Award-winning author Gillian Cross’s unforgettable Demon Headmaster series is being launched as a brand-new television series on CBBC. To celebrate, we’ve caught up with Gillian and asked her: where did you get the idea for the Demon Headmaster?
Where did I get the idea for the Demon Headmaster?
The idea came from one of my daughters.
“Why don’t you write a book about a wicked headmaster?” she said.
“Maybe,” I said. “One day.” (Which is what parents say when they mean no. I like to invent my own stories.)
My daughter didn’t give up. She kept reminding me about the idea. Then one day an editor phoned, to ask if I had any ideas for new books.
“How about a wicked headmaster story?” I said – without thinking.
“Great!” said the editor. “I need it by the end of July.” And he rang off.
“Oh dear!” I thought. “Now I’ll have to write that wicked headmaster book.” (Which is NOT how you ought to feel when you start a book.)
I sat down with a new pad of paper, which is how I like to begin, picked up my pen – and suddenly thought: But how can a headmaster be wicked? Why wouldn’t all the children go home and tell their parents???
Disaster! I’d promised to write an impossible book. There was no way to make the story work – unless the headmaster could send the children home at the end of the day saying, “I think the headmaster is a marvellous man, and this is the best school I’ve ever been to.”
Unless he could…
That was when I thought of hypnotism. I could write about a headmaster who hypnotised the whole school!
My brain went into overdrive as I imagined it. No more nagging about not running along the corridors. No more reminders about tidy handwriting. Everything in the Headmaster’s school would be perfect. I picked up my pen.
I can have such fun with this story! I thought. (Which is EXACTLY how you ought to feel when you start a book!)
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Also from Gillian Cross
More from Oxford Owl
- Web page: Encouraging creative writing activity sheets
- Web page: BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words short story competition
- Blog post: 4 tips to inspire children’s creative writing
- Blog post: 4 fun ways to develop characters for a short story
- Blog post: How to find the perfect words for your story
Please note: all book links lead to more information on Amazon.co.uk
From how to overcome writer’s block to what words to use to best effect, How to Write your Best Story Ever! is designed to help all children unlock their story ideas and write their own best ever stories.
Packed with entertaining illustrations that will inspire your child, this book is filled with tips on how to write in particular genres, create exciting characters, and write powerful sentences using metaphors, similes, and idioms.
This book will help children learn to craft brilliant stories, create believable characters, write powerful endings and much more. Packed with practical tips and insider advice from published authors, this guide opens up the secrets of how to write well and guides young writers all the way through from beating the fear of the blank page and learning to edit their work, to how to get other people reading their stories.
A must-have notebook to unlock the imagination and inspire children to start writing. Full of great hints and tips, and activity pages for jotting down words, sketching characters, and writing in stories. A perfect companion to How To Write Your Best Story Ever!
When Lizzie’s school gets a new head teacher everything seems great. The pupils are encouraged to do the things they really love, experts are brought in to inspire them; there’s even a competition to win an adventure trip of a lifetime. Lizzie and her friends can’t believe their luck!
But then Lizzie hears a voice. A voice strange but familiar. A voice that says, ‘I will obey all your instructions.’ And that’s when things start to get dangerous…
Octopus Dare is the new computer game. Everyone at school is playing it, but are they becoming a bit too obsessed? The game is addictive – or should that be hypnotic?
Could this have something to do with the Demon Headmaster… and his daring new target?
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