State Library of Queensland

Today was day one, session one of my Heroes and Villains workshops, and there was definitely a villain at work to keep me on my toes.

The first workshop was scheduled to start at 10.00am, but the travel weary year 7’s didn’t actually walk through the door till after 10.20am.

“That’s okay,” I told myself. “You can cut 20 minutes off a 90 minute workshop – a bit less plotting time here – spend a few minutes less on character building (their fictional characters, not me, lol). That sorted, I relaxed.

Everything was going well until 11.10am when the fire alarm sounded and the fire warden burst in and demanded our immediate evacuation via four flights of stairs. We were allowed back in the building in time for the kids to collect their hats, stories, and lunches and hop on the bus for home.

Needless to say the Year 7s were a great group of young writers and they seemed genuinely disappointed that their workshop had been cut short. I was sorry too, and promised to email all the necessary materials to allow them to complete their stories.

The Superhero mask that now has a 'mouth' cut out of it:-)

To be fair, I had to accept responsibility for one of the day’s misadventures. It wasn’t due to chance that the hero selected from the eager group of year 7’s could only emit muffled grunts instead of following my carefully crafted script…that was my fault…I’d forgotten to cut a mouth in his superhero mask.

Workshop 2 went off without a hitch. The group of year 5s giggled at the sight of their colleagues performing hero and villain roles (the mouthless mask had been discarded) and enthusiastically set about building their own characters. The activity was based around some fabulous photos from the State Library of Queensland’s Heritage Collection, and some dastardly and debonair characters emerged from the pages.

I can’t think of anything more exciting than watching a group of young writers comparing notes on the characters and stories they have created. Then they moved onto plotting and creating some great conflicts and obstacles for their heroes to overcome.

Me, Patrick Ness and Judith Russell

All in all, an inspiring day; topped off by an evening visit to Queensland University to hear international author, Patrick Ness talk about his wonderful books and the way he writes.

Now I’m off to prepare for tomorrow’s workshops.

happy writing.




  1. Hi Dee – what a day! And you went and saw Patrick Ness. What a way to end it all. (The day, I mean) . The mask malfunction cracked me up. I had visions of Batman sounding like Bill and Ben. Still- sounds like it was a fabulous day. Keep enjoying!

    Lynn xxx

  2. Thanks Lorraine, I’m really enjoying the workshops. Kids are so amazing with what they create. I think my most memorable heroes and villains to date are a math’s book villain and a 150 year-old super granny who has super knitting powers and catches baddies in her super granny knitted nets:-)


  3. Dee White – writer extrordinair! (sp?) Thats what we need to call you.

    Late kids and a fire alarm and still not frazzled, no hair popping out of your head, no smoke out the ears…not even complaining about the incident – you are one amazing lady – you know that!

    Sounds like your adventures on this residency will fuel many stories to come.

    See ya soon. Happy writing.

    Bye 4 now

  4. Thanks Tina,

    You are very good for my self-esteem, lol.

    One of today’s groups arrived 20 minutes early…now I found that more challenging:-)

    Looking forward to catching up.


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