Recently we said goodbye to the project's first placement Michael Wheatley, who helped us over the summer holidays on developing some new short stories for children, Michael joined us from Worcester University where he is studying a joint honours degree in English Literature and Creative and Professional Writing. Below he shares his thoughts on his time working with us.
Over the Summer, I decided to apply for a placement as a Creative Writing Intern for Malvern City Council in their Route to the Hills Project. As I’m currently studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Worcester, I thought this would be a good challenge to flex my still-developing writing muscles, whilst also being able to contribute to the wider area in which I grew up.
Having always enjoyed writing horror fiction, and stories with more adult themes, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself agreeing to not only write children’s stories, but also to read said stories live, to a group of children. However, I thought this would be equally as exciting as it would be challenging, and decided to throw myself headfirst into a new discipline, utilising my admittedly limited experience, and regretting not taking the ‘Writing for Children’ module in my second year of University all the while.
However, I soon found the pieces were developing, and having a younger target audience to be altogether more freeing. Whereas in my usual pieces, 1000 words would hardly have got my character from one end of the street to the other, in these pieces they had already zipped around the Malvern Hills in race cars or written an entire novel from their bedroom. And the prompts provided, building off of Malvern’s rich history, were both stimulating whilst allowing me the creative freedom to create a story which I still felt was mine. As for the live reading, it was incredibly fun, and it was a hard to describe feeling (a bad sentence for a writer) when I saw the enthusiasm of the young children and their engagement with pieces I had created.
Altogether, I found my time with the Route to the Hills project to be a fulfilling project; it challenged me to radically change my style of writing, and in doing so helped develop my skills and confidence in tackling new ideas, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys writing.
Please see below for copies of the three short stories Michael wrote;