Category Archives: Writing

Rock & Ryhmes

Over to St Luke’s Adopted Author Ali Sparkes who’s set a rad rhyming challenge….

Hello again, 5P!

I know you’re all reading Dark Summer so I wonder if you can guess what kind of rock this is…

To give you a clue, I found this at the top end of a pot hole in the Mendip Hills in Somerset while I was there researching for Dark Summer. I got to meet the people who run the Wookey Hole Caves tours – and they showed me the places where tourists don’t usually get to go including an amazing miniature cave, filled with tiny stalactites and stalagmites and frozen rivers of rock. It was beautiful but you could only reach it up a ladder, with a torch, which is why the public don’t normally go there. While I was there the cave manager agreed to turn off the torch so I could experience the ultimate DARKNESS. It was quite something. It was so utterly dark it felt like someone had pushed black velvet against my eyeballs.

I also got to meet a cave diver and rescue guy (the one called Dan who is in the story is based on Dany, who helped me with my research). He told me exactly how cave rescues work and little details like the warm oyxgen canisters they use to revive injured cavers, which they call Little Dragons.

Anyway, you’ll know by now that one of the things Eddie loves is messing around with words. You’ll have noticed that I messed around with the words to the song I WILL SURVIVE. I hope you all know it and can hear the music in your head as Eddie’s singing ‘…and then I spent so many nights remembering you look like King Kong and I grew strong… ‘cos girls with that much hair are wrong…’

Changing the lyrics to songs is a really good way of learning about rhyming and rhythm. Many people can rhyme words but not so many people can get then to scan correctly. This means the rhythm is right and when you read it out loud it really works. You should always read a rhyming poem you’ve written out loud to check the rhythm is right. An author who is really good at this is Dr Seuss who wrote The Cat In the Hat and many other rhyming stories.

Can you rhyme and scan? Give it a go. Think of a really well known song and then mess around with the lyrics. I’ll give you a theme to make it easier – how about FRUIT AND VEG! Anything to do with fruit and veg will be great. So if you rewrote Happy Birthday it might go like this:

I need spuds for my stew

And a big turnip too

And tomatoes

And potatoes

And a small slice of you

(Written by a polite cannibal.)

If you sing this now, you’ll find all the words fit the rhythm exactly. So – have a go. Use any song you like (but which most people will know, so they can hear the tune in their heads) and work fruit and veg into it somehow. Practise it out loud and see how you do!

Good luck, 5P.

PS. This line of warning, which I wrote this morning, will cease to rhyme, in two seconds time, when I randomly tail off without any further effort…

PPS. The rock in the picture is limestone with a bit of quartz and iron oxide on the top.

Never ones to shy away from such a challenge 5P accepted the task with gusto and created some first-rate rhymes!

Wow! A banana called Ana, a trip to Ghana, a nana called Hannah Montana from Louisiana! Scary peas, shoes stolen by emu’s, falling in love with carrot soup – 5P your rhyming is fantastic but also EXTREMELY FUNNY!!!

That was 5P’s last challenge – next stop THE DOME!!!!! Until then….

Team AAA x

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6L’s final week!!!!

Eeeeeeek, it’s the final week of Adopt an Author, Mile Oak have had an amazing project and created some brilliant work, but it’s not over just yet… Ross Montgomery has been in touch for the last time before he meets them at The Dome (exciting!) to answer some of 6L’s questions!)
Dear 6L,
It’s upon us – the final week! Waaaaaaah
Image result for crying gif
I loved looking through the designs of your planets – you did so much work! Especially considering how busy you all are at the moment.
Thanks again for all your great work. Now to answer your questions!
What do you think the monster that took over Perijee looks like? Ellie
To be honest, I’m not 100% sure – it’s quite hard to visualise isn’t it? I suppose that in my head it looks like a vast bloated snake covered in long tentacles that look like hair, but I tried to avoid describing it in the book as much as possible – there’s a saying that you should only create the first half of your book, and let your reader create the rest. That means that you shouldn’t describe EVERYTHING – sometimes it’s better to leave things unsaid, and let your reader imagine the rest!
 
How did you get the name Obsidian Blade and have you ever felt that someone will come and get you at night? Freya R
I’m so glad you thought about the name Obsidian Blade! Obsidian is a rock that is incredibly dark and incredibly sharp – in fact it’s so sharp that it can cut BETWEEN the cells in your body!! Aztec priests used to use Obsidian knives in their sacrifices – and without giving too much away, that gives you a bit of a clue as to what’s coming up later…
As for thinking something’s going to come and get me in the night: my cat starts fights with others cats at 4am and runs back in the house screaming. If you ever want to wake up terrified, it’s a pretty effective method.
 
