Summer Reading Club
space craft special edition 2017

‘Laura Sieveking’ Posts

Virtual Game On

Posted on: January 15th, 2018 by laura -

 

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all having a good week getting outside in the summer sunshine!

I was one of four kids growing up. There are three girls in my family and one boy. Funnily enough, I tended to play with my brother more than my sisters. We had a lot in common–handball, cricket, we both enjoyed rugby and we both loved gaming.

Back in those days, there were no Xboxes or anything like the modern Playstations.

We played a gaming unit called the Sega Megadrive.

 

 

Back then it was the coolest thing around. We particularly loved a game called Mortal Combat–a game where you chose your warrior and competed against each other in close range combat. Needless to say, I always won!

The great thing about online and computer gaming as a topic in books is that it can blend the real with the imaginary.

Characters can interact with the everyday elements of life, then be transported into a world of fantasy and magic.

I remember growing up I read a great series of books by Gillian Rubinstein called Space Demons.

Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein

It’s about a group of teens who find themselves trapped inside a video game. They must fight their way out of the game and ‘win’ in order to survive and return to their real lives.

It was a fast paced adventure that beautifully mixed a group of normal kids with a completely fantastical setting.

 

This gets me to thinking…
Have you read any books that are set in virtual reality?

Game Rules

Posted on: January 8th, 2018 by laura -

 

Hello, Summer readers!

Every game has rules. And if you don’t keep the rules, the game doesn’t work.

When writing a story, it’s important to know about your subject matter. This is one of the rules of writing. Because if you are writing a story and you haven’t done your research, then your story will be unbelievable.

This is particularly important if you are writing stories set in real-life times and places. So, if you are writing about a character who is magically whisked back into convict times in Australia, you need to find out as much as you can about that era to make your story believable.

With my sports books, this meant I had to do a lot of research to make sure my stories were believable – particularly to readers who play those sports every day. The gymnastics book was pretty easy to write, as I could write about my experiences in gymnastics as a child as well as from when I was a gymnastics coach.

But for equestrian, swimming and athletics, I had to do a little more research.

For the equestrian book, I had to spend time with horses, as I am not a horse-rider. I needed to know what kinds of sounds they made, what they felt like and how they behaved. I also spoke with a former employee of NSW Equestrian to talk through the rules and regulations of showjumping events.

For the swimming book, I spoke to a high school student who is a junior national champion. She was really helpful in making my race scenes believable. She also helped me gain an understanding of how they train at an elite level nowadays. She told me how they use underwater cameras to film their strokes, then they play them back on the laptop and analyze their form. I was able to use that little scene in my book!

 

Now it’s over to you.
Tell me about a story you’ve written that required research.

 


Cheats and Sabotage!

Posted on: December 31st, 2017 by laura -

 

Happy New Year Everyone!

Nobody likes a cheat in a game, right? But writing villains into a story is tremendous fun! Sometimes I think writing an evil character can be even more fun than forming your hero!

What makes a good villain in a story?

For me, I love a villain who doesn’t play by the rules. You know the author has created a fantastic villain when the reader wants to yell out ‘you can’t do that!’ as they are reading.

There are other types of villains too – you can have the more subtle villain who quietly undoes the good of the hero. It can be a mean girl at school or a three-headed monster. Or you can have the megalomaniac who is only happy when destroying the world! Either way, your villain needs a motivation. Why are they sabotaging your hero? What’s in it for them? Is it about power? Greed? Jealousy? Revenge? I’d say a lot of the time all of those characteristics motivate a villain in a story. But you can probably think of even more reasons as to why your villain is the most evil character around!

Some of my favourite villains include:

 

 

  • The Grand High Witch from The Witches by Roald Dahl – this monstrous character looks like an ordinary woman on the outside. But underneath her calm exterior, she’s a real monster! She hates children and uses really sinister ways of getting rid of them – like trapping them in paintings. Shudder!
  • Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – this devious man is as greedy as they come. His aim is to get his hands on the Bauldelaire children’s inheritance and he will stop at nothing to get it! He’s sinister and dark and really creepy.
  • Miss Trunchbull from Matilda by Roald Dahl – this principal used to strike fear into my heart! She’s a selfish, foul-tempered ogre who takes pleasure in terrorizing her school students. She does everything from locking them in a spiky cupboard to throwing them out the window!
  • The White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis – the scariest thing about this villain is the way in which she can appear kind. She tempts Edmund into her sleigh by feeding him candy and promising him he will be a prince. But underneath her warm exterior is a heart of ice. She brutally kills and turns creatures to stone and has a fiery temper. Plus she keeps the land of Narnia in a state of winter – always winter but never Christmas!
  • Voldemort from ­Harry Potter by J.K Rowling – well, I couldn’t leave out ‘he who shall not be named’. This villain is pure evil with no hint of mercy or love in him. He takes on various forms throughout the books and his ability to kill without flinching is chilling.
  • Ethel from The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy – the reason I like this villain is because she’s not an evil villain. She’s an ordinary girl whose jealousy causes her to bully Mildred Hubble. This is the kind of villain we meet every day – the subtle, teasing bully who is out to make our lives miserable!
Now it’s your turn.
Tell me, who is your favourite villain, and why?

Winners and Losers

Posted on: December 24th, 2017 by laura -

 

Hi Everybody!

Merry Christmas for those who are celebrating today!!

Every game has a winner and a loser. But does the hero in a story always have to win?

The answer is no! I don’t want to give away the endings of my stories, but I can tell you right now that the heroes of my books in the Royal Academy series do not always stand on the first place podium at the end.

