Writing from the Home Zone

So, yesterday I spent my writing time in our small garden. It was the perfect morning for writing outdoors. Quiet, balmy air, sunshine, no traffic humming in the distance, no machine noise, solitude in the garden.

I also took time to wander about and take photos. If my illustrating skills were better, maybe I could have indulged in some drawing as well. I had an idea... Maybe the photographs could spark some short little poetry pieces. 

That way I could share with others how the place we find ourselves located, can be quite an inspiration -if we sit still and observe closely. If we make a mindful effort to look around at what's in our immediate view. Ideas are all around us waiting to be discovered.

‘Sometimes the easiest way to start writing is not to try to think something up, but simply to write something down- and what better place to begin than with what’s is right in front of your eyes.’
Andy Griffiths, 'Once Upon A Slime'
So, posted below are the first four poems and som…

In A Crisis, Writers Share

Here are some short Videos I have made in recent days to support the planning of teachers as school closures impact and educators search for new ways to support learning in home settings. Feel free to use them if they support your efforts to engage learners. Please let me know if there is anything you would like from me that could add to your efforts at this time. 

A Poetry reading of the poem, 'Mad Hairy Hands' from my latest book, 'What The Poemster Found.'

An idea for writing in different places around the house. Let's begin by looking for inspiration in the kitchen. Food and fabulous words to inspire our writing.

Using my Writer's Notebook to indulge in some important wordplay with proverbs. -Showing the inexperienced writers where inspiration might be found.…

Growing Characters In Our Stories

There is a saying, 'no struggle, no story,' so the characters that present in stories need a measure of conflict and tension to hold the reader's interest. As young writers grow in confidence and experience, this is a critical understanding they must develop. It can contribute greatly to the quality of the plot lines of the stories they write.

A little bit of adversity, or experiencing a problem is important for our characters. It's good for them to wrestle with a conundrum...

When characters encounter a problem or have to overcomes a hurdle, it increases their appeal to the reader. They become more relatable. More human. More fallable or imperfect. So when the writer creates a conflict for a character to grapple with, the writing is enhanced.

The writer can make that conflict happen within a character- doubt, fear, shyness. It can also be between characters- disagreement, feud, need for revenge, a perceived slight. 

Sometimes the story may involve a series of critical eve…

Verse Versus Virus

Sharing some verse for those of you in self isolation -and for those who enjoy a little bit of wordplay. One poem from each of my poetry anthologies. Hope you see what you like, and like what you see!

#verseversusvirus #poetry #wordplay #poet #chookbook.

Writers Can Pursue More Than One Passion

Each time I visit a school as part of a Meet The Author Day and talk to groups of young writers about the writing life I am passionately pursuing, certain questions arise during the course of a session:

Where do you get your ideas?
What inspired you to write poetry?
Do you have a favourite poem?
Do you prefer rhyming verse or free verse?
How long have you been writing poetry?
How did you get your poetry book published?
How long does it take to write a book?

All these questions are valid. All of them quite normal. But one Grade 6 boy’s question set me to thinking more deeply about my response. He raised his hand and asked, ‘Do you like sport?

I have been asked this question  many times before. In fact. It has been raised with me on numerous occasions and it is always posed by boys. I suspect that in the minds of many boys, poetry and sports are viewed as mutually exclusive pursuits. Poetry is seemingly passive and sport,  an active pursuit preferred by the majority of male role models in the li…

Speaking of Dialogue -Helping Young Writers Harness Spoken Words

Learning floats on a sea of talk and the world often presents itself to us in the form of stories. For every writer, dialogue becomes a powerful tool when the creation of stories is the focus. It is imperative for such writers to learn to write with their ears. In order to do this effectively they must become keen observers of people, intrigued by what they say and the way they say it. 

To develop this ability requires close listening. It is a skill all writers need to develop. I have often suggested to young writers they must develop the ability to eavesdrop. On one occasion, I was informed by an earnest small boy that his parents had told him it was rude to eavesdrop. I had to quickly explain that writers had special permission to listen in to conversations. He seemed to accept my hasty response. 

The use of dialogue in children's writing tends to settle in the margins. It is either feast or famine. We see examples where the writing consists overwhelming of conversation and very l…

Helping Writers Show Good Form

You’ve Got Form!
Writing choice is so clearly in evidence when the writer is afforded opportunities to decide for themselves the form their writing piece shall take. It is in this headspace the writer is faced with many options. Every writing piece possesses the potential to assume a variety of forms, so it becomes important to choose the form that best suits that writer’s intention. When the writer in inexperienced, it becomes important to support them in making a good decision.
More often than not, the writer knows immediately how they want the writing to be presented. When words and ideas bubble up in my mind, it frequently presents as a poem -but not always. Another idea may be perfect as a memoir piece, or a short story. When this happens, I can move into the writing effortlessly.
Sometimes deciding which form best suits our ideas can prove a little more difficult. When this happens, as writers we must be prepared to experiment. Try it one way and if that doesn’t strike the right n…