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Teaching with Fantasy: Anthony Eaton, Nightpeople
Created by Lindsay Williams for AustLit
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  • Creating and Responding

  • Creating

  • Activity Twenty-One: Sensory Detail

    Kim Wilkins congratulates Anthony Eaton on the way he uses material detail as a way of grounding the reader in the setting. And the use of the five senses in creative writing is advice that teachers frequently give students. Anthony Eaton’s unusual twist is that he likes a scene to have a ‘mouthfeel’: he starts with the way he wants a scene to taste (e.g., cold and metallic, salty etc). This taste has a flow onto effect to the way the body reacts physically, e.g., shivering, screwing up the face. Eaton then finds ways of capturing the taste through the other senses (sight, sound, smell, hearing, touch).

    a. Study various scenes in the novel and decide what taste Eaton might have had in mind.

    b. Students should try using taste as a starting point for their own writing. Use Eaton’s suggestion of sitting quietly for five minutes, simply experiencing the world, and then write. Attempts can be shared and workshopped.

  • Activity Twenty-Two: Creating a Story with an Australian Setting

    Eaton makes the point that before writing, authors need to know their world very well. While this includes the physical setting, he also emphasises understanding the political, social and cultural background to the world. For example, for the world to seem authentic, he believes it is important to know where power sits in the society being created, and how that power flows down from the top levels in society down to the weak. Furthermore, as books are about people/characters (and not settings), authors need to have worked out:

    • Where do the various characters sit within this power structure?
    • How will this structure impact on their lives in terms of:
      • mental health
      • ability to grow
      • ability to nurture children
      • ability to meet basic human needs

    In other words, it is important to work out the relationship between characters and the setting. After watching this section of the video, students should:

    • use the questions above to create an outline for their own storyworld.
    • plan other elements of the story, e.g., physical setting, characters, etc.
    • write a story about a character in this world.
  • Responding

  • Activity Twenty-three: Create a Book Trailer

    Book trailers can be a useful way to market a book. If you have never seen one before, here are a few examples:

    Ask students to create a book trailer for Nightpeople (and the sequels if desired).

    These sites provide tips and tricks:

  • Activity Twenty-Four: Writing an Interpretation (Analytical Essay)

    In the form of an analytical essay, students can write a response to one of the following questions:

    1. What is one important message of Nightpeople by Anthony Eaton? Justify your interpretation with reference to the creation of the novel’s setting, characters and plot.

    2. How are readers positioned to think about a significant character in the novel, e.g., Saria, Dariand or Dreamer Baanti? Justify your answer with evidence from the novel.

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