“Have you ever noticed when you daydream, all the muscles in your face relax?
“Some mornings, when I’ve been at my desk having a good, productive, daydreaming session – if the phone rings or someone knocks on the door and it suddenly brings me back to reality – I can tell how good my daydream has been by whether in front of me on the desk is a little puddle of dribble.
“Now I know this is not what you expect to hear from a glamorous, successful international author, but I am here to tell you the truth about writing stories.”
Discovery, humor and questions ruled when Australian children’s author Morris Gleitzman shared his secret to beginning a story easily with students in Years 3 to 6 at St Therese Catholic Primary Mascot.
The self-confessed ‘expert daydreamer’ told students about the importance of imagination and asked questions to help his young audience discover the motivating force behind great storytelling – characters with problems.
Students were invited to ask questions of the author too, during Gleitzman’s visit to the school on 11 August to celebrate Book Week.
The Children’s Book Council of Australia made ‘Escape to Everywhere’ the annual event’s 2017 theme. But Gleitzman said he rarely had to venture anywhere for inspiration thanks to a high-powered imagination and interest in reading.
“I’m very lucky,” he said. “I don’t have to go out into the world to find characters. They come to find me.
“When you want to start putting some of these adventures in your imagination into stories it can be a frustrating experience.
“You have a head full of brilliant ideas for a wonderful story, you’re ready to go and write the first sentence of your wonderful new story – except you don’t because you can’t think of one.”
Anything is possible with imagination.
Students were encouraged to discover the secret behind dealing with writers block by answering a series of questions and by listening to examples in Gleitzman’s own work. These included Limpy, a cane toad with a slightly shorter leg who hops right into danger the faster he tries to hop away because of his impaired leg.
“The magic word is problem,” he said. “Because if somebody tried to write a story with absolutely no problems in it, it would be totally and utterly boring.
“Anything is possible with imagination.”
Book Week is on 19 to 26 August.
The 2017 Book Week theme is ‘Escape to everywhere’. Here St Therese Catholic Primary Mascot students share their favourite books to escape with, and why.
Charli Reisenleiter, 8: Are we there yet? by Alison Lester
“It has good characters and takes you to different places, like Uluru.”
Angelina Balomenos, 10: Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
“Because it’s magical.”
Julian Sommer, 11: Doubting Thomas by Morris Gleitzman
“It’s about a boy with a rare disease – he can tell when people are telling lies. It’s interesting and pretty funny. It isn’t like any other book I’ve read.”
George Hetzipourganis, 11: Once by Morris Gleitzman
“It’s really interesting and surprises me. It’s like a mystery book – you don’t know what is going to happen in the next chapter.”