Summer Reading Club

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Curiosity Killed (or Saved) the Cat

Posted on: December 10th, 2018 by Dr. Cameron Stelzer

Hi Summer Reading Clubbers,

I hope you’ve enjoyed your week. You have probably heard the saying, Curiosity killed the cat. But have you ever heard the saying Curious creatures make really cool stories? Probably not. I just made it up.

Curious creatures are often the best characters to have in a story. Why? Well, without curiosity, characters often stick to what is familiar, predictable and safe. And these three things don’t make for interesting stories. Curious characters like exploring, inventing and questioning. Which, in turn, leads to change, conflict and whole lot of trouble!

One of the books I have just finished writing is called Scallywags and the Stormy Secret. It is a whodunnit detective mystery (but with bumbling students instead of proper detectives). Without giving everything away, Flick (a cat) is in serious trouble and only her curious friends can save her. They follow a trail of not-so-obvious clues, confront suspects and generally create even more trouble for themselves! But hey, it makes for interesting reading.

Have you ever done any detective work?

On my eleventh birthday, I came home from school to discover that the back wheel of my BMX bike was missing. Curious? My first thought was that my parents were replacing the wheel and adding new brakes as a birthday present. No such luck – my present was a Lego technic set. Realising the wheel had been stolen, I set to work with my best friend to gather clues.

My house was next to my primary school, so the most likely suspect was a fellow student who knew about my bike. After searching the school grounds, we discovered the groundsman’s shed had been ransacked that day and guessed the thief must have struck at lunch time. It was Friday and, although we had a shortlist of potential suspects, we knew we couldn’t do anything until Monday when the students had returned. However, in a strange twist of fate, my best friend decided to go to the BMX track on Sunday. As he raced up and down the mounds, he spotted my stolen wheel attached to the back of our prime suspect’s bike.  The thief had been caught red handed! Case closed.

This kind of real-life mystery is great for inspiring stories. Maybe you have one of your own you’d like to share.

Here is this week’s tip for budding writers:

Dropping clues in your story is a great way to involve the reader. It gives them a chance to predict how a problem will be solved, what might happen next, and who a mysterious villain might be.  It also shows them that every line in your story is important and that they should pay attention!

This week’s Curious Creature Profile is, of course, a cat!

  • Curious Creature Profile: Felicity ‘Flick’ Foulweather
  • Animal: Black cat.
  • Future Pirate Crew: Cat Fish.
  • Strengths: Great artist. Her painting style is called Cat-astrophic Seasick Art.
  • Weaknesses: Suffers from Foul Weather Syndrome, a rare condition that makes her extremely grumpy on stormy days. Hates water. Can’t swim.
  • Likes: Seafood. She is a fishatarian. The fishatarian motto is: If it’s not from the sea, then it’s not for me!
  • Distinguishing features: Wears an artist’s beret. Carries a sketchbook. She is constantly catnapping.
  • Favourite saying: ‘Black is the new black – especially at night!’

You can draw Flick using the steps below.

Until next time, stay curious and keep reading!

Dr Cameron