This is important to remember when you are writing. If your hero always wins, then your stories will become really predictable. While the hero doesn’t have to win, he or she does have to go through some kind of personal growth or change in the book, otherwise it’s just boring.

Perhaps they don’t win but they do gain something else surprising. Perhaps they achieve their mission but it happens in an unexpected way. Or perhaps the villain triumphs at the end of the day, leaving your story open for a vengeful sequel!

Twists and turns in a story are what make it exciting. So don’t just write a straight-line plot where your hero sets out to do something and then achieves that goal in exactly the way they expected to do so. Mix it up a bit!

 

Can you think of some stories you’ve read where the hero either doesn’t win or wins in an unexpected way?

Find-a-Word Games

Posted on: December 18th, 2017 by laura -

 

Hi Everyone!

Today I want to chat to you about editing.

While I love writing, I’ve been an Editor far longer than I have been a professional writer. You all know what an Editor does, right?

An Editor is the person who goes through a book manuscript and looks for all the mistakes.

 

It might be spelling mistakes or grammar mistakes, but also mistakes in the plot or characters.

You’d be surprised how many times I would be editing a book and the author accidentally changed the main character’s eye colour midway through the story!

Editing sounds kind of boring–who wants to sit around doing spelling lists?! But actually, it’s quite fun! It’s like doing a Find-a-Word puzzle or a detective game–it’s the Editor’s job to seek out all the little, tiny errors that creep into a story.

So, I want to see if we have any top notch word detectives among us here. I’ve put an extract from one of my books below and it includes 8 mistakes.

The first person to correctly identify all 8 mistakes will get a prize! Game on!!

Can you find all the errors?

The summer passed in a blur. i remember my friends chattering about starting High School. I felt left out. they were all going to the same school and her I was trekking across the city to get to my new school. But not even that culd dampen my excitment. In just six weaks, I wuld be at the Royal Academy of Sport for Girls

From: The Royal Academy of Sport for Girls: High Flyers


Roll up! Roll up!

Posted on: December 11th, 2017 by laura -

 

Hi fellow SRC Club Members!

I hope you’ve had a good week.

When I was about 12 we went on a holiday to Malaysia. We stayed in a resort that had its own little circus which performed for the guests. Being a gymnast, the staff were keen to use me in their shows–so I got to soar through the air on the flying trapeze and walk on my hands in a clown suit. It was so much fun!

This gave me a bit of an obsession with the circus. When I was sitting my Year 12 exams, I learned to juggle pretty well. I learned a whole set of tricks when juggling three balls and I used it as a way to relax and take my mind of studying in between exams!

Whenever a circus was in town, I’d always want to go. I loved the amazing feats of the performers–I can tell you they are some of the strongest, fittest, most coordinated sports people around.

There’s something so magical about the circus. It’s not like watching other sports where amazing physical acts of strength and flexibility are on display. There’s so much more. The Big Top is a place with a hint of magic in the air – it’s like anything can happen at any moment.

That’s why I love books with a circus setting. Here are some books written with circus or magician themes.

 


Ned’s Circus of Marvels
by Justin Fisher

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

The Sequin Star by Belinda Murrell

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

The Mysterious World of Consentino by Consentino and Jack Heath

The Red King by Victor Kelleher (this is an older novel but I LOVED this book)

 

 

 

Have you had a magical experience with the circus?

Inspiration is All Around You

Posted on: December 4th, 2017 by laura -

 

Hi Everyone and welcome to the Summer Reading Club! I’m so excited to be going on this journey with you all.

As some of you know, I’m an author and have recently published a series called The Royal Academy of Sport for Girls. It’s about an elite sports school where the students get to do their favourite sports all day, even during school hours! There’s everything from swimming to equestrian; gymnastics to soccer – you name it!

Writing this series wasn’t too hard for me, as it combines a number of things that I really love. The most important element is …. SPORT! I was a keen gymnast growing up (I was always upside-down or up a tree) and also played a lot of cricket, tennis and some hockey. And when I wasn’t on the field or in the gym, I was often watching cricket matches in the summer of following the Rugby World Cup around the globe (I’ve been to three Rugby World Cups!)

 

The Royal Academy of Sport for Girls

 

So, for me, using my experiences has been a really big part of writing. There’s inspiration for your writing all around you – at school, home, in your garden, on the sports field, in the supermarket – everywhere you look there could be a story lurking, waiting to be told.

Me as a teenager – always upside-down!

A lot of the elements in my writing are based on real people or real events (especially in the gymnastics books). In fact, there are a few episodes where the kids get up to some pretty naughty mischief that may or may not be based on real life (ahem, we won’t mention the cookie stealing episode in book 1). So use your experiences to fuel your writing. Remember how you felt in a situation and use it in your story.

So that’s me.

Now tell me, where do you find inspiration for your writing?

Take your marks and get set to meet Laura Sieveking

Posted on: November 9th, 2017 by SRC Team -

 

Laura Sieveking

Author, Laura Sieveking loves all things sports. She was a keen gymnast in her childhood and also loves cricket and rugby union (and boasts attending 3 Rugby World Cups!). Her series The Royal Academy of Sport for Girls examines life in an elite sports academy which caters for all sports from soccer to swimming to equestrian.

Join Laura this summer from Monday 4th December as we look at all types for sports and games in various books.

Check in each week as there are to be prizes to be won. And we’ll even take a trip to the circus!

So take your marks, get set … GO!


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