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Guest Feature: Kiara Valeska, Writing Workshop

Hi guys! :) Remember when I had a contest for kids & writing workshops? To refresh your memories, WHERE THE WRITE THINGS ARE gave away 5 slots. I already featured J’Nour Eliza, age 14, who won the August 30 slot – Surviving (and enjoying) writing for school: Book Reports, Essays, Reviews by Carla Pacis.

Carla Pacisis an award winning writer and a full time professor at De La Salle. Among her books are YA novels O.C.W., Owl Friends, Birdflight, Enrique El Negro and several children’s books. She is a founding president of Kuting, an organization of children’s writers meant to encourage and support the craft.  She enjoys making author visits to schools and running writing workshops for children.

This time, please allow me to feature Kiara Valeska, age 14, who won the Sept 27 slot – Where to get writing ideas by Candy Gourlay.

Candy Gourlay is a Filipino author based in the United Kingdom. Her debut novel Tall Story published by David Fickling won the National Children’s Book Award of the Philippines in 2012 and the Crystal Kite Award for Europe in 2011. It was shortlisted for 13 prizes and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, the British literary award for children’s literature. Her latest novel Shine is published by Random House. Both novels have Philippine editions with Cacho and Anvil Publishing. A former journalist in the Philippines, she was with the weekly opposition tabloid Mr & Ms Special Edition, which played a significant role in the overthrow of the 21 year regime of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos.





For those interested, Write Away! Weekends writing workshop is available every last Saturday of the month from1pm-5pm at 3,000.00 php/session. Classes are held at the Canadian American School (6F The City Club Alphaland Ayala Ave. cor Malugay St. Makati. 


For registration at WHERE THE WRITE THINGS ARE, contact 0917-6240196/ writethingsph@gmail.com. Facebook page– www.facebook.com/writethingsph


Where to get Writing Ideas by Kiara Valeska:

PHOTO CREDITS: Where the Write Things Are

I had a very wonderful experience at the Where The Write Things Are writing workshop. It is my first time to attend a writing workshop & I was completely awed by the school. It was a charming & homey place.




As I walked in, I felt uncomfortable and awkward because I didn’t know anyone. But as we started the workshop, I began to feel comfortable because I got to know my kind & friendly seat mates.

It was a very wonderful experience meeting author Ms. Candy Gourlay. She is very warm and down to earth, and very lively in teaching us.

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Candy Gourlay is a journalist writing about dictators in the Third World before she took up a full time position battling dictators of the nappy-clad variety. She inadvertently became a web designer while avoiding doing the dishes & takes procrastination to new levels by blogging, drawing and making YouTube videos for fun. Her debut novel TALL STORY has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for 13 awards. It won the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe and the National Children’s Book Award in the Philippines. Her second novel SHINE will be published in the UK in September 2013. www.candygourlay.com

At the start of the workshop we did a hat game. We were divided into two groups, and each time our group had our turn, one person would pick a paper from the hat and describe a book character, then the rest of us will be guessing the character. And although our group did not win, we got to know each other and we learned about new characters.

We did a lot of writing activities during the workshop & had so much fun.

Miss Candy taught us the Hero’s Journey, which is a pattern in doing a story. This pattern would greatly influence you when you write a story. I learned that a character must have a passion and a problem. I learned many things from this pattern.

After all the writing, we had a short break and got a very wonderful opportunity to have Miss Candy sign our books “Shine” and “Tall Story” which were written by her. After the book signing, we had a very special treat – a slice of scrumptious chocolate cake because we were also celebrating the birthday of Where The Write Things Are. Yes, it just turned 1 year old! We were happy to be a part of the anniversary celebration.




In the book SHINE, Rosa suffers from a rare condition that renders her mute. She lives on the strange island of Mirasol where the rain never seems to stop. In the gloom of the island, its superstitious population are haunted by all sorts of fears . . . they shun people who suffer from Rosa’s condition, believing them to be monsters. So Rosa must live hidden away in an isolated house with its back to the rest of the world, with only the internet for a social life. But Rosa has no desire to leave Mirasol. This is where her mother died and every night she lights a candle on the windowsill. The islanders believe this is the way to summon ghosts, and Rosa wants her mother back. One day she is befriended by a boy online who calls himself Ansel95 – and she quickly realizes that this is one friendship that can take place in the real world. Can she really trust him? What does he want from her? And then Mother turns up at the front door.



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TALL STORY. Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongs. Then Andi’s biggest wish comes true and she’s minutes away from becoming someone’s little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he’ll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he’s tall all right. Eight feet tall, in fact—plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.



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After that, we continued writing. We did a Hero’s Jam. It is an activity that is based on the Hero’s Journey. We had fun exchanging our papers and listening to each of our ideas as some of us volunteered to read their work in front.

After the workshop we had a chance to have a class photo with Miss Candy. Each of us were given certificates which were signed by Miss Candy herself. All in all, the workshop was fun and exciting. The place is nice and spacious. Ms. Neni Sta. Ana was also there. I learned new ideas in writing and I also made new friends. I was very happy because I had the opportunity to attend this workshop.



Thanks to Ms. Jane Go for this wonderful opportunity! <3
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