Did you create the Obsidian Blade mark? Caitlin
Sort of!! I sent my publisher a design on Microsoft paint, saying that I was happy for them to come up with something better – in the end they took most of my idea anyway. It’s supposed to be a crucifix that looks like a dagger, with tentacles – you should be able to see the initials OB in there too! Below is what I sent my publisher – as you can see, it’s pretty rubbish.
Inline image 1
 
Is Wanderly based on a place you’ve seen/heard of? Caitlin
Oooh, interesting – when I visualise it in my head, it doesn’t look like anywhere I recognise! That can happen a lot – it’s often not until I’ve finished writing a book that I realise I’ve based places and characters on real places and people I know. For example, when I think of Middle Island I picture the pig farm I used to work on in Yorkshire when I was 21. I imagine Wanderly is based on the big rural towns that used to be near the farm – places like Knaresborough, Harrogate and Northallerton. How good are those names?!
 
How did you come up with the idea of stealing a yacht and supergluing people’s feet to the floor? (Funny thought)! Alfie
Glad you like it! I wanted Caitlin and Fi’s journey to have lots of different “stages”, so it made sense for some of it to be on land and some of it to be on water. I also liked the idea of it being confusing and chaotic – and how the reader has no idea what Caitlin did to steal the yacht! Again, I think it’s nice to let the reader make up their own minds sometimes – it makes reading even more fascinating when you know that everyone comes up with a slightly different idea or image in their mind.
 
What gave you the idea to make Perijee have patterns all over him?
I suppose part of it was wanting to do something different – a type of alien that hasn’t been shown before in books and films (although I’m sure that someone has thought up an alien covered in writing before!) I also wanted to link it to Caitlin’s problems with dyslexia – to Caitlin, all writing seems like an alien language. I wanted the reader to be confused and fascinated by what the symbols could mean, and that helps get an insight into what it’s like for Caitlin to read. There are lots of themes in the book about symbols and reading – hence why I included a symbol for Obsidian Blade rather than just writing their name!
 
Why did you decide to put a cow in the life jacket? Kayleigh
Because it is hilarious. If in doubt, put a cow in a life jacket!
 
How did Perijee start growing tentacles? Alfie
Again, I have no idea – I like the idea of the reader coming up with an image in their mind. I do imagine it happening lightning-fast though, like when a venomous snake suddenly attacks…
 
You have been talking soooo much about Pineapples that I actually dreamt about one. Evelyn
Good. You should buy a pineapple nightlight!
image1.jpeg
 
I like the irony of them reading the boat safety manual while the boat is sinking next to them-Bradley
Thank you! It was a joke I added in at the last second and thought no one would find funny except me – looks like I was proved wrong!
Thanks again
Ross
6L have some wonderful comments on the book, it’s safe to say that they all really enjoyed Perijee and Me!
 I loved the book because you never knew what might happen next and when I read it I felt like I was IN IT! #Perijeeandmeforever – Mothakin

 I love the book because it really asks you the question ‘do aliens exist.’ Also you really get to know all characters and how they are all very different. Honor

 I loved the book because you never knew what was going to happen. And EVERY day we were left on cliff hangers. My favourite character was Perijee. Charlie T

 I absolutely loved the way that through the book the style type/genre changes like when it’s all adventurewhen they are collecting Perijee whilst he’s shrinking but then a few pages later Caitlin is saying goodbye to Perijee forever. Overall the book was astonishing and I would give it a 10/10  Charlie J

 The part of the story where Perijee returned to the ocean was so upsetting I wondered why you even added it but then I realised that that’s what makes it a great story – Evelyn

 The saddest bit is the ending it was so sad because I now miss Perijee – James

 The book was amazing! My favourite scene was when Perijee put a hole through the door and when Perijee said goodbye to Caitlin. That was so selfish of Perijee! Hehe. But overall it was the best book I’ve read. I would give it 10/10 (Great)! – Alfie

 I really loved the book. It’s full of adventure, humour and excitement. My favourite character is Fi because she’s very exciting and outgoing. I like the promotions of pineapples in the book but unfortunately I’m allergic to pineapple

 Perijee is also really cool because he’s funny and interesting. I’d definitely recommend this book and maybe read it again and again! 10/10 Ellie

 I loved the book it was amazing. I liked all the emotion, the characters and that there is so much we still don’t know. My favourite character was Fi because she is different and mysterious. Lauren

 I loved the book because there’s more than one cliff hanger. I like the fact that it felt kid friendly but also had some naughty words  My favourite characters are Fi and Frank because they came to the rescue at the last minute. 10/10 book. Jack

 The reason why I loved the book all together was because most of the scenes were emotional and made me develop feelings for the book too!  I also loved the bit when Perijee sunk into the water because the scene was emotional. Nayeema

 It was so SAD, why does Perijee have to go. It made me think of the scene at the end of the Titanic where the girl drops the boy into the sea while he is frozen. Louis

 I like that we got to say the words that Miss Liddle wouldn’t normally let us say but they weren’t that bad.

