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This week S and T Form welcomed author, Abi Elphinstone, to their virtual classroom. Abi is the writer of Skysong, the Dreamsnatcher trilogy and the Unmapped Chronicles. She grew up in Scotland where her childhood dream was to be a unicorn! She learnt a love of the landscape and wove these experiences and even objects, such as her trusty hazel catapult, into her fantastic, face paced adventure stories, each infused with a little bit of magic. Whilst researching for her stories, Abi has travelled widely, including Mongolia, the Arctic and regular summer trips to Norway.

Abi gave our pupils some fantastic advice for writing great stories, saying that the key was coming up with an original idea and using experiences from adventures near and far as well as accidental daydreams. Indoor spaces can be places of inspiration too and Abi told us that one of her book characters was named after a brand of shower gel that she found in a shop.

Abi recommended finding somewhere for our budding authors to store their ideas, saying an eggbox was ideal. She also spoke about the importance of those of us who might have less obvious talents, such as kindness, courage, and perseverance; It took 7 years, 3 failed books and 96 rejections before Abi’s first book was published!

We were given four top tips to help write our stories including drawing a map, which helps plot direction; adding an imaginative and magical twist to any transport; looking at ordinary objects and thinking about giving them a magical tweak and including a message in your story.  

We asked our S and T Forms staff for their Abi Elphinstone book recommendations:

Miss Craig recommends ‘Rumblestar,’ the first of The Unmapped Chronicles series, because it is a magical world to escape to, you meet some amazing fantastical beasts, and the characters have the most wonderful adventures.

Mr Bywater recommends ‘Skysong’, a thrilling adventure wrapped up in magic and mystery that delves into family, friendships, relationships with the living world and good against evil.

Miss Stanley recommends ‘Jungle Drop’, a wonderfully imaginative story with a beautifully created world, that two, at first annoying but eventually charming, characters adventure in.
There is so much description and imagination in the story that it is a joy to read, and you cannot help but find yourself loving all of the made-up creatures and characters, such as Heckle. Heckle is a great animal sidekick and I love the way he voices everyone’s thoughts and feelings. It’s hilarious!
The story ends with a lovely message of kindness and love.

Mr Young recommends ‘The Dreamsnatcher’, full of mystery and magic, the characters come to life as the story unfurls, and you never know quite what will happen next! I particularly enjoyed the focus on folklore.