In a newsletter I get from NaNoWriMo Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, asked - "Who encouraged your writing when you were a kid? For me, it was a teacher named Judy Barnes. Back in 1991, Mrs. Barnes read a story I wrote in front of the whole class, and I can still feel the glow from that moment today. Her single act of encouragement changed the course of my life."
I thought I'd post a bit about the people who encouraged me when I was a kid. All three are teachers actually, which goes to show a good teacher is never forgotten.
The first two were both teachers at my middle school (junior school), Mr Wheeler and Mr Hanrahan. Back in about 1990, in Mr Wheeler's class one term he set us the task of writing a 'novel'. We had the sort of exercise books with a lined page then a plain page, and we had to write a story during the term, with pictures, to fill the book. I write a story about my two pet cats, Smudge and Vicky, an evil ice queen who liked to eat cats and a helpful griffin. There were a few pages left at the end so I wrote a poem about the story to fill the gaps.
Mr Hanrahan happened to read the poem and said it would look good if I typed it up, so he got me some time on a computer (we only had about two in the whole school!) and I typed it in, then he suggested I should read it out in the 'good news assembly'.
Smudge and Vicky's Adventure was the first story I can remember writing, and the encouragement from the two teachers that it was a good story and that it was worth sharing was really exciting.
The third teacher was Miss D'Auban, who I've mentioned before. For the first creative writing project I did in her class, in about 1993, she gave me an A and then announced to the class that only one person got an A. She then went on to give me lots of useful bits of advice by asking lots of questions which made me think about what I was writing. I've always been grateful to her for all the advice and comments she gave me over the years.