P.S. I LOVE THE BOOK because it’s funny and a sad book. When I was reading it I had mixed emotions. Freya R

 I loved the plot twist about how he lived in the water. Also I loved the characters personalities. But it was so sad at the end I almost cried! Courtney

 Great book, mix between Sci-fi and friendship. Love how you really get Caitlin’s character across. The

dyslexia and innocentness about her and how she is kind of simple. William

 I love the book because of all the detail in it. I also love the characters in it because they’re relatable. Also how sad it is but happy as well. Bradley

 It makes me feel like there’s another planet up there somewhere. I loved the book, my favourite scene was when the monster came in. Fin

 I liked Mother because she was funny at times. Kayleigh

 I really liked the book. Your way of writing is different and great to read. The way you write for kids but there are more important messages and all the unique characters. Caitlin

 My favourite character is Perijee because he was a mysterious little thing. The book is probably the best book in the whole world, better than Roald Dahl. I love how you have used all the similes and how it’s so creative. Brooke

 I loved the book, I like how they adopted Fi and that Frank lives with them and the story is fascinating and I just don’t want to put it down. My favourite character is Fi. – Freya S

 My favourite part of the book would be when Caitlin had to say goodbye to Perijee, it was very emotional and my eyes teared up. I love the similes, they are so detailed. Mia

 I loved how Fi got adopted and the fact that Caitlin drank champagne and felt dizzy and had to lie down! And in the whole book Perijee was very cute! I also like how Frank used some rude language. Amelia

See you at The Dome 6L and Ross!
Team AAA x

Roll up, roll up! All the fear of the Carnival!

We left Goldstone last week with the promise of an excellent next task and Year 3 certainly did not disappoint! Shall we see what they have been up to??? Guy set them a creepy carnival challenge…

So, as you know, Fulbert Freakfinder is desperate to recruit Stitch Head as the star of his Carnival of Unnatural Wonders. He goes to great lengths to convince Stitch Head he could be a star, including creating a poster, featuring Stitch Head as the main attraction.

I want you to create your own poster for Fulbert Freakfinder’s Carnival of Unnatural Wonders. It can feature Stitch Head and / or Doctor Contortion, Madame Moustache and the Topsy Turvy Twins OR your very own uniquely freakish attraction / character / star of the show, to pull in hordes of punters! Your job is to make the carnival look as exciting as possible, so that Freakfinder gets loads of visitors and doesn’t go out of business…

Good luck! Can’t wait to see your posters.

Speak soon, and, as if I need to say it, Have yourselves a DiNGLE DANGLE…

Guy
What monstrous, unnatural beings might Year 3 have created? They explored the depths of their imaginations and set about creating some grotesque creatures – the stuff of nightmares!!! Dare we have a look…….
Hi Guy,

I’m Emily and I’m very pleased to be writing to you.

I really liked your challenge and I think it was very competitive. I thought about Fulbert and how horrible he was, so I drew him with a duck body. I renamed him Duckbert. Thinking about it makes me laugh.

I have found the story very funny and when we’ve acted it out, I have played the part of the Creature. Mr Lessel’s thought my performance was very funny because of the voice that I used. I was madder than Professor Erasmus.

Hope Chapter 14 is even better.

Emily

DUCKBERT! We love it! That’s seriously funny Emily, we’re in STITCHES!
 
Guy was suitably impressed and a little FREAKED OUT!

Emily … Creations of Year 3 … brave souls of Chuggers Nubbin – Roll up, roll up!

Thanks for your incredible posters – I had a whale of a time inspecting them in all their gruesomely grotesque glory. I loved how much variety there was in terms of composition and content – especially the new characters you threw in there. Some of my freakish favourites were:

THE GYMNASTIC KITTENS!

MR MOHAWK! (He will mess your trousers until they come off)
THE HIDEOUS MR BONE! (He could bite your guts out)
THE SPLITTING SKULL! (It will mess you up for life)
THE TERRIFYING THREE ARMED CREATURE THAT IS THE SIZE OF A BEAR!

And, possibly most nonsensically nightmarish of them all…

FOOT BODY!

(On a side note, Stitch Head began almost-life as an idea called An Arm and a Leg. One of the two main characters, Leg, had a foot for a body! More on that later…)

Sounds to me like the greatest show on Earth! So, “Roll up! Roll up! We’ll make you crack up!” “Come to Brighton for a trouser messing show!” “You’ll never forget your panic!” “Just one penny a peek!”

After all, as Cousin Bob puts it, it’s “Really really really really really really really really really really really really COOL!”

Hm, seems like all this superb sideshow silliness has given me an appetite – and nothing satisfies my hunger like a tasty bowl of challenge soup…

By now, you’re all so immersed in the world of Castle Grotteskew you might as well be mad professors. Or perhaps you already are.

So, your not-quite-but-nearly final challenge is to create your own powerfully potent potion! Here are some things to consider:

– Is it a monster-making or creation-curing concoction? Is it something Professor Erasmus might create in his lab or would you more likely find it in Stitch Head’s dungeon?

– What is the potion’s desired effect?
– What exactly is your potion made from? It should have at least five (but no more than five hundred) incredible ingredients.
– What’s the name of your potion?

