I brought in some crime flash fiction to St Gregory’s School where I work one day a week as writer in residence and the students loved reading, talking about, and writing their own very short crime stories. These were Year 8 and Year 9 students, aged 12 – 14, with a variety of different literacy abilities and backgrounds.
I used fictions from CrimeFest’s Flashbang Competition, in particular Search History by Iain Rowan, a crime story told through the perpetrator’s internet search history; Life Sentence by Tracey Walsh, a case of mistaken identity; Jez’s Promise by Stu Haven, a story of a car theft with a twist; Friends Reunited by Rebecca Stanley, a dark tale of revenge and Good Fluffy by Emma Bladen, a story of a cunning murderer and an even more cunning witness. We also read Danny Smith by Dave Zeltserman, the story of a young man who searches for his past with sinister consequences…
Students relished the opportunity to think up dastardly crimes and to tell their stories in an economical fashion. The brevity of the stories meant that we could read them aloud several times and talk about them before we started writing. Even students who are sometimes reluctant to read aloud and to write were keen to join in, perhaps because the length of the task was achievable for the time of the lesson (one hour). Students wanted to finish their stories in time and read them aloud to the group.
I was delighted that students seemed to enjoy being crime writers and I’ll definitely bring some more flash fictions in for another session.