After a wobbly start to Scat’s re-launch, thanks to C19, Scat has finally found firm footing for his return. Ready to face his readers with a new cover and a revised version of his book, this wily feline feels confident that more children will enjoy his fabulous tale.
Bullying affects everyone. It’s not easy to overcome the sense of helplessness you feel when you are bullied by someone. Nor is it easy to understand that some bullies have their own terrible tales to tell. Scat follows the path of vengeance against his bully but soon learns that there are consequences to every action.
Watch Scat’s story here and share it with your family and friends.
It has been an absolute pleasure to assist this wonderful lady on her journey into becoming a writer. Not only does her talent as a writer shine, she has a heart of gold and voices that bring her characters to life each time she reads her work to me! Wishing Tess all the success she deserves after working so hard on her first children’s book.
This blog is all about my friend and mentor, Eloise De Sousa. My children’s book, Cathas and the Squirrel Incident, is a “button being pressed” away from being published. It’s all down to Eloise.
Yes, I wrote the adventures of the little ginger cat and the Peace family but she has done all the hard work of editing and putting it all together. I don’t have a clue when it comes to using my lap top. Oh yes, I can turn it on and, on a good day, actually use it and turn it off! This lady has spent her time organising the configuration of my book despite not feeling too well and having to move home.
Eloise is an author in her own right. She has written an assortment of books from animal adventures to murders most foul! She is a brilliant mentor and a lovely person. Her…
My second blog is a more cheerful one. I am going to share with you just how excited I am that my first story for children will be shown as an ebook. This has been brought about by an extremely brilliant author, Eloise De Sousa of EDS Mentoring. She has been a tower of strength […]
Most of our young writers have been working hard over the past few weeks, completing their competition entries for various challenges coming up. Some find the first draft the hardest part of the process whereas others struggle when it comes to editing and redrafting the same piece over and again until it is perfect. There is a line that is drawn to reach that perfection and I have had to pull the reigns on some of my students who don’t know when to stop.
Searching for that perfection in writing is, to some degree, pointless. I can hear many of you disagreeing with me but hear me out on why I think this way.
Perfection is subjective: every reader brings their own perceptions of what they want to see, feel and engage with in any written piece. I have felt the despondency of watching my tutors tear my writing apart because they hate the genre I have chosen or because they expect my characters to survive when someone is bound to die in my story! Every piece I submit is written and redrafted to the point of turning itself inside out, trying the avoid the pitfalls of poor writing. Yet, I still feel that sting when the reviews come in. At the same time, those that enjoy the genre I write in thoroughly engage with the piece and enjoy the trauma of losing a favourite character, feeling the loss is an essential part of the realism of the story. In the same way, when I am preparing my young writers for competition challenges, I make sure they are aware of what the editors want. That is important. Some may have strengths in the form of writing submitted whereas others keep second guessing themselves. My role as a mentor is to ensure that each writer enjoys the process of creating their piece. I am there to encourage them, to follow the guidelines and set tasks to edit the piece so that the requirements are effortlessly covered during drafting and redrafting. It is my purpose to ensure that no writer feels burn out, especially at such a young age, just from writing a competition piece. Yes, it is a competition. Yes, we do have to bring our best, but it is not worth all the prizes in the world to discourage a young writer from believing in their own voice and style just to enter a perfect piece.
This is part of the ethos of EDS Writers Club and after last week’s pressure of submitting our competition entries, I am going to make sure my writers have fun this week to remind them of the many reasons why writing is wonderful. One day, in the distant future, it is my dream to see the names of one of my writers up there with the likes of J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Cressida Cowell, and so many more accomplished authors. Well, that is the dream, anyway. Their love of writing about the places in their imaginations and their ability to create those new fantastic worlds is what will get them there – that will be the perfection we are searching for.
I recently submitted my final paper for my degree in creative writing. It was a screenplay about a dystopian society set in 2025 where the pandemic of 2020 had separated society into two distinctive groups: the vaccinated and the anti-vaxers. What’s ironic in reading this article is the thread of truth captured in my script about how quickly society can restructure itself for the greater good and marginalise those who do not conform. In my dystopia, new ‘safe areas’ are cordoned off and restructured around towns, industrial areas and local neighbourhoods leaving the rest as the red zones where anti-vaxers must now reside. These ‘New Haven’ towns have a co-ordinated team of safety officers funded by the big pharma companies who, through their powerful position of providing these vaccines and offering back payments, pull the puppet strings strings of government officials. The purpose of these officers is to check Vax Passes given to the vaccinated and prevent anti-vaxers from invading New Haven.
