I went to visit Tor Bridge High in Plymouth back in November last year, on a day organised by their fantastic librarian, Mrs Bowles. My visit was to launch their Winter Writing Competition, so I worked with different year groups - 7, 8, 9, and 10 - on creative writing that sends shivers down your spine.
The students had good fun and produced some great pieces of writing. Some were horribly creepy, and some downright yucky (in a good way). But the best bit for me was the huge wave of enthusiasm for creative writing in general - and especially for the competition.
The theme for the competition was a picture of Wistman's Wood on Dartmoor - the weird and haunting wood that inspired The Skull in the Wood (though in the book, I call it Old Scratch Wood - Old Scratch being another name for the Devil.)
I've been reading through the anthology produced by Tor Bridge High and am blown away by how good the work is. There are far too many excellent pieces of writing to feature here, so I've just picked some of my favourite bits from among the students who attended the workshops.
I think this is an astonishing piece of writing, Amber - no wonder it was one of the winners. Not only does it create a truly strange atmosphere, but it has a lovely rhythm too.
This has real pace, Lewis - it's a very impressive way to tell a story. I love the fact that you use strong, simple sentences - they really work.
A great way to start a story! It's utterly intriguing and makes me want to read on and on.
What brilliant detail, Cameron! That bit about the S and the W is really well judged - I can just see it. And I always enjoy a good skull in a story!
And to all the other terrific writers I couldn't squeeze in here - congratulations - and keep on writing!