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The write stuff

In the past two weeks I have learned so much about the processes that authors go through. I don’t want to give too much away because hopefully you’ll get to meet the two amazing authors that I’m writing about and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

The first is Dave Cousins, an award winning writer of MG/YA fiction such as ‘Fifteen Days Without a Head’ and, more recently, the Charlie Merrick series for a younger readership.


Two weeks ago we spent a fun packed day with Dave, taking him on a mini tour of Brentwood, visiting Shenfield High School, Hogarth Primary and Larchwood Primary. Dave explained how the Charlie Merrick books came about. He uses a notebook to flesh out his ideas and whilst this is nothing new, Dave does something rather magical. He begins with a basic character, developing them through a series of interviews. It’s such a brilliant idea and one that I’m keen to borrow in Creative Writing Club. Once the characters are coming together well, the plot is built up around them. Illustration is key for Dave as he is a multi-talented man, illustrating and writing his creations; something that the new children’s laureate Chris Riddell, is bound to approve of.

This week we had the pleasure of introducing debut author Abi Elphinstone to the pupils of Ingatestone and Fryerning, Ingrave Johnstone and Kelvedon Hatch.


Abi reminded me of a method actor; she immerses herself in research, travelling across the U.K. (and beyond at times) in search of inspiration. Again, a notebook is key to the process, filled with copious notes, and also maps.I was delighted to see the maps as this is something that I encourage children in tuition and creative writing to do, so I must be doing something right!

Both authors write the most fantastic narratives which hook the reader in, making them desperate to finish but at the same time not wanting the adventure to come to an end.

If you are lucky enough to meet Dave or Abi, take the opportunity, especially if you have a passion for stories. Dave will be part of the Brentwood Children’s Lit Fest in 2016 for sure, and we’re hoping that Abi will be too…watch this space!




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