College Students visit Auckland Writers’ Festival
Friday, 23 May 2014
With the by-line, ‘Think between the lines,’ last week our Year 13 Scholarship English class, as well as selected Middle School exceptional writers, had the opportunity to go to the Auckland Writers’ Festival. They were fortunate to hear Eleanor Catton, John Marsden, Cornelia Funke and Lloyd Jones – who all offered insights into the process and best practice of writing.
Eleanor Catton's advice about story writing was simply … not to be boring! She said that in order to make sure your reader stays engaged in the story, things must change. She encouraged students to keep in mind the many factors that come into play while considering those things that are both within and out of our control as the narrative is developed. She said, ‘Any time you get stuck or wonder what to do with the situation, consider asking yourself the reader's questions about what you have shared. Do they want to know how, why or what next?
Year 9 student, Ben Creemers commented that the key writing strategy he learned from Ms Catton, was that ‘Language is infinitely malleable, like plasticine, and a writer must have an even mix of accidents, deeds, discoveries and decisions to craft an interesting story.’
The students also enjoyed John Marsden's practical advice to always consider the status of their characters – ‘How do you portray that in your characters' dialogue and in the description of the action and their body language. He also told them to focus on nouns and verbs – a similar piece of advice that our students heard from Joe Bennett last term, who claimed, ‘nouns and verbs are where the muscles are in your piece of writing.’
From all the writers we heard at the Auckland Writers’ Festival, the students learned that writing must have energy!