Margaret Clarke Workshop

CHIP was privileged to have writer Margaret Clarke to deliver a workshop on writing from the mind’s eye.

Margaret, who has written many stories for children and teenagers, had the children captivated with her tales and witty delivery.

She introduced the children to her journey as a writer.  She told them about inspirations from her childhood including a not so nice librarian whom she later wrote about in her children’s story: The Vampire Librarian about a librarian who drives a hearse! She shared her letter that she wrote to the Queen and the scrapbook she keeps of articles and things of interest to inspire her writing.

She explained that it was important to learn the mechanics of writing, however to encourage creativity, she asked the children to jot down the first word that came into their head and write for 5 minutes letting the word be the trigger ….

It was great to hear the stories from the children taking shape.

We had stories about:

  • Pickle the pickle…
  • A lunatic jumping through a window …..
  • Hedgehog , a fox and a hedge
  • The magic toe and a box of cereal
  • A bored boy and an X box
  • Zombie animals

To name a few…

Some of Margaret’s tips:

  • Think about who you want to write for and the audience;
  • Know the age range you are writing for;
  • Give you character a problem to solve;
  • Know how to condense the story;
  • Write whatever comes into your head for 5 minutes – you can edit it later.  The  writing flows better when it all just “comes out”;
  • Observe and notice details around you …. this will make you a better writer;
  • The best stories tend to come from “real life”;
  • Keep a sketchbook  of different things that are interesting or that would make a good story;
  • Writing is like a seesaw; it needs balance in a paragraph.  It is ok to start with short sentences, and then add description.

We asked some children about the workshop:

  1. What did you learn today?
    • I learnt how to write short and long sentences and balance my writing
    • Using better vocabulary
    • About using observation
  2. How will you use the information you have learnt in your writing?
    • I will use the balancing technique in my writing
    • It will make me stick at my story writing
    • Thinking of better stories and genres
  3. How did you describe today
    • Fun
    • Interesting
    • Awesome