If it's going to be a nutshell, let's make it a coconut. Because it was sweeeet!
First I spent a day with the kids at Cumnor Primary School in Oxfordshire. Now, these children were seriously BONKERS. And totally brilliant at coming up with stories - like the alien hatchers and the cross-dressing accountant who stole money for make-up! And I think we managed to convert the biggest alien in the school into one of the best human story-finders in our terrific game of Detective, Thief, Spy. You know who you are, football girl! Your team's story about kids trapped inside old people was genius. (Year 3 - I'm a bit concerned about the levels of violence in your stories, but then again, if you will read Harry Potter... ha ha ha!). I can't list all the stories, but I hope you'll keep making them. And I will remember you all - including Kia who tapped into a world of wonder, and Thomas and Paul, who definitely owe me an email to let me know what they thought of the Jim Reaper books. *wink*
Then I went to Newbridge Primary School in Bath. HELLO YOU CRAZY LOT. This was the school my own kids went to. A lot of the children had seen me in the playground before, but this time they managed to see past my previous incarnation as 'Matilda and Ben's mum' and take me seriously as a writer and teacher... Well, I say take me seriously, but I have a feeling they were laughing at me big time! Was it the rollerskates? What can I tell you about my time at this school.... well, it was seriously exhausting. But that's a good thing. I laughed the whole day through - and the kids kept me on my feet with great questions, and plenty of enthusiasm, from first thing in the morning until the final bell. Even then, there were still lots of eager and imaginative kids waiting to talk some more. I hope your World Book Day potatoes looked fantastic - did any of the Year 6s take inspiration from my Mr Twit beard? And I'm super chuffed to hear that Eoin immediately started writing his own book when he got home, and that Ruben wanted to get reading NOW. And a message for Mai - who has the most incredible idea for a sci-fi: you must MUST write it. Big wave to Alex D, Lucy C and Sophie G (indeed, my next book is dedicated to this girl wonder)! Special thanks to Mrs Button for lunch and friendship!
Finally I spent a day with Cirencester Primary School. You lot are HILARIOUS. We kicked off with some fabulous caveman noises, and then threw ourselves into some stories. Even those that couldn't be BOTHERED at first (you know who you are) became some of my finest and funniest tale-tellers of the day. I grinned from start to finish. This is a school obsessed with 'other dimensions', and we saw some seriously interesting dimensions of story-telling - entire plot ideas and kooky inventions... headphones that make your head change colour (or make you bothered to do things - I refer you to the pupil mentioned previously)! We didn't have time to get through all our stories, did we? But please email me your plots, as I watched you working on them and thought each and every one was fantastic and full of promise. Thanks for the enthusiasm for Jim Reaper - what a bunch of keen mutant bananas you are (looking at you, River, and at you, Evvie with two Vs). Please write and let me know what you thought of the books. *and thanks for my rainbow bracelets, loomband girls! (see picture below).
Creating plots and loglines for stories is super fun, and I think all the children I spent time with can now do it with their eyes shut - or their eyes open; it depends which method they're using (are you a What-Iffer or a Thief?)! They can now go forth, armed with tools in their mind-sheds, polished and sharp and ready to carve out wonderful ideas for the next piece of creative writing.