A couple of years ago I launched a Creative Writing Group with one of the English teachers. My partner in crime was forced to withdraw soon after, but my creative writers and I soldiered on, until exams claimed the majority of their attention. The club dropped its focus on writing and became the Stuff’n’Things Club, mainly for 1st year pupils, able to turn its attention to whatever activities or competitions I found at the time.
Start of the new term, and the majority of the creative writers dropped into the library for a blether. I asked them if they fancied resurrecting the group, and if so, what did they want to do?
The reply was immediate:
Can we try writing that game we always talked about?
The game in question is a role-playing game, written with RPG Maker software which I saw at the Scottish Learning Festival in Autumn 2011. We were all full of enthusiasm for the idea and spent several weeks building characters and stories and landscapes, but actually purchasing the software proved problematic.
Never managing to finish anything was a mark of the Creative Writing Group. We are expert footerers, which is great for storytelling and playing about with things and brainstorming, but doesn’t get anything accomplished. So at the first meeting of the group after school tonight, we agreed that we had to focus on creating and completing a game. To assist us, we’re writing an incredibly small game first. Not just small, but tiny … minute … miniscule … infinitesimal. But since you can’t just sit down and create a game without a lot of prior thinking and planning, no matter how small, the group were given a task: a challenge to find a lost treasure.
There are a collection of artefacts sitting at the back of the library from the now closed Education Resource Service. The pupils’ task was to have a dig and choose something that appealed to them. This became their lost treasure; now they had to design its rediscovery. They could have a small back story if they wished, but the focus had to be on where and how the treasure was found.
I haven’t seen such enthusiasm in a long, long time.
They pounced on the boxes, asking what things were, exclaiming with delight over Aboriginal carvings, medieval coins and Indonesian pots, and I’m fairly sure the noise of the didgeridoo must have made some impression on the meeting in the next room.
This year, these pupils will be sitting Highers. Hopefully, this group will allow them a little relaxation time, and room to really stretch their creativity.