“Creative writing. Let’s do a creative writing programme!” 

This is what happens when you work with Jenny. She has an idea. A quiet little idea. In your kitchen with an unassuming cup of tea.

And then here you are. Signing in at the reception at George Stephenson High School and Marden High School, laden with cut out paper dolls and trying to disguise the weird smells that come from your backpack.

And so, I’m delighted to announce that TICE has a new Creative Writing programme. And the first session was a blast!

The greatest challenge was always going to be boiling down everything contained in the vast universe that is creative writing. We could start with books, scripts, plays and poems; then we’d have to throw in a little of the magic that happens now that we have the magic of the internet. Blogs, vlogs and Snapchat stories. Because the beeps and squeaks that punctuate our days are all conversations – and they’re also a form of creative writing. With added emojis.

The joy of this session, I realised, was that faced with a room of 26 year nine students, you have no idea if you’re in the presence of the next John Green, Martina Cole, Anthony Horowitz, or J.K.Rowling.

Certainly, there was talent by the bucket-load. We thought about where ideas come from. We explored the inverted pyramid of journalism. We looked at how to create a character from scratch (hip-hop loving pixie, meet homicidal psychopath). We played around with how to write a script in your character’s voice. And then we engaged our senses and ate slices of lemon, passion fruit and finished off with handfuls of fresh basil leaves (I said there was a weird smell, didn’t I?).

While we did all this, we learned about the support that’s available for young writers, both locally and nationally. And looked at which courses the universities at Newcastle and Northumbria offer that might float our inner author’s boats.

I hope New Writing North is prepared for an influx of new talent.

Now to do it all again at Marden High School next week. Thanks, George Stephenson High School – you were fantastic!