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Creative Curators: Dystopian Fiction

Today I delivered the final session of the Creative Curators project @ Stoke Newington School with Year 9 students.

Last week saw the students providing objects as a stimuli for starting a story which we crafted together in the classroom. I saw two classes, resulting in two very different stories around the theme of 'Dystopian Ficiton'.

Well it's fair to say I left enthused and excited. I went away and wrote second chapters as a creative response to their ideas. I left both chapters on a cliffhanger as a provocation for the students to write more. Turns out the provocation wasn't necessary! Students retained details, understood the thrust and needs of the story, and began providing their alternative endings and journeys for our protagonists: Safra and Harry respectively.

Today we looked at the redrafting process; speaking for writing, selecting and editing. Everyone writes differently, and I always stress to students that it's important to experiment with different things to discover what works for you. For instance, my voice is quicker than my typing so I often begin by telling a story. Committing to 'print' doesn't come til later.

We also played with switching tense from past to present: a tricky concept for Y9 but one they attempted really well. Picking up copies of 'The Hunger Games' and the 'Divergent' series I noticed that the authors have chosen the present tense. It's interesting to speculate why this is - but I notice that students unconsciously do this when posed certain questions. Is the present tense more in keeping wtih our thoughts and feelings in the moment? And is this perhaps why it's so effective with a teenage audience?

Anyway the workshops have been inspriring for me, once again reminding me of the endless creativity at the fingertips of young people. I've loved writing the stories in collaboration with the students and will post them up here shortly.

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