Tue 12 November 2019
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Creative Writing for Children
Every story has a beginning - but to be honest, with my love of writing there is none writes Holly Turner

In the bygone era of my early primary education, I can remember spinning my teacher tantalising tales of my weekends pirating, scuba diving, shopping in New York, being a princess and other somewhat, slightly, maybe just a teeny bit made up stories. From parent’s evening meetings and the fact that I arrived at school in a Ford Fiesta, my teacher probably guessed that my mum and dad couldn’t afford to take me to America one week and buy me a tiara the next. I’m surprised I wasn’t ever handed back my exercise book with: ‘Holly, GET REAL’ under my work in red pen.

I guess I just love a good story, doesn’t everyone? (Maybe that’s why EastEnders’ rates are plummeting) It’s that blurring of reality, the fact and fiction borderline, making the world a considerably more interesting place which appeals to me most about writing. Wondering, what if...? I think imagination must be the vital ingredient in the cookie dough of creative writing. Without it, basically, you’re not gonna get your cookies.

But how important is creative writing, and for children to develop in? Writing is so significant in the working world – emails, essays, public speeches and letters are but a few examples which make up a major part of communication. If you have the ability to write creativity and communicate ideas effectively, you’re onto a winner. Children should be encouraged to use their imagination from an early age - not necessarily to tell their teachers downright lies as I did – but to read, make games, get writing, expand their creative thinking and cognitive ability.

I think the lack of having a television for a while after moving house was a major motive for my surging interest in reading. Certainly, one memorable day in Year 4, my teacher (who had obviously been chatting to my mother again) read out my written work to the class and announced that if the other children didn’t currently have a television like Holly, then their work may have been up to reading-out standard as well (talk about a double-whammy embarrassment – having your work read out AND TV-less household broadcasted). However, now I’ve overcome the experience, I can say I wholeheartedly agree. How can you improve your writing if you don’t improve your reading, and imaginative abilities?

Maybe it’s a good thing then, that EastEnders is about as watchable as Dot’s laundry going round in the machine. Maybe it’ll inspire young people to get creative instead.

Holly Turner is a young writer based at York St John.

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