Graphic Novel Creative Writing Workshop sparks imagination

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To round off their Donaldson Week activities, LIV and MIV (Years 7 and 8) attended a Graphic Novel Creative Writing Workshop. Author Tamara Macfarlane, assisted by her colleague Simon Fullerton, children’s author and performer, challenged the girls to uncover clues and discover the culprit in a staged crime scene, getting them thinking about the aspects of a good mystery story. Leading on from this, the girls set about formulating their own graphic novel and let their imaginations go, with superhero powers ranging from telekinesis and teleportation to hole digging and making sushi rolls! After giving their superhero a good back-story, great gadgets, and the all-important costume, they then went on to devise a plot, taking into account their setting and, in particular, where the villain’s lair was!  Dr Penelope James, Librarian

Year 8 pupil, Tilly, tells us what she learnt from the workshop: 

'I was particularly excited, because I had read a couple of Tamara's books and I loved them. Tamara brought a friend, who is a comedian and he started the workshop off with a detective role play, to get us in the mood. He had set up a mini comic shop and had scattered bits of evidence around for us. Then he picked some volunteers to find a piece of evidence and using that, all of us had to make up a story of what had happened.

Afterwards, Tamara told us a little bit about the inspiration for her books and what they were about. Next, she talked to us about superheroes, but specifically how she didn’t like how stereotypical they are in traditional comics. It is this key concept that she told us was behind her book, The Uncracked Code. More specifically, she explained that there were three key elements in the book: 1) her book is based on a robbery that happened to her, but she has altered the facts for the story; 2) she added things to the book that she had always wanted as a child, like a secret door in her home and 3) that in her book she makes up a comic book series called Komodo Jones which is the opposite of a stereotypical comic book, in that there is no violence and the superhero is a woman who wears tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie!

After talking to us about her book, Tamara told us how to make a superhero. This included what their powers were, how they got them, their back story, their special weapon and their name. Once she had done this, we all got into pairs and she gave each of us a sheet which we used to make our own superheroes, villains and a comic story. We all had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the visit. Tamara was very kind, down to earth and she talked about things that were very relatable to us, but in a new way.

We really loved the refreshing take on a superhero comic - not the stereotypical interpretation of heroes from traditional comics, particularly the roles of the men and women, and we all had a great time.'