2nd level: Literacy

Once Upon a Time in Zombieville



Two short stories about real-life issues

Stargazing: Stars and Constellations

Two boys make friends when they meet at primary school. But when they both choose the same subject for their science project, their friendship is tested. A Long Way From Home was written by Gill Arbuthnott and read by Nicholas Ralph.

Ben and his mum take a night-time walk to see the stars. While out stargazing, Ben's mum uses the stars and constellations to help him understand how his dad is feeling. This story explores mental health and well-being themes. Black Holes and Hot Chocolate was written by Emily Dodd and read by Angela Darcy and Terence Rae.

Hex Factor and Fairies Be Gone

Hex Factor and Fairies Be Gone are original stories, springing from characters to be found in Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Lucy Goldie tells Barry Hutchison’s story of what the three witches did after Macbeth left the stage.

In Fairies Be Gone, a magical tale based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lari Don tells how the play’s “lovely boy, stolen from an Indian king” spends his first days at school. Rajkumar’s story is told by Manjot Sumal.

Ariel’s Story and Two Face

Ariel’s Story and Two Face spring from characters found in The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet.

Rachel McCrum writes and performs her own work, giving the story of Ariel an all too contemporary twist.

Two Face, Gillian Philip’s sweet story of friendship and first love is performed by Nicola Roy.

How to make good stories great

Screenwriter Sergio Casci compiles a set of top tips to help you polish your story and make it even stronger. These include taking time to choose exactly the right words for what you're trying to say, or maybe even inventing new ones. He discusses adding fun and humour to stories, whatever the subject matter.

And he recommends making good use of an everyday object, technically known as the "refuse collection receptacle" ... because all good writers know that going back and re-writing your story will make it better and better. Children's authors including Malorie Blackman, David Walliams and David MacPhail share their experiences and advice.

Ideas ...and where to find them

All great stories start with an intriguing idea - but what should you do if you just can't think of any? Screenwriter Sergio Casci gets his coat on and heads outside for an inspiring walk. With the help of award-winning children's authors Simon Bartram and Janis MacKay, he looks at ways of spotting and developing ideas, and explains how to write a story that'll keep your readers hooked.

How to create exciting plots and characters

Great stories need strong characters and a plot that brings those characters into conflict in some way. Screenwriter Sergio Casci shares some simple but powerful creative writing techniques for inventing interesting characters and convincing dialogue.

Danny Wallace

Danny Wallace discusses his new venture, writing for children.

Liz Pichon

Liz Pichon, the bestselling author of the 'Tom Gates' series of books, meets some of her fans and discusses her work as a writer and illustrator. She explains how she came up with Tom and the other characters in the books, and how she thinks of ideas for all the many things that happen to them. We hear how she writes in her garden shed, talks out loud to herself, and dreams of holidays on a sunny beach ... All this, and a dastardly trick that can be done with the wrapper of one of Tom Gates' favourite snacks, a chocolate wafer.

Jackie Kay

Janice Forsyth meets Scottish poet Jackie Kay.

Chae Strathie

Author Chae Strathie invites us into his home to tell us about how he writes his books. He's also got some imagination challenges for you, so have a pencil and paper handy!

Ghost Stories 1

'The White Lady' and 'The Auld Man of Littledean', by Alan Bissett. Two spine-tingling traditional Scottish ghost stories updated into contemporary settings, and told in modern Scots language.

The narrators are James Mackenzie and Wendy Seager.

Ghost Stories 2

'The Candle' and 'The Funeral March', two traditional Scottish ghost stories, retold in modern Scots language, by Alan Bissett.

The readers are Helen McAlpine and Bridget McCann.

‘King Midas’ and ‘Helen and Aphrodite’

Two classic tales, retold in a modern Scots setting by Alan Bissett. 'Theseus and the Minotaur' is read by Robert Jack, and 'Pandora's Box' is read by Nicola Roy.

‘Theseus and the Minotaur’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’

Two classic Greek tales, retold in a modern Scots setting by Alan Bissett. 'Theseus and the Minotaur' is read by Robert Jack, and 'Pandora's Box' is read Nicola Roy.