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Royal Holloway challenges sixth-formers to write a novel in a week

Posted on 18/06/2012

A group of students from Strode’s College will attempt to write a full-length novel in just five days this week during a special workshop run by Royal Holloway, University of London.

The group of nine sixth-formers will work collaboratively on the novel, which must be set in real time and draw on the events of the previous week. They have just one day to plan their story and establish a plot, two days to collectively write the novel and a day and a half to proofread and make any last minute alterations before it is sent to the printers to be published. The novel will also be available to download on Kindle on the Friday evening.  

The workshop – called Project TooManyCooks – is the brainchild of Computer Science research assistant Dr Joe Reddington. He explains: "This is about artefact-based learning - learning by co-operating and creating as a group and then being able to hold in your hands something that is special, that is yours, and that you are proud of making - and we hope that this workshop has put a structure into place that allows the students to do this."

Working with Dr Doug Cowie, Lecturer in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, they devised a workshop which would challenge the students’ writing abilities but also require team work. Dr Cowie says: “It gets the students working together and really develops their team skills. When they start writing the novel they will all work on different scenes, but they will each be in charge of individual characters. They will be responsible for checking what each of the other students have written about their character to ensure it fits in with the style of the novel and that the end result looks as if it has been written by one person.”

Students from Strode’s College, in Egham, were invited to enter a short story competition with the nine participants of Project TooManyCooks selected as winners and offered the chance to take part in the project. 

Dr Yvonne Skipper, a research assistant from the Department of Psychology, will be evaluating the students’ collaborative approach and team-work throughout the project.


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