By Laura Formby
Students at a secondary school in Muswell Hill have published a novel about l0ve and death called ‘The Dark Truth.’
Alexandra Park School chose a number of 12-year-olds for the White Water Writers programme – publishers who use workshops to help groups of around ten writers to write and publish their own novel within five days.
Students from Year 8 took part in a collaborative writing course between March 6th-10th.
The workshop allows them to use their imagination and help each other write a novel. They develop their writing and communication skills, teamwork, attention to detail and confidence.
‘The students learnt so much from this experience,’ said Joanna Chadwick, Assistant Headteacher.
‘They started as usual Year 7 and 8 students with school-age appropriate skills in English. By the end of the course they were novel writers! They learnt how to edit, review, work as a team, use interactive writing software and really proof read, as that was essential to making sure the book was a success. They learnt to express themselves in ways that challenged their usual mentality and entered new rounds of creativity and craftsmanship.’
Ms Chadwick said that she would love to see a few budding writers from this initial project. What she thinks is really important is that has sparked the belief and awareness that being a writer is actually possible.
She said: ‘ You don’t have to be the most fluent or perfect writer – you just need to have passion, the creative vision and the ability to work hard to create something that you are proud of.’
The novel is about characters Jaspar Chapman, who wants to find his sister’s killer, and Milly who is finding it hard to cope with her mother’s death so ends up making the biggest mistake of her life.
All the ideas, words, chapters as well as the spelling mistakes are entirely the students’ own work.
‘The school is very proud of the students,’ she said. ‘The ultimate reward is surely the book being published.’
The school is now planning to hold a book signing. Details will be in the school newsletter and each student is receiving two books. One will be signed by all the teachers involved.
‘What I think went down well with the students was the pizza party lunch that we three for them to say well done for completing it,’ said Ms Chadwick.