If you were presented with a picture of a person on a bike and asked “What does it mean to escape?” how do you think you would respond?
This prompt was presented to a group of 25 creative writers at Trevallyn Primary School by Tasmanian children’s author Lian Tanner on Monday.
Ms Tanner – who wrote the Hidden series and The Keepers trilogy – took the grade 5 and 6 pupils through the process she uses when brainstorming new story ideas as part of The Write Road creative writing program.
As she handed out sheets of paper and coloured markers, Ms Tanner explained to the aspiring authors that this initial process was meant to be disordered, messy, with misspelled words and bad grammar because order, “gets in the way of my imagination”.
“I wanted to give the students the sense that creativity is playing and something to muck about with,” Ms Tanner said.
“This is fun. It’s our way of playing,” she said.
The same workshop was presented to students at West Launceston Primary School on Monday afternoon and Riverside Primary School on Tuesday morning.
“I’m encouraging them to explore and to do the things I do when I write,” Ms Tanner said.
“They get a sense of how you explore and discover things,” she said.
This is the second year the program has run at the three Riverside High School feeder schools, with the aim of building creative writing skills and fostering relationships between students who will start high school together.
Pupils receive a writing prompt each fortnight to which they respond with the help of teachers and mentors at sessions during term three.
Some of the pupils will post their work on The Write Road 2017 blog and critique their peers, The Write Road coordinator, creative writing teacher and author Cameron Hindrum said.
“They will be invited to respond to [the prompts] in any way and in any format they see fit – a short story, a poem, a reflection, a memory, as the moment inspires them,” Mr Hindrum said.
“Students will be encouraged to post drafts of their work, or extracts from it, on [the] blog to receive advice and feedback from other students (under teacher guidance) and occasionally from myself or the other teachers walking along the Write Road.”