“Dreams always make for really good writing ideas” said Stuti Agarwal,a children’s novel writer at Juggernaut’s writing workshop for kids aged between 8-12 years, on Saturday, June 15th.
The workshop began with a fun exercise introduced by the author. She asked the kids to draw their own faces and share their art with the others, as a fun ice-breaking session. After a short introduction, kids came to a unanimous decision that Geronimo Stilton and Harry Potter series were crowd favorites.
As a part of the first exercise, Stuti read an excerpt from her book The Adventures of Tootsie Lama and suggested that the kids write the end to that little episode. In the excerpt, Tootsie and her friend Tenzing venture to steal a bowl of thukpa, and make an elaborate plan to do so. The participants, then, came up with astounding ends with some of them pursuing morality while some pursued adventure. The characters were made to overcome obstacles and an hour-long battle between the kids and the cook. While some incorporated enthralling back-stabbing tragic break ups between Tenzing and Tootsie. Least to say, the kids know what’s up.
Stuti explained how she came up with the name for her character Tootsie.It’s a memory from her own childhood where some of her friends couldn’t pronounce her name correctly. Instead, they’d just call her Tootsie, which was their version of her name. She emphasized that getting writing ideas from real life experiences is fun for the author to write on and also lends an element of reality to the otherwise fantastical stories. This was taken into stead as the kids geared up for the next part of the workshop.
The participants were given characters, their names, and were asked to create fables out of these prompts. Working non-stop to compile their vast imagination and put it on paper, the kids came up with surprisingly insightful stories! UFOs, space travel, fighting bullies, inhabiting alien planets adorned the stories of these little masterminds!
One particular story, by a little girl, made everyone marvel at children’s capacity to understand and adapt to current scenarios. Morphing slavery to acts of rebellion and eventual freedom, her story compared humans with animals and further elaborated how politics, pollution, and differing class structures affect how they lead their lives. With emphasis on freedom of expression, her story stood out and made us realize how vast kids’ world actually is. Various facets of human lives were brought into focus with inclusion of themes like jealousy, friendship, betrayal, love and trust, rendering the audience speechless!
As the kids finished narrating their stories to a rapt audience of parents, the workshop was brought to a conclusion. Feedback from the audience helped increase the kids’ confidence. One final advice to the kids that came from the audience was to be avid listeners-“You never know what might catch you attention.” That certainly works for these kids!