Monday, March 19, 2012

Writers Workshop with Jill Marshall

Today some lucky Year 6 students had the opportunity to attend a Writers Workshop with Jill Marshall at Pakuranga Library. The event was part of Book Month and some students from Riverhills School also attended.

Jane shared lots of anecdotes about her writing with us and gave us some valuable hints into how to make our writing better.

The idea for Jane Blonde came to Jill in around 1998 when she used to call her daughter 'Blonde' and she noticed it sounded like 'Bond'. Jane Blonde was just the next logical step from there. Apparently there are only seven possible story plots and the difference is the way in which they are told. This hit home for Jill when she found out there was another author also writing about a Jane Blonde character, also a spy!

Jill has been writing since she was about 8 or 9 and wrote her first book when she was 13. She was encouraged to be a writer by one of her teachers who gave her the advice to try writing in many different styles and complete a journalist qualification (but she didn't like writing about factual information).

Jane Blonde is about 60,000 words and took about six weeks to write but two years to edit! The blue book sold the least number of copies - probably because blue is a boy colour!

Some writing advice Jill gave us:
  • When you come up with a good idea try thinking 'what if ...' to different scenarios to make it something unique.
  • Think about your ending first as that makes writing the middle part easier.
  • Once your story is started think about The Bomb - something you add to interrupt the otherwise ordinary setting.
  • Writing in threes can add impact eg he huffed, and he puffed and he blew the house down.
  • She recommends a writing regime similar to this - a few months thinking in your head clarifying your ideas, write down your plan/outline in a book then finally start writing (about a month)
Other books by Jill Marshall that we don't have in our library are:
  • Kave-Tina Rox (picture book)
  • Matilda Peppercorn series (first one is called Manx and the last one will be Russian Blue)
Jill now has her own publishing company. Her original publisher wanted her to call the Matilda Peppercorn books Catgirl and she didn't like it! Now she can do things her own way as well as publish books by some of her other favourite authors!