Don’t forget to include a picture of the bottle, complete with label!

Good luck!

Cheers,

Guy
P.S. Have yourselves a DINGLE DANGLE!
We can’t wait to see what Year 3 concoct! Until next time!
Team AAA x

Dingle Dangle Diaries!

Goldstone’s adoptive author Guy Bass has welcomed Year 3 back and it’s evident that he LOVES a pun – (well who doesn’t?!)

Here’s hopping you all and Year 3 had a cracking break filled with egg-ceptional egg-citement.

Guy and Year 3 have been exchanging some lovely emails and creating some fantastic work over the last few weeks…

Dear Guy,

My name is Logan from Year 3. We think your story is brilliant when Fulbert Freakfinder gets pushed off the ladder. We could picture him in our minds hanging upside down by his pants, it was hilarious. I am looking forward to meeting you in May. I especially enjoy your challenges and me and my friends work has been selected to send to you this week, so I hope you enjoy reading it.

Have a dingle dangle.

Logan

Here’s a pic of Logan and his three pals, one as you can see has a brilliant mind! Logan wrote a lovely email to Guy. As you remember they’ve been reading Stitch Head and it sounds as though they’re loving it!

The creators.JPG
Guy had set the class a fantastic challenge…

What I’d like you to do is come up with an extract from the young Professor Erasmus’s diary from back when he was a child. Erasmus has gathered leftovers from his father’s experiments and is about to bring his first creation to almost-life. Here are some things to think about:

– How is the young Erasmus feeling before he awakens Stitch Head?
– What does he think about his first creation? Is he happy with how Stitch Head     turned out, or was he hoping for more impressive ‘parts’? Was Erasmus lonely     and looking to make a friend or did he want to make a terrifying monster? Or     maybe he wanted to be just like his dad, Professor Erasmus Senior?
– What time of day or night is it?
– Does Erasmus bring Stitch Head to almost-life in secret or does Professor              Erasmus Senior know about it?
– How does Erasmus awaken Stitch Head? What potions and equipment does he   use?

 

We loved delving into these diaries and Guy did too…

Thanks again for sending me your fantastic writing. I was really impressed with the way you brought the scenes to life (as young Erasmus brought Stitch Head to almost-life) and the imagination that went into work.

Holly, Milo, Scarlett and Poppy, I enjoyed how your diary entries gave a sense of the passing of time, especially when Erasmus realised how long it would take to make his creation. I also loved the idea of the dawn light “creeping along the corridor” as if it wasn’t to be trusted…
Felix, “forever glue” is my new favourite bonding agent! I love your writing, especially Stitch Head’s batty behaviour when he’s first awakened. Stitch Head yanking on Erasmus’s hair “like he was taking a strawberry plant out of the ground” is a wonderfully absurd simile. And it was great to see Erasmus getting the better of Stitch Head in the “gobbling a plate of worms first” (!) game by tricking him – it’s a clever way to make you wonder why Erasmus made his creation in the first place.
Sonny and Sam, what a tragic tale! The passing of time here is a nice way to make Erasmus’s separation from Stitch Head all the more heartbreaking – especially as he’s made to feel ashamed for creating him in the first place. It’s a far cry from the touching line, “He looks a bit ugly I suppose … but I love him all the same”. Nice one.
Ben, Hana and Lucas, My favourite part of your writing was how you evoked the moment of awakening after a tense set-up. “As I pumped air being into its mouth, its stomach started rising up and down” paints a great picture. And the idea of Stitch Head wriggling into life is a line I wish I’d thought of myself!
Emily and Mercy, I really enjoyed how you explored the mixed emotions Erasmus felt about telling his dad about his creation. He’s desperate for his father to be proud of him, but still he skulks around and hopes not to wake him … and even after he brings his creation to almost-life he still dares not tell him. This is fascinating and makes the reader wonder why Erasmus is so conflicted. A lovely example of “Show, don’t tell”, which is good advice for any writer. Well done.
Emily Lucy and Marlie, This is a fantastic line: “Finally, I found essence of nightshade, lava and air freshener.” Because any new creation needs to smell fresh! Wonderful. I also loved the idea that Stitch Head was sewn together with fabric from his dad’s pants!
Arthur, Joe, Logan and Rory, your piece was short and to the point, and I think it had my favourite line of all: “I sneakily took some eyeballs from the eyeball cupboard” This single line says so much about the world of the castle. Great work!
We’ve had a sneak preview into the next challenge and we CAN’T WAIT to see the creations – all we’ll say is that it….. NO WE COULDN’T POSSIBLY, you’ll just have to check back next week!!!
Team AAA x

BIG STORY START MOMENT!

Welcome back after the break! Was the Easter bunny kind? Did we all eat a teeny tiny bit too much chocolate?! We hope you’re looking forward to the summer term -we’re all very excited to hear what our adoptees have been up to! So let’s head over to Carden to find out….

