Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water but Jack fell down a crater caused by a volcano and tumbled into upside-down land, along with a fire-eating dragon. It's a nursery rhyme but not as we know it...

Taking a well-known story and adding an imaginative new twist was just one of the exercises at ShoutSouth for 9 to 12 year olds from primary and secondary schools in South London. ShoutSouth is a story-making festival run by published authors and illustrators from CWISL. It celebrates all forms of storytelling, with writing, drawing, and drama all fired by the power of imagination. I was one of the authors leading a workshop and mentoring the kids as they created their own stories.

My workshop focused on finding a spark for a story. It involved lots of props - a random word game, music, pictures, and objects. Other workshops included illustrations and storyboarding, spotting the plot, and Mad, Moody and Murky - adding that extra layer of description and emotion to show how characters are feeling.

You can read their stories at ShoutAbout. It was SO much fun and I got some new ideas for my own writing too. Now all I need is the time to write them...