‘Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?’ – a guest post from Susannah Leigh

As you may know (because we have mentioned it before, many times!) here at the School Library Service we’ve been working with some brilliant Authors, getting them out and about and into schools across Norfolk. These visits have been proving very successful and we’re pleased to be facilitating such brilliant events!

One author we’ve been working with is Susannah Leigh; a writer and editor, not only is she Norfolk-based, but she herself works in a Library, so she understands just how brilliant books are and how important it is to promote a rich reading culture. In our second guest post, we asked her to share her thoughts on school visits…

 One of the most common questions I get asked as an author is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ It’s a valid question because often ideas are hard to come by, especially when working home alone. So a visit to a primary school is an excellent reminder that there are zillions of ideas out there, whizzing around the imaginations of fabulously engaged pupils.

During my time with a class we talk about story and structure, about the fact that authors don’t get it right the first time and there are many mistakes and re-drafts along the way. We learn that authors don’t work in isolation. They have editors who, just like teachers, help them find better ways to tell a story. We tackle mazes and puzzles and think about strategies to move the action along. And we talk about the things you might expect to find in a story, and how to make it your own. At Necton Primary we devised a blood-thirsty pirate tale.  A one-eyed captain with a peg leg AND a hook, hedgehogs fired as cannonballs, a zombie pirate battle and a treasure chest full of beef burgers (you can build up quite an appetite digging for treasure) were just some of the fantastic ideas the pupils came up with. (No hedgehogs were harmed in the telling of the story, but the battle was fierce and furious).

For authors, and for pupils a school visit is a chance to discover that when you start to explore ideas together, stories happen.

 You can read the first of our author guest posts here.

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