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Open Right

Patrick Guest: The Making of the Second Sky – Workshop

Session Info:

A writing workshop which follows the creation of of Patrick’s CBCA shortlisted book The Making of the Second Sky.

This session follows the fascinating email trail between the author and the senior editor at Hardie Grant Egmont (the legendary Margrete Lamond)

The session opens with a short but incredible video clip, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, of ‘The flight of the barnacle goose chick’ to demonstrate the wonders of nature and the power of persistence (a central theme in ‘The Second Sky’)

Patrick then narrates the very first email regarding his new book – containing a very basic poem titled ‘The Second Sky’. Patrick’s first email mentions his hopeful desire to have the story narrated by Sir David Attenborough (like Gilbert the penguin, he’s  a bit of a dreamer).

What follows is a highly educational dialogue between an author and his editor, containing priceless advice about character and plot development.

As Patrick reads the emails, he pauses to interact with the audience and asks for solutions to the challenges set by the editor.

eg: how to create:

  • A specific character
  • A specific goal
  • An emotional journey

Patrick then screens a 3 minute video clip outlining the well-known story arc – The Hero’s Journey – followed by a confessional warning against following formulas.

After nearly two years of emails, Patrick shares his despair with this writing process. His attempts at turning his simple idea into a ‘Hollywood Blockbuster’ had lead to a bloated, clichéd manuscript.

At this point, Patrick shares the deeply personal reasons for writing this story (his son’s illness). Often ‘the cave in which we fear to tread’ is where our best stories are found. Students are encouraged to reflect on where this cave might be for them.

Patrick then describes the epiphany (during a hiking adventure with his son) that opened the creative floodgates and ultimately completed the book.

The session concludes with:

  • A heartfelt reading of the book, accompanied by a stirring soundtrack titled ‘The Arrival of the Birds’
  • A handwritten letter from Sir David Attenborough regarding the narration of the book (some dreams do come true!)
  • Plenty of time for student questions


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