Sunday, 27 November 2011

Nick's Gallery

This one went out of print earlier this year. I'm revising it and sending it out again. or I might just put it on Kindle. Not really sure how well YA does on Kindle.
I'm bringing it up to date. Naturally, in this scene the camera will become digital. But I will still have to find an excuse for Barney to go to Tesco's.

Chapter 1

“There you go.”
Mr Fletcher carefully swung Nick into the wheelchair. Barney shifted  from one foot to the next. He never knew whether he should offer to help when Mr Fletcher was getting Nick out of the car. He always wanted to do something. But it was clear that Mr Fletcher knew what he was doing. 
“You can wheel him in if you like,” said Mr Fletcher.
“Oh no he can’t,” shouted Nick. He pulled the lever in the arm of the wheelchair  and it whizzed forward. Barney went to open the front door. But he was too late. Nick somehow managed to drive straight at the door, so that it was flung open. Barney winced as it crashed back into the chair. Nick took no notice. He jiggled the controls again. He was frowning slightly and his tongue was poking out a little way between his teeth. Then the chair jerked forward so that it pushed the door again. He accelerated through.
“Come, on, what’s keeping you?” shouted Nick through the now closed door. Barney shook his head and grinned. Then he walked slowly in.
The wheelchair whirred along. Nick was already at the end of the long corridor when Barney got to the other side of the door.  Barney watched his friend stop the chair and then jiggle the controls on the arm rest. The chair pivoted to face the door to Nick’s room, and then Nick did the trick with the door again. This time, though,  the door stayed open. The magnet on the wall held it in place. Barney stood and stared for a moment. How did he manage it?
“Are you coming then?” shouted Nick. "Come on."
Barney shook his head and then made his way into Nick’s room. Nick was already nudging the edge of the drawers with his wheelchair.
“In there,” he said, nodding his head towards the top drawer. “Close the door will you? I don’t want any-one else to know.”
Barney opened the drawer. He took the sketch book out and the small tin of  water colours.
“Get the water,” commanded Nick.
Barney pushed Nick up to his desk. He spread the plastic sheet out for him and arranged the latest picture so that Nick could get to it easily. He unscrewed the tube of white  and then opened the lid of the tin.
“Hurry up with that  water, man!” Nick’s face was going red. That always happened when he got frustrated.
Barney hurried over to the sink with the jar. He had just filled it and carried it back,  when there was a knock on the door. Barney covered the picture with a sheet of kitchen paper and opened the door. Mrs Fletcher was standing there with a tray of  drinks and biscuits.
“Thank you, Barney,” she said.
Nick sighed.
“Mum. Do you mind? Barney and I have got things to do.”
“You need to drink, love,” Mrs Fletcher replied, quietly. “Barney, do you think …”
“Yes, it’s alright, Mrs Fletcher. Really.”
Mrs Fletcher nodded and smiled. Nick pulled a face.
"I grew out of baby cups a long time ago," he said, pointing to the invalid cup.
Barney walked over to the tray and took the cup.
"Don't let it get to you," he said. 
Nick didn’t resist as Barney held the cup up to his lips. He even managed to lift his hand up to the cup so that it looked as if he was actually holding it.  He tipped a little of the fluid into Nick’s mouth and then straightened the cup up as he waited to hear Nick’s laboured swallow. At last it came. Then he was able to tip a little more into Nick’s mouth. Slowly, slowly, the cup emptied. Barney took a few sips of his own drink to keep Nick company.
Then Nick seemed to be struggling. There was a strange rasping noise in his throat. He was trying to swallow and couldn’t. He rolled his head from side to side in frustration. Barney  pushed him forward and thumped his back.
"Come on now," he shouted. "Swallow."
Barney’s heart was racing. This was happening more and more often now. One day …. – no that didn’t bear thinking about. Then all at once,  Nick hiccoughed and he was breathing freely again. He giggled.
“Stop doing that, you monkey,” said Barney, cuffing him on the arm.
Nick giggled again.
“Want a biscuit?” Barney asked.
Nick nodded. Barney broke a piece off one of the soft short cakes.
“Here,” he said, placing it in Nick’s mouth. “Chew it properly.”
“Yeah,” mumbled Nick.
Barney  moved the kitchen paper back from picture. He stared at the small boats which seemed to bob up and down in the wind swept harbour. How could someone like Nick do something as clever? In fact, how could any-one?
“Did you take the film out?” Nick asked.
“Yes, said Barney. “I’ll take it in on the way home. Twenty-four hours be okay?” 
“Twenty-four hours will be fine,” said Nick dryly. “But make them BIG!”

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Build a Book Phocopiable Resource

I have delivered several succcessful workshops using these materials and am now happy to share these ideas with other writers and other teachers. This resource is currenltly available on Amazon, the facilitator's manual being available on Kindle. A hard copy of the latter will be produced soon as will a downloadbale copy of the former.  
Build a Book Photocopiable Resource

The Build a Book Workshop is a step-by step guide for teachers and writers, that shows you how to organise creative writing workshops with a difference and with a very tangible end product. Your students can see their work turned into a book that has a spine and can sit on a shelf, raising money for charity at the same time.
This photocopiable resource makes conducting the Build a Book Workshop even easier. It contains:
·         Checklists for the organisers
·         Planning sheets
·         Prompt sheets for students
·         Templates for marketing materials
·         Templates for permission slips
·         Templates for letters    

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Build A Book

A manual  for teachers and writers who would like to organise a really interesting writing workshop for students. This workshop enables your students to actually produce a real book. The manual is available on Kindle. 
Inspire your students and enable them to build their own book.
This step-by step guide for teachers and writers, and the photocopiable resource that goes with it, show you how to organise creative writing workshops with a difference and with a very tangible end product. Your students can see their work turned into a book that has a spine and can sit on a shelf, raising money for charity at the same time.
Students can:
·         Improve their writing
·         Write with a purpose
·         Learn about commerce and enterprise
·         Engage with the local and wider community
Teachers and writers learn how to:
·         Plan and organise your workshops
·         Get the best writing out of your students
·         Maximise the impact of your book
·         Build a book with little or no financial outlay
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The Build a Book Workshop is about getting your students to create a book in a limited amount of time. They look at the whole process of how a book is made: writing, editing, selecting, designing, illustrating and marketing. This workshop enables students to see what is involved in producing a book and motivates them to start and to complete a piece of writing. 
They actually produce a book. It becomes a tangible object that sits on a shelf. You may also opt to have the book as an e-book and a web site if you wish. 
This process is very adaptable and can easily be used to build a book in a day, two days, a week, a month, a term or a year.
Some work needs to be carried out behind the scenes, some of which is quite technical, and this guide shows you how. If the technical work is too much, we also show you ways of getting help with that as effectively as possible.
Everything described in this manual for teachers is based on the experience of producing anthologies of children’s writers with schools. All of the books have supported a charity – in two cases this was the schools own library - and in all cases students’ confidence in their writing has increased.    
The Build a Book Workshop can be extremely cross-curricular and offers your students opportunities to:
·         improve their writing
·         understand the world of publishing
·         work collaboratively
·         understand the wider community
·         support the wider community
·         understand how businesses work
·         improve their IT skills
·         take part in an enterprise activity

This manual contains a step-by-step guide to setting up a Build a Book Workshop and making sure that a book is produced at the end of it. There are several choices at each stage of the process. It is probably a good idea to read it from cover to cover to start with and then work through it section by section when you have a clearer idea of your workshop shape. 
You may also order a book containing photocopiable resources from our web site. You may purchase this as a hard copy or as a PDF file. Also a template for formatting your book is available from our web site.