My story, Elsie’s Eternal Eden, which was published in The Crazy Oik magazine (The Penniless Press, 2012) proved to be a good choice for vocabulary building activities in my recent Creative Writing workshop with 12-13 year old pupils. Unlike my usual scheduled Creative Writing workshops, I did a couple of recent sessions in their English classes, to tie in with what they’ve been studying as part of their curriculum. I chose to focus on the description of the otherworldly creature in my story, when it first appears to the protagonist, Elsie. The students drew a picture of how they imagined it as I read the paragraph, exploring words such as ‘hessian’ and ‘gnarled’… part of the reason why I found that teaching phonics to Japanese children (when I taught English in Japan) didn’t work well!

Creative Writing Workshop 3

Years ago, feedback for Elsie’s Eternal Eden was mixed. Some felt that the ending was too depressing. Some wanted the story to be more horror than magical realism. Of course, it is what it is, and published as I originally intended it. I was pleased that the majority of the students agreed, with only 3 voting that it should have been a horror.

Elsie's Eternal Eden activities

About this blog

Leilanie Stewart

Joseph Robert

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has written four novels, including award-winning ghost horror, The Blue Man, as well as three poetry collections. Her writing confronts the nature of self; her novels feature main characters on a dark psychological journey who have a crisis of identity and create a new sense of being. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing literary journal with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from publishing pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary lad, a voracious reader of sea monster books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

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