At the end of January I visited Park Mains High and Paisley Grammar School to talk to pupils about writing and inspiration. I loved the fact a couple of pupils in each school stood up to introduce me and then thank me at the end – it was a really nice touch and I know how nerve wracking it was for the students to get up in front of their peers to do this. One girl even took the chance to tell the audience how much she had loved Follow Me and told them all to read it. I couldn’t have asked for a better host! It was also great when some pupils stayed behind to ask me more questions, and also tell me about current work they were writing. One girl let me read one of her poems that she had saved on her phone which I was very impressed with. Being able to engage with teenagers in schools at events such as this is one of my favourite things about writing for a teen audience. One of the librarians also was kind enough to email me some feedback about what the pupils enjoyed most from my visit. Some of my favourite ones were:
“That she told us never to give up
I liked how she is a local author and she was relatively young so could relate to our experiences.
It has inspired me to write my own stories.
Vikki’s book really inspired me to write my own book.”
Knowing you can have some impact in the writing lives of young people is amazing. (The comment about me being ‘relatively young’ also gave me a good laugh).
This afternoon I am heading off to the Westerwood Hotel for the weekend where I will have the chance to socialise with lots of great writers at the Scottish Association of Writers Conference. I was delighted this year to be asked to judge one of their Short Story competitions – the Livingstone Open Competition where stories had to be aimed at 12- 16 year olds. I will be delivering my adjudication this evening after the dinner. I have spent the past couple of months reading over the nineteen stories and really enjoyed this task.
I think you can learn a lot from reading other writers work and it makes you think more about what makes a story really great. For me, I love stories which can provoke emotion and have characters who draw me in. I’m looking forward to delivering my results this evening and hope the winners will be at the conference so I can find out who they are! (all stories were anonymous).
On the Sunday morning at the conference I will be delivering a creative workshop titled ‘Inspiration Everywhere’. One of the tasks I will set the group is suggesting they try the Small Stones creative exercise. I really enjoyed doing this during the month of January. My day job has been quite stressful the past few months and I find it really hard getting enough head space to immerse myself in long pieces of writing. I loved the fact this exercise kept my creative brain operating and it has already made me think of how I can develop some of the ideas into stories. You can read my Small Stones over at my creative blog Through the Looking Glass here