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Bea’s Witch: An alchemical experiment in creative writing and educational practice

This is an extract from a blog written for Leeds Beckett University about creative writing and educational practice. Read the whole blog here

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How to Use Objects to Develop Character

Part of my writing process for my new young adult novel Bea’s Witch: A ghostly coming-of-age story involved using objects to shape the plot and develop the book’s main character. In this video, I introduce some of those objects and talk about my process. Let me know if you’ve ever used objects as a writing […]

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Distance, isolation and creative communication

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to start a new First Story school residency at Co-Op Grange Academy in Bradford. First Story places published writers in disadvantaged schools to encourage the students to write for pleasure. Over the coming year, I’ll be working with a group of students to […]

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Anthologies of Hope

Anthologies of Hope: I’ve been encouraged and inspired by the two First Story anthologies produced by students at the schools where I’ve been Writer-in-Residence this year.

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Writing Extracts and Tips

Here are a couple of extracts from my books, an extract from one of my students’ anthologies, a creative writing idea and a Neil Gaiman quote. Do you think there are writing ‘rules’ that need to be broken?

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#247Challenge

It’s National Writing Day! Check out #247challenge hashtag on social media to see 24 word stories that have been written for the occasion. Why not have a go at writing your own? Below is my attempt, inspired by a number of school visits where the children have been quick to talk about the technical side […]

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Why Write?

Here are some thoughts about why I write, recorded for National Writing Day 2019. It’s National Writing Day tomorrow, check out their hashtag #247challenge to see 24 word short stories written for this celebration of writing. Why not have a go at writing one yourself!

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An Extract from the Firebird Chronicles: The Basillica Isles

An extract from the Firebird Chronicles: They made their way along a dirt track that led through the heart of the makeshift encampment. Every so often, through the tarpaulins pulled between the shacks, Scoop caught a glimpse of the cathedral domes. The air was close, heavy with the smell of fried fish, sweet meats and […]

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Is writing like using an Alethiometer?

The way Philip Pullman describes the process of using the Alethiometer in the Northern Lights reminds me a bit of the writing process – holding lots of things in your mind and allowing them to flow without pushing too hard. ‘…That’s a symbol-reader…all these pictures round the rim…each one stands for a whole series of […]

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Student Creative Writing Showcase: Bingley by Muhammad Hashir

This lovely piece is by Muhammad Hashir, one of the students I worked with at Beckfoot Upper Heaton School. It’s part of our First Story anthology, We Have Conquered Earth! The illustration is by Si Smith. You can read about First Story’s work and see other antholgies at http://www.firststory.org.uk Bingley’s tale is one of the […]