The leader of South Shields’ Cuckoo Young Writers group talks about an exciting new multimedia project he is working on at The Word…

The Word, where we run our South Shields Cuckoo Group, is a fantastic new library, exhibition space and creative hub. I’ve been chatting with the teenagers who visit The Word, and we’ve come up with a unique multimedia project — Choose Your Own Ending — that shows off some of the facilities The Word has to offer.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be running FREE workshops for young writers and creatives (aged 13-19 years), helping them to make a short visual novel set at The Word.

For those who don’t know, a visual novel is like an online Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy book. The reader controls the main character, and makes a bunch of choices that affect how the story ends. If you’ve played Phoenix Wright, The Stanley Parable or any Telltale Games, you’ll have a good idea how these things work.

In the story we’ll be creating, the reader will play a teenager visiting The Word and getting into some sort of terrible trouble. What sort of trouble? And how terrible? That’s up to you.

We’ll be running Choose Your Own Ending workshops throughout April and May, looking at all the different things that go into making a visual novel. We’ll learn about writing interactive fiction, and how to use Twine (an open source writing programme, which you can download from twinery.org). We’ll also be working with a photographer and an audio producer, to create the visuals and sound effects for the story.

If you’d like to get involved, our first two sessions are on Saturday 15 and 22 April, during the Easter holidays. These workshops are in the Catherine Cookson Room at The Word. The sessions will run from 11am until 1pm, and all you’ll need is a pen and paper. After the Easter holidays, we’ll also be running sessions on weekday evenings, in addition to the Saturday workshops.

You can find out more by emailing me at james@jameswhitman.co.uk or by sending a tweet to @TheJamesWhitman.

New Writing North runs writing groups for 12-19 year olds in Newcastle, Sunderland, Amble/Warkworth, Cramlington, South Shields and Durham. The groups are small and friendly and are led by professional writers. They meet every Saturday in term-time and are free to attend. Click here to find out how to join a Cuckoo Young Writers group.