2018 Making the Story Starter

National Digital Learning Week is looking Braw!

Story Starter and Leading Character

It’s National Digital Learning Week. Are you taking part in the digital story telling activity?

We’re delighted to introduce you to our leading character for the story. Meet Braw. Designed by Rachael Tidmore, Communic18 Co-Design Leader, Year of Young People.

Story Starter

Loch Ness had become too dangerous.

As well as tourists and photographers, there was now a hunter who wanted to capture the whole Nessie family and lock them in a dungeon. So the youngest monster was on the run, with the codename Braw, hoping the young people of Scotland would help the family find somewhere new and safe to live.

One day, Braw was being chased along a foggy lane, when suddenly something grabbed Braw’s tail…

Instructions for schools for a local digital story telling activity :

Click here: Local Collaborative Story

Once upon a time, in our nation’s capital…

On Tuesday 1 May Children’s Writer Lari Don went to the Young Scot offices in Edinburgh to meet with young people across Scotland to develop a story starter.

Most of the young people were on Skype with a couple in the room. Lari was excited to use digital to facilitate this collaborative project which ties in nicely with what we will achieve with the story telling activities with schools across Scotland during National Digital Learning Week. For the Young People, collaborating digitally is a daily occurrence which meant we were able to develop and exciting and creative story starter.

Pictured is some of the young people involved in developing the story starter, Andrew Forbes from Young Scot and Lari Don.


Introducing Children’s Writer Lari Don

Lari is a children’s writer based in Scotland, and most of her fiction is inspired by the Scottish landscape and legends. She writes for all ages, from picture books, including The Secret of the Kelpie and The Big Bottom Hunt, to a teen thriller, MindBlind, and loves writing fantasy adventures for 8–12 year olds, including the Fabled Beast Chronicles and the Spellchasers trilogy. She also writes collections of myths and legends, including heroine tales in Girls Goddesses & Giants and Scottish tales in Breaking the Spell. Lari is passionate about sharing old stories, creating new ones, and inspiring young readers and writers.

You can follow Lari on Twitter @LariDonWriter or visit the website www.laridon.co.uk

Embracing a new story challenge! – by Lari Don

I’m really excited about this year’s National Digital Learning Week. So excited that I’m doing my own digital learning a couple of weeks early.

I’m about to create the beginning of a story in a way that I’ve never done before!

I will be working with the young people of the Commuicat18 team, who are co-ordinating activities for the Year of Young People, to create a short sharp compelling story starter for #NDLW18’s digital story challenge.

But I’ll be working with Communicat18 in a way that is totally new for me. We will be meeting – at least a dozen young people, ranging from primary pupils through to twenty-somethings, and one very slightly older author – in the digital realm. We will discuss, debate and draft a story starter while we are sitting at computers all over Scotland, working through Skype.

Ok, perhaps for some of you, that’s hardly cutting edge. However, I still start my books in blue ink on lined notebooks and I have to ask my own teenagers to help whenever my phone does anything surprising, so for me this is very new and a wee bit scary. I’m used to working with young readers and writers in a variety of spaces – libraries, classrooms, dinner halls, gym halls, bookshops, forests, castles, caves – but so far I’ve never worked with them on a computer screen, though Skype, with everyone in different locations. I know the Communicat18 team are used to it, but it’s a first for me, so this will be digital learning in action!

Despite my slight nervousness about the technology, I’m really looking forward to hearing everyone’s story suggestions, and to discovering how we work together to come up with a story starter. Then I’m really looking forward to watching that story spiral out into the world and seeing what schools all over Scotland do with it…

So apart from my ‘first time I’ve done this’ enthusiasm, what else will I be bringing to this democratic discussion about stories?

My experience of writing picture books means that I will suggest ways to bring together our ideas about the main character without clogging up the story starter with lots of description. My experience of writing adventure novels means that I will suggest that we add danger and problems, so the finished stories are exciting for readers as well as for the writers who will be imagining the main character’s next steps.

But I won’t be actually be writing the story starter. I hope that the young people of Communicat18 will write it. They will create the character, and a briefing for the young illustrator. They will come up with the setting and the dangers and the questions that the finished stories will answer.

And just like characters in adventures, we will have challenges to overcome: how to write the start of a story that will work for a wide age range – all the way from nursery kids to secondary pupils – without being too dark and scary for one, or too gentle and safe for the other; how to write a start that leaves lots of story possibilities open, so that young writers all over Scotland can use their amazing imaginations to create lots of different and unique stories.

For me, the big challenge will be working with a group of young people who are scattered all over Scotland, when we are connecting digitally rather than being in the same room. But I’m confident that the young people of Communicat18 will show me how to do it. The digital world is after all their world and their future…

Meet the Communic18 team

Year of Young People (YoYP) 2018 is an opportunity for generations to come together and celebrate our nation’s young people.

It’s a platform that gives them a stronger voice on issues which affect their lives, showcase their ideas and talents, and ultimately, aim to challenge status quo and create a more positive perception of them in society.

Young people are at the heart of YoYP 2018.  To ensure this is achieved, Young Scot created a co-design group, Communic18.

The group are working with organisations across all 32 local authorities, making sure young people are influencing the design, delivery and decision making for YoYP 2018. For this reason, we’re delighted that Communic18 is working with Education Scotland to develop and design our story starter and main character for National Digital Learning Week, giving Young People across Scotland a voice in the planning process.

Young Scot, Children in Scotland, the Scottish Youth Parliament are supporting the group.

Calum and Calvin from Communic18 talk about what it means for them:

Meet Communic18