Creative Writing Workshops

Jess is available for creative writing workshops. These range from year 2 through to year 8.

Her focus is on a practical approach to writing which is student centred and based around modelling. She teaches in chunks (or modules) to allow students to progress as their confidence grows.

Her teaching supports the Australian Curriculum in Narrative Writing and supplies practical tools that children can use to create narratives from the perspective of character and story.

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A few examples of modules on offer - Creating Characters, The Craft of Story, Being Specific, Creating Rich Imagery, the Role of Humour and Suspense, Finding Ideas and What to do with them, Endings Matter, Importance of Editing.

Jess is passionate about storytelling and encouraging kids to read and write creatively. She enjoys interacting with children and helping them to understand the creative process. She uses examples from her own craft of narrative to connect with kids about their own writing. She presents to kids from Kindergarten to Year 6 in a fun and exciting way.

Jess uses images, storytelling, activities, characterisation and improvisation to help kids create and share their own stories. Her talks leave children excited about the power of books and the joys of reading!

Jess is adaptable to a school’s needs and can tailor her presentation accordingly. She presents on a range of topics including narrative writing, the stages of narrative, digital storytelling, the creation of characters and setting, creating tension and suspense, use of humour, genre, her own writing process and the benefits of reading and writing for children.

If you would like to request Jess for a school booking, author talk or writing workshop then please contact The Children's Bookshop (NSW), Lamont Authors (VIC) and Speakers Ink.(QLD). 

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A few examples of previous workshops -

Talks
Jess shares her own experience with writing plays, television scripts and books for children. She uses stories from her own life as a director, producer, writer, teacher and mother who has always championed stories for children. She shares her own tips and advice for creativity and story structure and empowers children to tell their own stories.
 
Jess is available for creative writing workshops. These range from year 3 through to year 8.
 
Writing Effective Endings
A good story needs to be strong from the first line through to the final page. It’s all too easy to start strong with a great hook and an interesting set of characters, but then lose momentum along the way and stop short at the end. This workshop gives writers an understanding of various endings and how to choose the one with the most emotional impact.

Overcoming Story Problems
Writers solve problems using words instead of numbers. But what to do when you don't know how to move the story forward or you hit a wall? This workshop gives you techniques to overcome writers block and solve story problems.

The Magic Door
Fantasy writing is a genre that children are naturally drawn to. In this workshop children can explore their own portal into a magic world through the device of a magic door. They will work on the world, the setting, characters, magical creatures and devices and how to make it back to their own world!

 
Loud Macaws and Muddy Paws
Join Jess as she takes you on a rollicking journey to create stories about her favourite subject – animals! Discover how to inject humour, surprise, suspense and loving characters into your stories.

One Lost Bag
What would you do if you found a lost bag full of interesting objects and treasures? What clues could the contents tell you about the owner? Writers observe details about the world just like detectives. In this mystery writing workshop you’ll create characters, describe settings, plot an exciting story and start writing your own mystery. Who was the owner of the bag and what happened to them?

Get Smart
Behind every successful secret agent is a gadget genius. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to invent three tools which could save the life of a spy. We'll then write a story where your secret agent needs to use each one!

Do You Dare?
We'll be turning out the lights in this spooky workshop as we dare to scare. Learn tips for injecting tension and suspense in your scary story and we guarantee you'll feel the chills.

My Perfect Pet
Create the perfect pet. Just what is your perfect pet like? Do they have the head of a lion, the feet of a duck and the tail of a tiger? Can they run fast, are they cuddly, do they talk? In this fun writing workshop we’ll create a new type of animal species that perfectly matches your life and then we’ll write a story about them!

 

 
The Call to Adventure

Whether your hero is on the cricket pitch, fighting tigers in a jungle or a bully at school; their adventure begins by answering the call to adventure.  This workshop gives you the tools to create exciting and suspenseful stories filled with non stop page turning action.
 
From Foxes in Soxes to Bums going Psycho
Is it really all about poo, farts and snot? Why do kids laugh at Dad jokes? Join me for a look some of the best comedy writing for kids from Dr Seuss to Andy Griffiths. We will explore what works, why it works and how to apply it to your own writing. Learn how to write stories that will make you and your friends laugh!
 
The Importance of Planning
This two-hour workshop gives students the structure they need to plan their own stories prior to writing. Jess focuses on structure, character and plot to give students tools and confidence to work both within the structure of story planning and the creative freedom of the actual story writing.

What’s Your Superpower?
Imagine if you could fly or make yourself invisible? What if you could heal pain with a touch or read minds? In this fun workshop we’ll create our own superpower, work out how it was first discovered, the character’s weakness (think Kryptonite!) and whether or not to use the superpower for good or evil! We’ll create a character with this superpower and write a story about it. How does an extraordinary person fit into the ordinary world?

 Bags of Awesome
You just found out you have inherited a lolly factory! Time to start inventing new ideas for chocolates and sweets. Let your mind run wild and get a bit Willy Wonka with it! Will you make gob stoppers that glow or the world’s largest lollipop? We’ll write stories about the inventions and how they might go wrong!

Dear Diary – All About You
Writing a diary is a great way to reflect on your day, your holiday or even your year. In this journaling workshop, we’ll explore subjects which reveal your unique way of looking at the world. We’ll tap into your memories, favourite holidays, what you love doing most and even your most prized possessions!

Dogs with Jobs
The Tales of Mr Walker is a collection of stories about a canine concierge in a hotel. Dogs can work as detectives, in search and rescue, even in hotels! We’ll create stories involving our favourite pets having very important jobs to do!

From Zero to Hero
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and their journey to becoming a hero isn’t always an easy one. Transform your hero from being Cinders to wearing a glass slipper or from being a wimp to looking like the Rock. From which humble beginning will your hero start their rise to the top from? 

Creating a Picture Book with Shapes
This fun and messy workshop is all about creating a visual story. We’ll be using the picture book Triangle by Mac Barnett as our inspiration for creating characters from 2D shapes! Using collage, charcoal, crayon and coloured pencils, we’ll craft a story in a richly imagined world of shapes

As an author, parent and tutor who has been speaking in schools for over 10 years, Jess Black is passionate about teaching creative writing.  Jess has taught hundreds of writing workshops for kids and adults and knows how to make the process fun and engaging. Jess knows how to help students understand the balance between planning and writing, using character to drive story and helping tap into the imagination to come up with inventive plots. Jess helps students tap into their own lives and memories to create exciting stories that resonate.

Workshop for Adults

Writing for children means thinking about your own past, while staying in touch with young people of today.

Michael Rosen

As a writer for children this is the line you will walk – using your own memories of life but making them relevant to a new generation of children. It means staying open to the world around you, in touch with the child inside you while also having an idea of what sells and why.

An introduction to the market of children’s publishing, what publishers look for and the perennials kids love. This course will help you find the hook for your idea, pitch a story and write a synopsis. You’ll also learn about themes and language suited to different age groups and basic story structure used when writing for children. You will get a taste for the three-draft process, your character arc, as well as themes and language suitable for your chosen age group.