The icing on my dystopian cake is the fact that government has allowed the big pharma group to data mine all the records of those vaccinated to find a carrier who might hold immunity to the new strains of the virus mutating and spreading, even though all these safety systems have been put in place.
They find the cure in a baby born of an anti-vaxed mother exposed to all the variants and a vaccinated father who has participated in vaccine trials. Of course, thanks to the blood records being freely accessible to the big pharma, the family have no choice but to go on the run to protect their child from becoming a lab rat.
Now obviously, I’m not saying all this would come true in reality, but take note: most of this script was written before these recent headlines were announced by government. Our NHS records will be sold if we don’t opt out before the end of June. Segregation of a marginalised group always starts with the rhetoric of ‘us and them’. Look at the hatred drummed up for immigrants to countries already so mixed (as proven in their own history and genes – a fact that they conveniently ignore).
It’s always interesting to see how fiction becomes reality in the height of man’s mania to survive.
When the light goes out – not the light in the bathroom or the upstairs closet – no, the light in your eyes; that dim orb of humanity, the apex of my focus, my lighthouse. When that fades, will I be gone too? Will the memory of my touch, those living kisses we shared under the moonlight – will they go too? Never to be remembered. Never to be mentioned. Never?
Am I invisible without your existence? The closeness of living our shared life bears that question. We sat and ate, breathing in and out, side by side, bearing the highs and lows like waves billowing against the sandbanks till our efforts waned and the tide drew out. The carnage of our choices remain dented in the sand, only to be washed away by the next generation and the next, the endless cycle of invisibility.
Your eyes are closing now and I can feel my memories being sucked away, vacuumed into eternity where you will be without me. All the anger, the sulks and frustration fade in the drowning sun that once swam across your brown irises. As I say goodbye I know that a part of me has gone too. I’m halved. What remains is the nothingness that survived your demise. I’m afraid.
Tomorrow, the world will awaken refreshed and anew. I will still be here, missing you.
It was great to see children joining up for the online author session with the Bracknell Forest Library today. With so many children burnt out from screen time, I didn’t think I would get to see such enthusiastic faces and share ideas with like minded creatives during our hour long session.
The start was a bit wobbly with my early entry into the Zoom meeting, which reduced the time available. Luckily, the super librarian, Sarah, created a link to a second session so that we could continue with story time once the first session timed out. Moofy and Flo took their debut, sharing their story of how things can sometimes go wrong when helping friends. The children responded well to the story and gave a thumbs up to my questions about helping others.
We then moved on to a second story for the older children called Cecil the Bully. Reading it aloud reminded me of how much fun it is to capture villains we encounter in our every day life. The children engaged with the story and were happy to continue after an interruption in the session to click onto the new link. We broke the story telling up with an activity of creating our own villains. What an amazing bunch of children! Some very creative ideas came out of the session and very inventive names for their villains. A very talented boy called Andrew even had time to draw his robotic villain and shared the illustration at the end of the session.
Cecil and his gang didn’t get to finish their tale of slapstick pranks at the Easter Sticky Competition, but I do hope the children enjoyed their time listening to the stories and the illustrations which I posted on the shared screen. It was a very different session compared to the face to face meetings we usually have in the library. As the world evolves and changes to the circumstances we are now presented with, we will continue to adapt and apply our skills to entertaining and educating the children online. After all, the children today proved that you don’t need excessive amounts of time to create villains, and the super heroes required to fight them.
Feedback from today’s session:
“Dear Bracknell Library,
I wanted to say how much my son and I both enjoyed Elouise’s virtual story time this morning.
Eloise De Sousa’s session was so enjoyable. She tailored the story time so that it was suitable for all ages; I saw children from KS1, aged 5-7 AND KS2, aged 7-11 engaging with the session and it was clear everyone especially loved the work-shop style element at the end of her readings.
Thank you so much for providing these free of charge to families during this difficult time. It really has raised our spirits this morning and my son is now inspired to start writing a new book!
Encouraging our children to learn through lockdown has been a challenging process. From online lessons to socially distanced picnic meet ups – we have tried it all! Listening to their needs, we’ve discovered that writing prompts are not enough. Temptation has turned most children to televisions, social media and gaming instead of learning, writing and creating. We have had to do more with our sessions to capture their attention and keep them enthused. Here is what we have done to provide our young writers with enough inspiration to keep writing…
Each time I lose hope in my children following in my footsteps, one little sprog surprises me. All that kicking and fussing that I do to make them read books, enjoy literature, watch educational programmes that put them to sleep in under five minutes – well, it feels pointless when they point their glum faces at me. That is, until today. Continue reading “It’s in the family”→