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Write On Issue 57: Believe It or Not : Notes for Writers and Teachers #1

In a world where the lines between truth and fiction are often blurred, we asked young writers to tell us the truth or lies or something in-between. After all, truth can lie at the heart of fiction. As you explore this edition we encourage you to look at the heart of each piece and to identify the choices that the young writers have made while redrafting their initial ideas.

Our notes will explore each page/spread as a mini collection. Although some pieces share common features they also differ as the individuals writers bring their own voice and flavour to the work. There is plenty here to inspire and prompt new writing.

PAGE 1: Real Unreal

What if? by Charlie L, Year 7 ( inside cover)

Real Unreal by Olivia A, Year 7

The Circus by Selena B, Year 5

Breathing Deep by Ethan F, Year 6

Fibbing about Fibs by Milla N-A, Year 8

In What If? Charlie starts where many writers start…with a “what if?” question.

What if / you opened a book/ about angry teachers and one jumped out?

This surprising question leads to surprising possibilities. You could pose some “what if?” questions and see where they lead. We noticed the choices Charlie has made to play with sounds and language to enhance his initial ideas: more and more spill forth, clashing and bashing, groaning and moaning. When you redraft your piece, what language choices will you make? Will you finish with a question too?

Sounds are also important in Olivia’s piece Real Unreal. Maintaining a rhyming and rhythmic pattern is often a first choice for aspiring young poets and yet it is a very difficult task to maintain both rhyme, rhythm and meaning. Rhyming words limit the choices a writer has. Olivia has succeeded here by keeping the focus on the storyline and allowing for half-rhymes or chimes such as howl/now and phase/afraid.

We appreciated the level of honesty as the poet works through her fears to a find a resolution. You might like to explore a train of thoughts of things that worry you. You don’t need to rhyme.

Selena used colour to quickly bring objects to life throughout her flash fiction, The Circus. She begins by drawing the picture for the reader- a tent, a juggler, the tricks and then comes the change. The ending left us breathless at Selena’s skill in managing the change and the reader’s expectations.

Your challenge is to create a scene in a few sentences in which colour, objects people and action feature. Then turn the action by having something surprising happen. A flash fiction story does not need to resolve everything.

In Breathing Deep, Ethan uses extended metaphor to explore emotional change. We really admired this piece for the freshness of the language. We all know about the cliche “butterflies in my stomach” but Ethan moves that idea further with little butterflies bounce around my leafy lungs . He starts with anxiety being like leaves and butterflies, then sets the leaves afire and burns down the tree with anger. What metaphors can you find to explore different emotions? Select one and extend that metaphor so we discover something new.

Fibbing about Fibs is a piece of fun about telling fibs and a play on words. A fibonacci poem uses a certain number of words each line following the Fibonacci sequence. 1, 1, 2 ,3 ,5, 8 ... Yes, maths and poetry can go hand in hand! In this poem, Mila chose to increase and decrease the pattern. Explore the Fibonacci sequence and then write a poem with a limited number of words on each line. It could be about anything!

Happy writing

TEACHERS, If you wish to order extra copies of Write On Issue 57: Believe It or Not so your students can each access a copy, please order here. We have special discounts for class sets of 10 or 30.

Seeking publication opportunities for your young writers? We are open now for submissions for Write On Issue 58: Food for Thought. See here.

Next up:

Nothing But the Truth- pages 2&3.

Nine more incredible pieces of writing by young people.

(C) Write On 2022


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