A few weeks ago adopted author Rob Llyod Jones asked Year 6 to think about their characters normal life and then to think of a THING that could happen that would thrust their character into a story!

It’s safe to say Year 6 fully embraced this task! We’ve picked a few of our favourites to share with you and Rob had some great feedback too.

Hello all,

Again I really enjoyed reading about all the events that start your exciting stories. I really liked how many of you described your character’s ‘normal life’ before the event that throws him or her OUT of their normal lives and INTO the adventure. Many of you begin by saying your character is living that ‘normal life’ and then use words like these: ‘But then…’, ‘But one day…’ ‘or Then suddenly…’ That’s perfect! Most stories go exactly like this:

Once upon a time there was a (CHARACTER)
Every day he/she (NORMAL LIFE)
Until one day (BIG STORY START MOMENT)
Because of that (THE REST OF THE STORY!)

FEEDBACK:

Aurittri
Great Aurittri! I can’t think of many better story starts than a bullied schoolgirl discovering a secret dragon! What happens next, I wonder?

Hailey
I enjoyed reading about Loliea, Hailey – and liked that you used the words ‘Just then’ in your paragraph. That’s what all stories are about : things happening.

Tayla
Puggi is a fun character Taylor! I think you’ve got a GREAT story starting moment here, as Puggi meets a puggicorn and swaps identities! Perfect!

Connor
PERFECT Connor! Stevie Wellard is a fun character, and you’ve given him a really clear and interesting ‘story start moment’ when he finds a portal in the loo!

Max
I like that you begin by describing ‘Thats what he did everyday’, Max. That’s how stories begin, then they tell us what happened to change all of that – and you have your character being hit by a car! That’s great, now the story has REALLY got going!

Humayra:
Kate is a fun character, Humayra –with the power to control the weather! Is the big event that gets the story going that she loses this power? That is an interesting twist on a usual superhero story! A superhero becomes normal, rather than someone normal becomes a superhero.

Carden you clever lot! The THINGS that happened to your characters have really captured Rob’s and Team AAA’s imaginations! Coming up Rob has a brilliant task for you guys, so until next time….!

Team AAA x

 

Satellite of love…

Ali got in touch with 5P this week and shared what she’s been up to on her travels in the North of England – inspired by a HUGE radio telescope she set them a fantastic task…..

Dear 5P

I’ve been up north. On my journey I went first to Crewe in Cheshire and then drove across the Peak District to North Yorkshire on Monday afternoon, when the sun was shining and the spring landscape was rather gorgeous. The views of the hills and valleys took my breath away! Then I drove past Jodrell Bank where one of the UK’s biggest radio telescopes is sited and saw this…

My jaw just dropped! The dish is HUGE, weird and kind of beautiful. I really wished I had time to stop and go to the visitor centre. I LOVE this kind of stuff. If any of you have read Destination Earth, you’ll know I have a streak of Sci-Fi geek running through me. I’ve visited the Goonhillie site in Cornwall twice now; they take you around on a bus tour to look at all their giant dishes close up – but most of them aren’t in use any more. This one, at Jodrell Bank, very much IS. In fact some of you may have been watching Stargazing Live on the BBC this week and there’s a good chance that’s where it’s all happening (I haven’t had time to check yet but it usually is).

So, this week, inspired by the huge satellite dish at Jodrell Bank, how about this..?  You’re on a school trip and just as the visitor centre is closing, you’re suddenly alone. Paul was too excited by the alien plushies in the gift shop and hurried away with the rest of 5P, leaving you behind while you tied your shoelaces. You should be going after them but, as the stars begin to glow overhead, you find yourself magnetically drawn to the huge satellite dish. It’s making an odd noise… whaaaaaat?

Over to you!

5P had some great fun with the Joderell Bank adventure – we’ve picked our favourite to share, we particularly love Johnny’s story and felt gutted on discovering the Bonbons were GONE! Ali thought it was brilliant too…

Johnny – you are a young man after my own heart. I too love bonbons. Especially lemon – although I’d be willing to try blueberry. I would also be horrifed to find the bonbons in the gift shop were all gone. Maybe some alien life force needs them to build a sticky, chewy death star…

Peace out Earthlings… until next time 5P…

Team AAA x

Top writing tips & Tropical fruits with Mile Oak!

In week 3 of Adopt an Author we’re treated to a little insight into what 6L thought of Ross’ deleted scene! Ross revealed something pretty exciting too….

“…you are not ‘one of the few children to have read this draft’. You are the ONLY children to have read this draft! In fact – apart from me and my editor – you’re the only people on Earth to have read it. How weird is that?”

