The virtual story so far…
With tales of a poisonous dart frog, a land with no children and a skateboarding chicken nugget, volunteer writing mentor Adam Keeper updates us on the latest happenings from our virtual writing lab, The Story Engine.
When Ministry of Stories had to temporarily decamp from its secret location behind Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, the Chief broke the emergency seal on the filing cabinet marked ‘Research & Development’ and found an elegant solution for socially distanced writing – The Story Engine.
The Story Engine was originally piloted in 2015 by young writers aged 11-12 and designed to their exacting specifications. The site includes a writer’s notebook, seasoned tips for getting started or unstuck, and sage advice from the Inspirational Jellyfish. Despite its virtual setting, The Story Engine retains the Ministry’s innovative twist by providing live online mentoring sessions from its fantastic volunteer writing mentors.
The Story Engine’s virtual sessions have the familiar feel of sitting at a table in one of the Ministry’s writing labs, with mentors on hand to offer rolling feedback and provide rousing words of encouragement. The rapport between mentors and young writers helps build confidence in their creativity and inspires them to share their work with others.
As always with Ministry of Stories writing projects, young people’s imaginations remain at the heart of The Story Engine, and their young writers are continuing to be just as creative and prolific as ever, despite the current uncertainties in the world around them. As one of The Story Engine’s volunteer mentors, I’ve been dazzled by stories about a land with no children, the travelling essentials of a poisonous dart frog and a skateboarding chicken nugget.
After less than two weeks of operation, the Story Engine has 44 active writers, working on a breathtaking 73 pieces of writing, and the Chief has already rubber-stamped nine fantastic poems and stories for publication on the site. However, this is just the beginning. Ministry of Stories is due to open up The Story Engine to partner schools and organisations in Hackney and Brighton, to as far away as Sydney, Australia. So until we can physically meet again, rest assured that young writers can still find an outlet for their burgeoning imaginations.
Read more original stories published by our young writers on The Story Engine.
A huge thank you to Adam Keeper and all our volunteers who continue to virtually mentor our young writers and to all our funders and supporters for continuing to make writing spaces possible for our young people during this challenging time.