|The first comic diary I read was this comic|
made by Sarah McIntyre, illustrating
a diary she kept when she was a teen.
Here'sSarah's blog post on where she got the idea.
That has got to be the most frequently asked question I've encountered in school visits. The children also tell me (though in politer words): 'You're OLD. You've already had a lot of experiences. We're YOUNG. What experiences do we have to write about?'
The answer? A lot. But you've got to pay attention. And keeping a diary is one way of learning how.
Last summer, I ran a three day workshop for South Friern Library in Barnet. I asked the kids to keep a little diary during those three days.
I made the diaries myself, folding sheets of A5 paper in half and stapling them together into a little booklet which I handed out at the very beginning of the course.
I got the idea from the graphic novel course I attended last winter, run by comic maker Emily Haworth Booth.
When Emily asked us to keep a comics diary, I was a bit worried.
I mean, I'd been starting and abandoning diaries since I was a teenager. I just didn't think I could keep at it. Writing was already my day job and writing some more didn't seem like fun.
But keeping a diary in comics was different. I couldn't stop! I filled my drawing book in no time. Changing the medium somehow freed me to express myself.
|A frame from one of my comic diary entries in which my daughter begs for a pet dog.|
So when I asked the kids to keep their own diaries, the rule was: do whatever you like, as often or as little as you like. Draw, write essays, write poetry, write captions, paste pictures, whatever.
Writing is not just about writing. It's about paying attention to the world around you. Noticing things. Trying to see things through other peoples' eyes. Digging under the surface. Thinking. Asking questions.
DIARY KEEPING TIPS
1. Write as little or as much you like. But try to write regularly. Turn diary keeping into a habit.
2. Diaries are not all words. If, like me, you like drawing, then draw! I keep comics diaries! Experiment to find the best way to put your thoughts down.
3. You might find it easier to write to somebody, which is why so many write ‘Dear Diary’ – in The Color Purple by Alice Walker, the heroine keeps a diary in which she writes to ‘Dear God’.
4. Diaries are not just about keeping a record. Ask questions. Someday when you re-read your diary, you might find you know the answers.
5. You can also print out a photo you took during the day and caption it. If you're posting photos on social media, you might already be keeping a sort of diary!
6. Make lists. Check out the opening chapter of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend below.
7. Have fun!
All these will feed into the writer you are going to become.
|Ask questions, maybe someday you'll know the answer. From My Diary by Sarah McIntyre|
The diary exercise was new to me. I hadn't tried it before. This time though I was going to see the same group of children for three whole days. Guess what? They loved it!
Right now, I'm getting ready for a school tour in and around Manila. I'm doing a few school visits in Hong Kong too. If I'm visiting YOUR school, you might want to have a go at keeping a diary ... I'd love to see what you do with it! For inspiration, have a look at these pages from the diaries of the children at my South Friern workshop:
Click on the images to enlarge
If you're a teacher or librarian and would like to get your kids to make diaries, do get in touch (scroll down to the contact form) and I'll send you a pdf of my Dear Diary Flyer.
I'M GOING HOME TO MANILA TO LAUNCH SHINE, PHILIPPINE EDITION ...
... AND I'M GOING TO BE SPEAKING IN A LOT OF PLACES!
|13 Sept |
|SCBWI Hong Kong||Part One - A Writer is Just a Rabbit Staring at Rabbit Holes. Writers are like rabbits staring at rabbit holes that represent character, story and setting. We must dive in, go as far as we can go, in order for our stories to reveal themselves. Candy will talk about how there are no half measures in unfolding a story and how we are all better authors for the journey we have to take. |
Part Two - If Everyone's Now Got a Platform, How are You Going to Stand Out? We are all wise to the internet now, all tweeting, blogging, Facebooking. But is anybody listening? Candy Gourlay was an early adopter of the Internet, blogging before Blogger was invented, learning web design before content management systems became ubiquitous, and trying out every new thing that came along from MySpace to Tumblr. She will be discussing the author's biggest challenge: being discovered by readers. There will be tips and tricks and strategies. But be warned. Ultimately, it will be about writing a good book.
|15 Sept |
|Bradbury School||School Visit|
|15 Sept |
|Glenealy School||School Visit|
|16 Sept |
|Peak School||School Visit|
|20 Sept |
|Manila International Book Fair - |
Mall of Asia: Meeting Room 8, SMX Convention Centre
|Why I Write for Young Readers. I will be speaking to an audience of educators - librarians and teachers who are already at the frontline of the reading battle. They already know the value of fostering a love of reading in their students. I will argue that that is not enough. Our educators must not only seek to create readers, they must also empower their pupils to become writers.|
|22 Sept |
|The Beacon Academy||School visit|
|22 Sept |
|Xavier Nuvali||School visit|
|22 Sep |
|Alpha Angelicum Academy||School Visit|
|23 Sept |
|23 Sept |
|Ateneo de Manila||School Visit|
|24 Sept |
|The Beacon Academy||School Visit|
|25 Sept |
|Colegio de San Agustin||School Visit|
|25 Sept |
|University of the East||Lecture|
|26 Sept |
|Miriam College||School Visit|
|26 Sept |
|St Theresa's College||School Visit - my alma mater!|
|27 Sept |
9.30 am to 1.30 pm
|Write Away Event (Where the Write Things Are, )||Workshop|
|27 Sept |
|National Book Store, Glorietta I||SHINE BOOK LAUNCH and signing. Yehey!|
|1 October |
|Ambulong Elementary School and Janopol Elementary School||I will be fulfilling pledges I made to the Authors for the Philippines auction, delivering signed copies of my books, one CD set of Tall Story, and a school visit care of the Sambat Trust. I will also be opening one of the Sambat Trust's school libraries!|
... and now some brazen promotion for my favourite charity:
|Your old car can pay for someone's education.|