Wednesday 5 March 2008

Creating Stories

I worked yesterday with a school set in the Northamptonshire countryside. A beautiful little village school which has just had a new play area built for the children – all artificial grass and soft tarmac. All the same child-friendly material. The teachers sit in a conservatory which overlooks the play area at break-times. I was lucky again: the secretary had been there exactly seven years. There was cake and chocolates.

The Headteacher, about my age, was being very brave. She had put two classes together for the day. It was noisy and cramped, but the ideas just flew around. The children were going to spend all day on stories, the Head explained. So, I brought story theory into my talk about “The Lombardy Grotto”. We looked at four archetypal characters: the protagonist, the friend, the enemy and the mentor. We also looked at story structure: inciting incident, growing complications – oops! oh dear, oh, no, crisis, almost resolution, rug pulling, and resolution. I also did a little of “writing with the senses” and related this to Jayne’ experience of chocolate. When I left, each child had two sides of A4 which they could us as a basis for a story.

There was a lovely looking pub over the road. It did serve food. But I didn’t think it would look so good if I went straight there from the school. I drove to the next one, also nice, but not quite so charming. And I sat and watched the characters in the bar, thinking of my own next story.

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