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Write On Issue 57: Believe It or Not : Notes for Writers and Teachers #2

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 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.

PAGES 2 &3 :

Camouflage by Skylar, Year 8

My Bedroom by Sophie, Year 5

My Brother's room by Hettie, Year 3

Things I love by Issy, Year 7

Bad Pranks by Ethan, Year 6

The Water Cycle ( Disgusting but true) by Eli, Year 6

The Poetic Voice by Noah, Year 13

Cow Life by Angie, Year 7

Supernova by Yaxin, Year 8

We were so impressed with Skylar's very insightful story Camouflage.

This story started with a challenge to write a superpower story where the power could be literal or metaphorical. Once Skylar had her first draft ( the first draft is only the writer telling themself the story, according to Neil Gaiman) she spent some time cutting back so that nothing slowed the pace. One of the choices Skylar made early was to write her piece in present tense to help give immediacy to the story. We noticed the way that Skylar skillfully handled repetition in the opening paragraph, and used dialogue to move the story forward. When we reached the end and saw that Amelia received her award "for being genuine" with a fake smile we shuddered at the truth that was exposed.

What other superpowers could you explore, either literal or metaphorical? What is the story behind the invisible girl? The boy who breathes fire? The old lady who moves objects with her mind?

There are two poems on this spread about bedrooms. Most of us have a bedroom that we know well and writers often draw on things they know. In My Bedroom, Sophie writes a poem with a twist - she plays with the reader's expectations as the sound of mice turns out to be her parents and she sneakily hides the i-pad. The last three lines seem like instructions.

In 'My Brother's Room' Hettie plays with the list poem format. Which of the things she lists do you think is true? Hettie made sure to make her best line the last line so the reader finishes off with a satisfied smile.

You could write about your own room or someone else's room with a twist - or check out some of the list poem ideas on our blog. Here or Here or Here

Things I Love by Issy is also a list poem. In this poem Issy combines rhyming or chiming couplets of all the things she loves. Note that non-perfect rhymes also work well!

Minecraft. People that laugh.

Yellow and black. Playing tag. Rice risotto (no tomato)

It also has a twist... what do you think is meant by combining the final couplet All my friends. Colour blends. ?

Can you make rhyming couplets of the things you love/ hate/ or are not bothered about!

Bad Pranks and The Water Cycle ( Disgusting but true) both appealed to our selectors for the understated humour.

Ethan tells a simple story of a prank that has a repeating pattern as the narrator falls for it more than once. This story feels very believable and we loved how it turned at the end.

Eli's exploration of the more disgusting aspects of the water cycle does not spell it out. We are left to fill in the gaps and be grossed out. This is a great example of how to let the reader do some work.

Can you tell the story of a prank that backfired?

Can you gross us out without being gross?

Noah writes song lyrics and we could see the lyricism here in The Poetic Voice. We all understand the difficulty sometimes of getting words on a blank page.

It's hard to find my voice / when the paper is so quiet

Which is your favourite line?

Perhaps you might like to write about the difficulty of writing! It's better than leaving that page blank.

In Cow Life, Angie writes a persona poem, exploring the world through the thoughts of a cow. We really enjoyed the 'honesty' of this piece, well as honest as we think a cow can be! You could write an 'honest' poem from the viewpoint of any animal or object. What will you choose?

Supernova is the final and smallest piece in this collection at only 7 words long. When exploring ideas about Outer Space, Yaxin matched a supernova with a landmine and extended the metaphor. Writing short is very hard to get right but it is great fun to try. Can you create a metaphor for an object in space and extend it to no more that 12 words? Try a number of times with different objects and if you are lucky one of them might be just the ticket!

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: The Real Deal- pages 4&5 Eight great examples of memoir writing (C) Write On 2022


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