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Local writer, Tom Sheehan, author of the fantasy novel ‘Gone Dragon’, and father of Georgia in Year 6, visited Year 6P at Goolwa last week. Students felt privileged to see firsthand the original and ensuing drafts of the novel, gaining an idea of the editing and reworking process involved to produce a final copy.

It was interesting to hear how Mr Sheehan creates a mind map and does lots of planning, coming up with many different ideas, before writing the story. From one idea, there are so many different possibilities. The students worked together with Mr Sheehan to create an ideas board then individually developed one idea into their own storyline.

Students learnt that there is no such thing as a dumb idea. The goal is to dump all ideas on paper, and tweak them later. Writing a novel takes time.

When developing characters, the reader has to relate to them. You need to keep their personality consistent, and their reactions to situations must match the character. You need to imagine you are the character, to find out how they think. Something needs to happen to the character to bring about change.

Students found it fascinating that one of the ways Mr Sheehan comes up with names for the main characters is by randomly writing letters, and moving them around until he discovers a name that sounds right for the story.

This week, students will enjoy another visit from Mr Sheehan, looking at how we might develop a plot as the basis for writing our own books.

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