Creative form and technique

1st March 1996 at 00:00
ORIGINAL WRITING: STRUCTURED ACTIVITIES FOR A LEVEL AND BEYOND. A4 folder of 130 photocopiable sheets. By Alison Ross. Pounds 42.50. Framework Press, Parkfield Greaves Road, Lancaster LA1 4TZ

This photocopiable pack is written by a person of wide experience and excellent credentials - an A-level teacher and examiner, professional storyteller and stand-up comedian (semi-finalist 1994 Radio 4 Open Mic Award).

It is intended for students following A-level English Language and Access courses, but has currency beyond both. There are eight units: after the approach outline come autobiography, biography, rhetoric, writing to inform, radio feature, comedy and storytelling.

Each unit follows a common pattern: exercises for creativity, examination of technique in models, a group exercise and an individual task.

This bald summary suggests something elusive has been fixed wriggling on a pin. Far from it. Being a creative writing tutor is hard and specialised work. Here, an artist and communicator has thought deeply on practice and presented it fruitfully.

Good teaching principles are employed which you don't have to be a writer or performer to recognise: structured discussion, group work, individual writing. The whole is informed by the understanding that creativity in writing must be a disciplined process to be anything: that no story, feature or comedy will work without its own internal logic.

This publication is worth keeping in any school or college English department - and not just for those relatively few doing A-level language.

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