Matthew Drzymala Matthew Drzymala


author workshop, author workshops

author workshopThis week I ran my second author workshop, this time at Savio Salesian College in Bootle, Liverpool. It was very different from my first one, with the schools needs much different this time around.

Not a problem.

I reworked the day to fit the needs of the school and it worked really well.

How did I change the author workshop?

My first consisted of three readings and three exercises, but this one was very different. I had to take three, hour-long classes so a rapid change was needed. I didn’t have much time, but as what I offer is so flexible, it was easy to do.

I decided on the following changes:

  • Adding a segment on ‘Hooking’ a reader from the first line.
  • Building three-dimensional characters.
  • Cutting my readings down from three to one.

This meant I had time for more questions from the students about being an author as well as time for them to write their own brilliant first lines. Once again, this silly ol’ Mancunian made a fool of himself by doing the voice of Amelia Goose, but I don’t mind. It’s just me standing there, elongating random words like a crazy man. Much fun!

It tickled me when some of the children thought she was an actual goose. Next time I should definitely explain that better!

Competition time…

I included a competition too, to make it more competitive, and the students really got into the swing of things. I asked them to write the first line of a story that would hook them, and they did not disappoint. There were some fantastic ones and it took a long time for me to decide. In the end, I picked the following:

“I woke up in a different place than where I fell asleep.”
Lucy, Year 8

“I am in big trouble!”
Sophie, Year 8

“It was the day the sun disappeared.”
Charley, Year 9

There were so many to choose from due to the writing potential at the school. However, after a lot of deliberating I picked the above as they used the different types of hooks I’d shown the students from famous books such as Charlotte’s Web, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Crow Road and some story called The Bachelor. Plus they hooked me too.

Where did the character wake up?

What trouble!?


The children won a Bumpkinton pen each, which I hope they will now use to write their own stories with.

author workshop
The moment you realise you’ve got to burst into the voice of Amelia Goose!

I would like to thank the students and teachers at Savio Salesian for a fantastic day. The welcome I received from everybody was exceptional and I even got to have school custard again. It was just as delicious as I remember. Yum!

You can read more about the author workshop by visiting the school website:

Savio Salesian: Local Author Workshop Report

**Photo’s used with the signed permission of children, parents and staff at Savio Salesian College**