Sunday, 9 February 2014

New Tricks

The Guardian Offices, London Photo credit Bryantbob
This is where I spent most of yesterday - at the offices of the Guardian newspaper in King's Place, near King's Cross Station. In recent years the newspaper has been running hugely successful Masterclasses in Writing. This weekend was devoted to Writing for Children, the Saturday run by writer Lucy Coats and the Sunday by publisher Nosy Crow.

And it just so happened that Lucy's most recent picture book, Captain Beastlie's Pirate Party, had just been published by Nosy Crow.

Having been an editor and a bookseller before crossing over to the dark side, there isn't much that Lucy doesn't know about the art - and business - of writing for children. Saturday was a packed day of handouts, exercises and PowerPoints for fifteen keen participants and I'd been asked along to give a session on World-Building as part of the Setting aspect of storytelling.

Another good friend, Michelle Lovric, gave a presentation on how her childhood obsessions found their way into her writing.

I've had over a hundred books published for children and teenagers and I was one of the tutors so I was there to teach, right?

But the funny thing was I came away thinking about how much I had learned - not how much I had conveyed. It really isn't true that you can't teach an old dog new tricks; all you need is a receptive dog, a good trick and a b****y good teacher!

Thanks, Lucy, Michelle and the students - I think we'll be hearing more from them in future.