Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Of fairy tales, story plans and witch's knickers

Writing Club is back for a third and final sequence this year. 5th and 6th class are at the helm this time and they are full of stories to tell and write. They are also (many of them) full of a love for horror, crime and gore, which makes for some very interesting reads...
The first week we started with what we all knew quite well - fairy tales - and had a look at how we could use them to write our own stories.
First, we threw  a random word into the world of the fairy tale (say, an elephant in the story of Blue Beard or a pair of knickers in Hansel and Gretel), and reinvented the story with this new element. Each tale remained quite recognisable and yet very different.
The Forbidden room in Blue Beard's castle. Brrr...
We then went one step further. Looking at what other writers had done with Little Red Riding Hood, we realised that one change could be enough to transform the whole thing: change the place (set it in Inchicore!), the time (set it in the future!), the main character (make the hero bad and the villain good!) or the ending (they all lived unhappily ever after) and you will end up with a very different story. So we did just that, reinventing Cinderella in 1916 Dublin or Snow White as a murder mystery...

During Week 2, we had a look at structure: how stories work. And we noticed that stories often used the same elements (a hero, a villain, a helper, a revelation, a message, a battle, a victory, etc...) and yet they don't appear the same on the surface. Using 25 'action' cards ('Leaves', 'Decides', 'Test', 'Chase'...), each writer picked the events they wanted to feature in their story and went on to produce an original piece. Even though we used the same set of actions, all the stories were very different, involving horrible planets where you had to kill people by law, Justin Bieber, the Joker, an unlucky charm and much more.

Thanks to all who took part, it's been a hoot. See you next week!

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