 

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Here are few of examples of what they felt about the unpublished scene…

“I like the version we are reading because it’s not as depressing and it shows how she really feels. It’s sweet how Frank comforts her. The first draft – this is too depressing. No offense but I don’t like this version because it’s not as exciting and is too sad to start off a story. It wasn’t my taste and on your new version it is sad but happy as well because Frank comforts her, but in this draft all it’s trying to prove is she has no friends and no one cares about her.” (Freya S)

“In the final version I like the descriptions you’ve used – smacked, stamped, slapped, lip biting, smirking. I think maybe you should have included the draft as it is not as sad as I thought. In a way it was funny that she stacked tons of food on her plate.” (Oscar)

“It’s a bit too long. I think I prefer the actual one that’s been published because we feel more sympathy for Caitlin because she’s sobbing and Frank doesn’t know what to do. The first draft was really sad.” (Bradley)

“I liked what you did in both but personally I liked the one with Frank because Frank had no idea what to do and you have to imagine what’s happened at school.” (Lauren)

“I liked the first few sentences of the first draft but I’m glad you left the rest out. I think it was too sad and Frank being awkward was funny. I like the descriptions in the final version and how she threw the pineapple. Also when you said ‘clouds of jellyfish lapping against the side of the boat like bubble bath.” (Amelia)

6L came across a picture they were certain Ross would appreciate! Unsure of the pineapple reference?! You’ll just have to pick up Perijee and Me!

 

be-a-pineapple-stand-tall-wear-a-crown-and-be-17812901 2.png

Dear 6L,
I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed reading my deleted scene!
Thank you so much for your feedback on it. It’s reassuring to see that while some of you liked the scene, most people found it unnecessary and a bit sad, which is exactly why my editor told me to get rid of it! There’s an important lesson there: when you write, you need to SHOW something and not TELL it. That means rather than say “Jim was sad”, you show the reader that Jim is sad by things he says, how he acts etc. So for me, when I wanted to make it clear that Caitlin is lonely and isolated, I didn’t need to TELL the reader by giving them a whole scene that shows what she’s like around other children – instead, I can SHOW them all that in one little scene with Frank. I let the reader see what Caitlin’s like just by the way she talks and the way she describes things. It’s a tricky skill to get used to, but it makes your writing much better!
Thank you so much for your picture of a pineapple! I think it sums up Caitlin’s approach to life perfectly – who wouldn’t want to be a pineapple?
(Fascinating pineapple fact 1: pineapples don’t grow on trees – they grow as a plant that can only have one pineapple at a time! In fact they look a bit like thistles. Check it out:
Image result for pineapple tree
Fascinating pineapple fact 2: people in the 1600s and 1700s used to get their portraits painted holding pineapples to show how wealthy they were as pineapples cost so much to grow and ship over. Here’s King Charles II with one:
Image result for charles II pineapple

I think currently, pineapple facts might be our favourite kind of facts!

6L posed some more brilliant questions to Ross – he’s got some very interesting and useful answers below:

10) Where do you get some imaginative ideas for your book? (Mothakin)
To be honest, ideas tend to spring at me out of nowhere – I’ve asked other authors the same thing and they all agree! It’s very rare that I get the most important ideas first, e.g. the plot, the characters – it’ll be one little moment in the book that grabs my interest. I’ll think, “That’s odd – I wonder what happens in the book to make that scene happen?” and I’ll end up building a book around it.
A good tip: I’ve spent the last few years carrying a little notebook around with me wherever I go. The second I get an idea – usually it’s on a train or a bus – I scribble it down so I don’t forget it. SPACE TORTOISE started this way – so did my next novel, MAX & THE MILLIONS, which is out next March, and so did my next book – a book of short horror stories set at Christmas called CHRISTMAS DINNER OF SOULS!

11) Have you experienced a storm like in the books? (Caitlin)

I am absolutely, utterly petrified of the sea, so thankfully I’ve never been on the ocean when a storm has hit! In fact I’ve only been on a boat a few times – it’s OK if it’s a big boat like a ferry as you tend to not feel the waves as much, but when you’re on a small boat even small waves are utterly terrifying! 

12) What inspired you to write a sci-fi type book? (Kayleigh and Charlie J)

I’m not sure – I always say that I’m not a big fan of sci-fi, but one of my friends (who is a BIG sci-fi fan) says that I am and I just don’t realise it!
I got the idea for PERIJEE & ME when I was walking through a park near where I teach, feeling worried because my publisher wanted me to come up with some new ideas. I saw a man lying on the ground: he was a typical London businessman, just like all the others in the park – pinstripe suit, black shoes, briefcase – but he was lying straight as a plank and flat on his face! It looked like he’d been dropped from a great height and was trying to copy everything around him in this very strange way – which got me onto thinking about him as an alien who wanted to be like a human, but didn’t know how to do it. I immediately started thinking about a girl discovering a shape-shifting alien and began making my idea – after I’d checked the businessman was OK, of course! 
I think when I came up with the idea, I didn’t want to do a sci-fi book – I just found the idea interesting. Of course, when you finish reading PERIJEE & ME, you may find there are a few unexpected surprises…
13) What is your favourite book genre? (Evelyn)

I tend to read lots of different genres – for me, it’s not so much the style of the book as the person writing it! As long as the writer catches my attention, then I don’t care if it’s a book about the history of trumpets or a novel about love. For example, I’ve never really liked Fantasy books, but I’ve always LOVED Terry Pratchett – you may know him as the writer of TRUCKERS, DIGGERS and WINGS, but he also wrote over 40 books about a place called the Discworld which were my favourite books when I was younger. They’re hilarious and beautiful and unbelievably clever!

