I’ve been off the air for a while with school holidays and grandchildren keeping me busy, not to mention working on Sage for Sanctuary, Book 5 of the Janna Mysteries. But one of the really fun things I’ve done is conduct a ‘writing fantasy’ workshop at the Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft, Sydney. It’s run by Paul Macdonald who does a fabulous job bringing children and books (and authors) together, with loads of different holiday programmes and lots of fun stuff for kids like writing and drawing workshops, book binding and so on.

Seventeen students sat in on my session and, through a series of fun writing exercises, they worked out a plan for a fantasy short story. We had a great time inventing a setting for the story (some really creepy places came out of that one!) and talking about different quests and the sorts of things that might happen to help or hinder the protagonist from succeeding in what he or she set out to achieve. There was lots of discussion as students pulled magical objects out of a bag and came up with some ideas of how the objects could be used in a story – for good or ill. We also explored characters and magical creatures.
Parents were invited to attend towards the end of the session, to hear some of the students reading their work and witness ‘prize-giving’, with participants awarded certificates and also winning copies of my books: Ghost Boy and Willows for Weeping.

For me, it was really rewarding to see how eagerly students participated in the various exercises, how much they wrote, and how keen they were to read and share their writing throughout the session. Some really great writing and fantastic ideas came out of it, and I’m hoping everyone left inspired to finish their stories.

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