A very welcome boost of inspiration - by Rosalie Warren

In the last few weeks I’ve done several sessions with 10-12 year-olds in a very lively school (Finham Park 2, Coventry) that is deeply committed to instilling a love of writing and reading in its students. I had the pleasure of hosting four workshops, each with a group of eight children and the help of the wonderful school librarian. I’d like to think I encouraged them to some extent in their love of books, but I can say for sure that they inspired me. 

I did something I’ve never done before – shared some early ideas with potential readers for a book I’ve just started to write. Possibly dangerous, I know. I used to be very wary of sharing new ideas with anyone, but it felt right this time, and this story is not exactly new to me anyway. It’s being doing the rounds of my head and a few other places for several years and had a number of knock-backs on the way, in particular from my publisher several years ago, who commissioned a series from me based on the idea and then, after I’d done quite a lot of work, dishearteningly told me that she’d changed her mind.

It took a while for that puddle of disappointment to evaporate or flow under the bridge or do whatever puddles of stagnant publisher-polluted water do. It has certainly taken me some time to re-friend the book. The story has changed along the way – so much that I can almost believe it’s a wholly new book, which is probably a good thing.

I’m certainly re-enthused and re-energised, and this is due in no small part to the wonderful children who gave me dozens of new ideas and also provided what I most needed, which was the assurance that this was a story (and maybe even a series) they would love to read. They wrote down, illustrated, described and, in the case of one group, acted out (at their own suggestion) their ideas for how the book should continue. They were delighted when I promised I would put all their names in the back of the book to say thank you for their help. (If this turns out to be a deal-breaker with any prospective publisher, tough – I’m quite happy to self-publish this book, especially as I have a very talented illustrator on board – watch this space.)

I’m not one of those authors who loves to give school visits and talks – I’m much happier closeted away with my imaginary people. But these encounters were special and I’m very grateful to the school, to the wonderful librarian who organised it all and, of course, to the children, some of whom were already pupils at the school and others who come from the feeder primary schools and may well become Finham Park 2 students in a year or so’s time.

I’d love to include pictures but I don’t have the relevant permissions, so you’ll have to use your imagination to conjure up the smiling faces of the children involved. Just so my August contribution isn’t entirely picture-free, I’ll take the opportunity for some shameless publicising of some earlier books of mine.

All best wishes,
Ros (aka Sheila)

Proofreading and editing, for anyone who needs a bit of help

Suspense, relationships, coping with familes and life: a novel for ages 11-13

Music, mental health and other stuff: a novel for adults

Also a novel for adults - psychological suspense, science fiction, identity and other issues

Follow me on Twitter @Ros_Warren 


Umberto Tosi said…
Yes! I volunteered as a teacher's aide off and on at my youngest daughter's grammar school as she was growing up and found it very fulfilling, always getting as much or more than what I could give. At the same time, I don't envy being teacher - as has my eldest daughter for years. It's hard work, that I admire for the dedication, patience, preparation and creativity that the work demands daily. All the best!
Brainstorming your ideas with schoolchildren -- what a perfect way to instill love for the craft of writing in young minds! I can imagine how refreshing it must be to see ideas churned through fresh and intrepid minds and learn, once again, the sheer joy of unbridled creativity.
Rosalie Warren said…
Thanks, Umberto and Dipika. I too admire the work of teachers very much and am proud that my son, daughter-in-law and step-daughter are all members of that profession.

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