14) What is your favourite book ever? (Alfie)

Oooooh, this is such a hard question! I don’t know if I could choose a single one – there are a handful of books that I absolutely love and recommend to everyone. For you guys, I would definitely recommend a book called HOLES by Louis Sachar. I don’t know another children’s book like it – if I could write anything as good as this I’d be a very happy man! Read the blurb and see what you think: http://www.louissachar.com/holes.html

15) Do you know anyone with Dyslexia? William

Lots! When I was at secondary school about fifteen years ago, people were beginning to realise that dyslexia was a lot more common that everyone had thought – lots of my friends were being diagnosed and up until then they’d had no idea why they had always struggled to read and write at the same speed as everyone else. There was a big change in how people talked about it – my friends finally realised they weren’t “stupid” or “slow”, they just needed a few tricks and tools to help them get their work done.
As a teacher, I work with a lot of children who have dyslexia too – one of the nicest things I’ve seen change since I was a child is that it’s no longer seen as a child having a “problem”, which is what it used to be like. Now the children I teach are aware that they need a little more help and take charge of it themselves – asking if they can sit closer to the board, sounding out words and using spellcheck on the computer to help them out etc. The only problem is when children like Caitlin are undiagnosed and have no help in place to let them do the best they can, which seems hugely unfair. There are many famous and highly successful people who are dyslexic, including Albert Einstein – here’s a small list of just a few! http://www.dyslexiaonline.com/basics/famous_dyslexics.html
 
Ross
Until next time Mile Oak, when we’ll see 6L’s super storyboards that they’ve all been working so hard on!
Team AAA x

Thunderbolts & Lightening very very…spooky…

Ali got in touch with 5p this week to share her thoughts on their “seriously bonkers” work! Let’s read her email below…

Dear Class 5P

Well, what can I say? I was concerned about you all last week, and this week I KNOW you’re all seriously bonkers! What IS Paul feeding you? Several million miniature winged goats? (Thanks for that, Zain.)

Your Fill In Fun stories have left me breathless, whimpering and occasionally licking the walls for comfort. A trickle of jam and dread just went down my spine, Henry. I’ve just realised I’m going to have to MEET YOU all in MAY! AAAAAAAAAAARGH!

Have to admit, I’m loving your mad ideas, from chicken onesies to zig-zaggy hair, to soggy iPhones to naked luck.

It’s made me stop and laugh after a busy day launching Thunderstruck – my brand new book. I launched it wearing my special lightning waistcoat:

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And my special lightning earrings and pendant:

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In Thunderstruck, Alisha and Theo get struck by lightning and afterwards they can see ghosts. Happily Dougie and Lizzie, who were killed by lightning in the same place in 1976, are quite fun and groovy as ghosts go.

Imagine you met a ghost and got chatting. How would your ghost speak? This week I’d like you to work in groups to come up with some ghost chat. Imagine you’re having a conversation with a ghost from:

  • 1666 (the year of the great Fire of London)    or
  • 1917  (during World War One)    or
  • 1966  (the swinging sixties)    or
  • Medieval England (the time of the legends of King Arthur)

Ask your ghost about their life… and how they died. Just get chatting – and see if you can make them speak correctly for their time, using the right kind of language.  Write down your conversation. You can describe how your ghost looks, too.

Good luck, 5P…

Ali

Here are some brilliant examples ghostly interviews – we especially like the idea of a TV show called ‘Catching up with the Dead‘ and think Saturday night TV is missing a trick!

Well done 5p – we’re looking forward to your next bonkers instalment!!!

Creepy Critters at Goldstone

Inspired by the Creature that appears in Guy Bass’ Stitch Head, the Goldstone crew have been busy creating their very own critters this week…. Oliver from Year 3 took some time to share some thoughts with their adopted author…

Hi, I’m Oliver.

I think your story is awesome. I particularly liked it when the Creature hugged Stitch Head so hard that he couldn’t breathe. My class think The Creature is really funny when he gets so over-excited.

We have enjoyed your creature challenge and are sending you a sample of our creativity.

Look forward to your next reply.

Oliver

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We’re pretty freaked out by some of their creations below!

The creature stopped as seventeen monsters crept out of the shadows and stared at the creature. One of the monsters had razor sharp thorns around its head, two spikey chain saws coming from its hips, a dragon spiked tail, and it sounded like a lion’s growl.

Rosie

The creature was startled as a strange, rounded shaped slobbery creature emerged from the gloomy shadows and slowly stepped towards the corner of the moonlit corridor. As the creature’s slimy, damp wings lit up in the dark, its grey antennae on its head shot out electric waves. She shivered as she shuffled towards the other creatures and Stitch Head.

