Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I am currently conducting workshops at the State Library for 16 or so 13-17 year olds who are coming to the library in their school holidays to write. I love them all, for that fact alone. I so would have done it as a teenager.

Anyway, today I tried a new exercise with them, and took these photos of the results with my (ahem) new iphone. This last picture is of my two examples, and the middle one is Fred's*. They were a precursor to a storywriting exercise but the wordboys and wordgirls were often stories in their own right, conveying so much through an economy of language and a rich engagement with character. They were quite arresting laid out on the table together so we could all look over what other people had done.

Also I got my hands on Lili Wilkinson's book PINK. It was so pink. And so these things: smart, funny, embarrassing, sweet, funny, oh and did I mention embarrassing? I wanted to climb under the train seat at times (and I think that's where they raise the hell-beasts, made of human hair, so that's saying something).

*It says: 'Jack leaned forward at the gazing sun. Then he went home...(turn over) and built a robot.' I am so jealous of Fred's writing.


  1. I love these!! Especially Fred's. I'm jealous of her writing too ...

  2. what a great project.

    i feel that way about jack’s writing. it just flows out of him -- the ideas, the phrases. he doesn’t hesitate -- just jumps in like he’s jumping into a lake!

  3. These are great. I love the stories of small people - they are so free flowing and intriguing.

    I have always loved paper dolls, but have never thought of writing on them. Genius.

  4. What a brilliant writing exercise! I wish my writing teacher did such interesting exercises with us. Then again, we tend to get more run-of-the-mill (/boring) writing tasks in writing courses for adults. Not that it should be the case...

  5. Hey Penni - Liam here from your Reading Australian Writing class last semester.

    What a great program you're running. Made me think of my little sister, who's ten, and trying to write her first novel.

    Had a read of it - she's fantastic.

    Check out my blog too :)

  6. I'm jealous of Fred's writing too! Love the wordkids idea.