Author Cressida McClaughlin shares tips for children entering Write on Norfolk competition

Norfolk author Cressida McClaughlin

Norfolk author Cressida McClaughlin - Credit: Archant

Children and young people across Norfolk already preparing their entries for the Write on Norfolk creative writing competition, run by the EDP and Norfolk County Council, in association with Jarrold.

Here, Norfolk author Cressida McClaughlin shares her tips on creative story writing and how you can be inspired by everyday items.

'Your starting point for a story or poem can be anything, but it's something you should feel strongly about – whether you love, hate or fear it, or you're intrigued by it and want to know more.

'It should be something that captures your imagination.

'When I was younger, my stories had hundreds of different starting points.

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'Sometimes I would pick an object that I'd seen – a strange ornament on my gran's mantelpiece, or something unusual lying in the station car park – and invent a story about where it came from, how it ended up where it did, and who had left or abandoned it there.

'Or I would overhear a conversation between people in a café and pick a single line, imagining a different backstory for the words, and creating a new world around them.

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'You don't have to write about yourself, but it helps to imagine how you'd feel and react if you were one of the characters in your story.

'On my walk to school there was a house that looked a lot less cared for than the rest, with peeling paint around the door and grass in the front garden that was nearly as tall as I was.

'I'd walk a little faster when I went past that house, and often imagined what I'd do if I saw a face at the window, or I blinked, and found myself standing in he living room, looking out instead of in.

'How would I feel, and how would I react?

'It was a great starting point for a story, and it was just an empty house that I walked past every day.

'Your imagination is limitless, so see where it takes you!

'The Write on Norfolk story writing competition is a great chance to let your child's creativity run wild, and with Norfolk being such a wide subject area there are sure to be some fantastic entries...'

Cressida McLaughlin studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia and lives in Norfolk, her latest novel The Canal Boat Café is due to be published as a paperback on July 28.

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