading)!