Hana

The creature paused wearily, its ears twitched. Then there was an ear splitting screech. Suddenly, a blockish shape appeared from the pitch black shadows. First huge tentacles with about a million suckers, then an enormous fiery red eye emerged from the shadows into the moonlit hall, which was riddled with ugly monsters. The fiery eye bulged like it was about to pop out with an explosion. The tentacles made a hissing noise as the creature shed black goo as it went.

“Run!” screamed the Creature. “Monster!”

Felix

Stitch Head froze as he heard an enormous rare echoing through the castle. Suddenly he saw a disgusting looking creature lashing out towards him. It was a reindeer headed monkey with repulsive, hairy spider legs. It spat out a ball of slimy hair and took its eyes out so tentacles came out and wrapped them around Stitch Head. He screamed as the creature opened its enormous mouth and did a mighty roar. “Please don’t eat me,” muttered Stitch Head.

Marlie

Stitch Head froze as he heard a huge thump coming from the corridor. Suddenly Stitch Head saw a weird shaped creature racing towards him. Stitch Head fell as it slithered over to him with its spider legs.

It was a weird, slimy and thin creature, with repulsive hairy spider legs with a soggy brain. It gurgled and spat as it made its way through the corridors.

Polly

Stitch Head became petrified when he saw a spectacular beast approach him. It had a twirled mouse-like tail, the size of a personalised 12 inch rope and millions of mites that looked like they would explode and an MS tattoo on his hip which had a crack through and finally a bull-shaped head. It gurgled and splattered some boogies from its abomination of a nose. Stitch Head ran to the door and looked up and screamed so loud that the chandelier broke and smashed as it hit the floor. The bull-mite-mouse-thing slapped him on the cheek. Stitch Head reached desperately for the door as the creature started to strangle him…

Rory P

From the ceiling of the hallway, an unfamiliar lion like creature emerged from the shadows. It had two huge glaring eyes on each leg, arm and body parts. As it slobbered its poisonous blood, it grew like nothing they had seen before.

Matthew

From the corner of the attic, a huge wolf like shadow slowly crept out. It had triangular pointed ears, pointed teeth that were so sharp they would take a finger off in one bite, and its legs were as thin as pipe cleaners. It growled like a tiger and dripped green, slimy acid from its mouth.

Maisie

From behind an old box, out came an invention that the professor Erasmus had made a year ago. It had one bunny ear and one mouse ear that looked rather odd. It was a short, little stubby rabbit, carrying a carrot and its eyes shone in the moonlight like two glass balls. It was short like a mouse and as white as the moon.

Tori

Well done Year 3 – thanks for the brilliant work! – although this blog post should probably have come with a warning – I hope we don’t suffer from any NIGHTMARES – I think the Bull-Mite-Mouse-Thing might haunt me in my sleep!


 

Romance blossoming in Lizzy Bennet’s world

The girls at Carden Primary have been reading Marcia Williams’ next book (yes, they get TWO!)

The story is inspired by a book called Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen which was written in 1813 (ages ago!) Marcia’s book is written from Lizzy Bennet’s point of view. When Lizzy Bennet’s father gives her a diary, she fancies she will use it to write a novel, as her real life is exceedingly dull. Then the handsome Mr. Bingley moves to nearby Netherfield Park, and suddenly life is every bit as thrilling as a novel would be. Who will he dance with at the Meryton ball? Who is his haughty friend? Will Lizzy ever receive a marriage proposal?

Marcia set the girls a writing task:

Dear Year 6,

I have been rereading Lizzy Bennet’s Diary up to the same page as you, and it strikes me how very difficult Lizzy is to please.  How will she ever find a husband with such high standards?!
I wondered if you could each write a description of the man you would have Lizzy fall for, if you were the author instead of Jane Austen.  Just close your eyes and imagine him walking into the room and Lizzy falling in love!
1.  How does he enter the room, does he stride, shuffle or even trip?  Maybe he is shy and just pokes his head around the door?  Is he dark or fair?  Think about his clothes, his hairstyle, his shoes?  Maybe, he has a scar or a moustache?
2.  Is he clever?  Cold or warm hearted.  Friendly or shy?  Funny or severe?  How does his personality differ from Lizzy’s?
3.  Is he rich and aristocratic or does he come from a modest background? Is he a soldier?  What if any occupation does he have?
4.  What are his likes and dislikes?
5.  What are his strengths and weaknesses?  Maybe he eats too much chocolate – has dozens of dogs – or falls asleep at the table!  Only you know!
These are some of the things you might like to think about when you are writing about him.
I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!
Good luck,
Marcia
And the girls did a great job, they wrote very descriptive pieces detailing the moment the two meet. How romantic! These are two of our faves…

Well done girls and we hope you are looking forward to meeting your author Marcia Williams TOMORROW! So exciting!

Team AAA x