Pet stories children’s writing course launches with award-winning author

Helen Haraldsen lanuches children's pet stories writing course

An award-winning children’s author is launching a six-week, animal-focused online writing course for young people.

Pet Time Stories, led by Helen Haraldsen, is aimed at young people aged aged 10 – 15 who have an interest in animals. It runs from 20 April to 25 May 2022.

“I’m known for writing animal stories featuring my own pets and ponies and I love working with young writers to help them write stories about their favourite pet or animal,” said Helen, an English teacher at Keswick School, Cumbria, and a former school librarian.

“I’ll show participants how I plan so that I never get stuck once I begin writing”

Helen’s first novel, Little Pearl, was published in 2019. Since, she has made a name for herself with her two series, Amber’s Pony Tales, based on her own childhood ponies and experience of equestrian sport through the UK Pony Club, and Daley’s Dog Tales, based on her dogs, Lucy, Petra and Bella.

“Novice writers face two main problems,” Helen explained. “Not knowing how to start and not completing.  I’ll show participants how I plan so that I never get stuck once I begin writing. I share the things I’ve learned with every book I’ve written.

“Pet ownership increased dramatically during the pandemic. Some young people may have a pet in the household for the first time, experiencing all the joys and adventures that can bring.

“On the Pet Time Stories course participants will learn how to find a sustainable story idea, create a structured, well-developed plan, start off the story, create impact and pace, understand the time frame and where supporting characters fit in.”

The modules will be delivered through Zoom – one a week – each Wednesday, with an online group to buddy up and support each other, with weekly short writing tasks included. Participants under the age of 13 will need to take part through a parent’s account and with parental supervision.

“She had an idea and felt that if she stopped or moved it would ‘fall out of her head’!”

One mother of a participant of a previous Helen Haraldsen writing challenge said, “My daughter has struggled with school attendance and doesn’t engage well with online learning. But last night before bedtime, she asked if she could finish what she was writing as she had an idea and felt that if she stopped or moved it would ‘fall out of her head’!”

Helen added, “This course will help increase young people’s writing confidence and skill. By the end they will have a story they can’t wait to keep working on and they will know exactly where it’s going.  They’ll meet others they can keep in touch with beyond the course.”

Images by Helen Haraldsen


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