Creating After Words
Once I knew I wanted to create a story that explored the feelings young people were experiencing during the COVID-19 Pandemic, I started to consider what to write about.
I knew I wanted my short story to represent something big – to give hope, encouragement and comfort to anyone who was scared or uncertain about what the future might hold.
I also knew I wanted to encourage my readers to think about storytelling, to think about writing their own stories and to think about the whole picture of humanity.
Young people write and read and experience stories in so many ways that they are not given credit for. Stories are not just about the written word. I wanted to create something that showed all the ways we can understand stories and also tell our own – games, music, photos, sayings, the list never ends – just like an infinity loop.
I planned out my approach to the story…
Then I wrote my first draft – it was rubbish (nearly all first drafts are).
For my second draft, I woke up – wide-awake, with the full idea in my head – on a warm, pre-dawn morning in late April 2020. I wrote the story out, long-hand, on big pieces of flipchart paper and so I ended up writing that draft during the time of day in which the actual story is set.
A couple of days later, I realised the text was looping on the paper, where I’d written them out in red pen – this gave me the idea of trying to display the text as an infinity loop and to make the story’s narrative loop round and round.
Since then, I have worked to refine the story, to create all the links and content, to publish everything as a website, to commission a cover and to get feedback from people, particularly readers aged 11-16.