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Thursday 28 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# a novel idea
Could you write a book? These 11 and 12-year-olds have
It’s for sale on Amazon and all the money will go to charity.

MANY PEOPLE DREAM of being authors, but one class of schoolchildren have proved that there’s no age limit when it comes to writing a novel.

Under the watchful eye of their teacher Caoimhe Ní Fhaoláin, fifth class students at Teresian School in Donnybrook, Dublin, have penned their own work of fiction, called The Catas-Trophy.

It’s a mystery about the theft of a prestigious basketball trophy from a school in London.

Starting off

Ní Fhaoláin said that the students were as young as 10 when they worked on the book.

She has written pieces with her students over the past few years, but soon wanted to set them a bigger challenge.

“This year’s group would have all submitted a story plan – the beginning, middle and end. They would have had the main characters, a physical description, character traits and a profile, and supplied pictures,” explained the teacher.

The story was chosen by silent voting in the class, and then work began on breaking the assignment down into different chapters, with one chapter assigned to each student.

There were 29 chapters altogether, and as many of the student’s ideas as possible were used in the process.

The students wrote the chapters and the class then a week later went through them all with a fine tooth comb, to find any mistakes or issues.

Everyone was highly alert for plot flaws. They were amazing at that – I couldn’t believe how much they spotted.

She said that that every chapter read-through the students were able to give praise, advice and recommendations. “It was a great lesson in diplomacy,” she added, “which is a great skill to learn at this age.”

They spent weeks polishing the book, and having silent votes on each aspect, before the editing process began.

“I’d say each girl probably edited six to seven chapters, looking for punctuation and grammar,” said Ní Fhaoláin, who did the final read-through before the book was published.

The cover illustration and title were also chosen by committee. It took two months to make the book. “They’re all so proud, said Ní Fhaoláin. “I’m incredibly proud of them, I think they’ve done a brilliant job.”

The students have decided to donate all the profits raised to charity. The book can be bought on Amazon and profits will go to the Irish Cancer Society

The process taught them about expanding their writing, teamwork, and being respectful of each other’s work, their teacher said.

“People think of writing a novel as something very daunting and that’s only for some people,” said Ní Fhaoláin. “But [the students] all think they’ve got a novel in them at this stage. They’re all so proud at what they’ve done.”

The Catas-Trophy is available on Amazon.

Read: Ireland’s youngest Mensa member (he’s 6) could read the newspaper before he started school>

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