Secondary Workshop – Research
This workshop shows the research process used to develop the biographical fiction
Black Jack Anderson
by Elaine Forrestal
published by Penguin Books Australia, Melbourne, 2008
Duration: 1 hour – introduction. Step by step discussion of research beginning with Fremantle Maritime Museum and leading to Middle Island.
Full day – Beginning with 1 hour workshop. Followed by individual research (1 hour approx.) Draft writing, editing, rewriting. Discussing presentation options.
Photographs of the significant sites visited during the research process will be shown on screen and discussed with students.
Questions and comments will be invited.
In pairs or groups, students then decide on an historical figure or event to write about (the event may be from the distant past or as recent as the disappearance of flight MH370 in 2015).
Students will make preliminary notes and do some draft work if time allows.
After the 1hour introductory workshop students will need some time (1 hour or more) to do their own research.
Discuss the need to focus on one character within an event.
Choose a narrator for your story. Is this the main character, or someone else telling that character’s story?
Once the setting and period in history has been chosen, read as much about that period/setting as possible – even if it doesn’t relate directly to your main character.
Re-reading and re-drafting is essential and will need to be done often because, with this sort of writing, the research is ongoing. Even when you think you have discovered all you need to know there will be times, as you write, when a detail such as a name, a date, a mannerism, a particular type of hair style or clothing, will need checking.
Referencing and the need to keep detailed records of your sources will be demonstrated.
Presentation of students’ work in a variety of media will be discussed.
Planning for future visits to actual sites will be encouraged.