It’s not very often I come across a resource for children and adults that makes me feel excited and passionate but that’s what happened with Tutorfair. I’m delighted to be sharing with you Joe’s 5 best fiction books to improve your creative writing but first, here are a few things that I think are important about Tutorfair.
Their mission is simple:
Help kids succeed
It’s their promise that makes this a tutor service with a difference …
For every student who pays, we give free tutoring to a child who can’t.
How awesome is that!
At the time of preparing this post, they’ve given free tutoring to 7778 students involving 926 tutors in 21 school.
Joe is a professional tutor with Tutorfair and I know you will find some great tips in his guest post not only for children but for adults too 🙂
There is nothing more exciting than creating characters from scratch or building a world in your mind. However, for some budding creative writers it helps to look at other books to kick-start your imagination. Over my time as an English tutor at Tutorfair, I have found that other writers’ stories are often a great springboard for students to write new stories of their own. Shaz has kindly invited me to write a guest post for Jera’s Jamboree, so without further ado, here are my top five fiction books for improving creative writing.
1) The BFG
The great thing about writing creatively is that you can throw all the regular rules of grammar and vocabulary out the window if it feels right. The Big Friendly Giant is a modern classic of children’s literature because of the popularity of its main character who despite telling us not to ’gobblefunk around with words’, does exactly that. Roald Dahl loved to make up new words like ‘snozzcumber’ and ‘whizzpop’ and to play with sayings like ‘two rights don’t make a left’. Through breaking the rules, Roald Dahl was able to create a loveable rebel in the BFG and his example could inspire a very fun creative writing tuition session.
2) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
There are few things more effective in inspiring a child’s imagination than turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. One of the most famous examples of ‘doorway-to-a-new-world’ fantasy fiction is the first in C S Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Stumbling out of a closet full of fur coats into a winter wonderland, many readers could imagine themselves as the main character Lucy. Sometimes using the first part of a story from another text can help a child force themselves to imagine the next steps in their own fantasy tale: could she walk out into a dystopian desert? Or an underwater cave? The possibilities are limitless!
3) A Monster Calls
This heart-wrenching story written by Patrick Ness, and based on an original idea of Siobhan Dowd, follows the journey of a young boy struggling to cope with the loss of someone very close to him. It contains stories within the main story as told by a monster which help guide the child to a state of acceptance. From a creative writing perspective, children could easily be inspired to write their own stories based on what they’ve read. They could start with a moral message that they want to finish with and then build their story up to that point. Re-working some of the stories into other forms like a beat poem, a monologue or a TV script is a foolproof way to fire up a student’s creative powers.
4) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
John Boyne’s poignant World War Two novella about the triumph of friendship over adversity and prejudice is a great example of how to shape a narrative through the eyes of a specific character, which in this case is a young boy. An expert English tutor would be able to help a student identify the words and sentence structures that create the compelling voice of the character and then help a child do the same with their own protagonist. Continuing the story or even rewriting another one in the same voice is a valuable way to help a child learn how to maintain discipline in their writing, whilst also aiding to improve their reading comprehension.
5) One Hundred Years of Solitude
For older students, there is one novel that really stands out when it comes to rich, descriptive prose and layered plotting: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Interweaving the life stories of different members of a Colombian family, Marquez’s ideas are achingly beautiful and expressed so succinctly. Just look at the first line: ‘Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice’. A useful starting point for tutors would be to ask their student to pick three items randomly from a prepared list and then create a plot from the choices.
Finally, another useful way to get young people engaging with reading and creative writing is to encourage them to complete Jera’s Jamboree Reading Challenge. Often, the best books are those that you don’t actively seek out, but rather those that are chosen for you or are from a genre you wouldn’t normally read. Try it and see!
At Tutorfair, we have a rich, vibrant community of English tutors who can help children and adults improve their creative writing or even get started. Many of us have worked in education and love to bring our experience and passion for English learning to our expert tuition sessions.
This post was written by Joe, a qualified teacher and professional tutor at Tutorfair.
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