CENMAC and young author Lillie-Ann

There’s no way round it: writing is hard. I know because I write. It can be a painful and frustrating process. It takes determination, perseverance and self-belief. There is always room for improvement and you have to be a willing to continually reflect upon and rewrite your work in response to critical feedback.


Children in particular often find writing a real struggle, so it was a privilege to be invited to work with a pupil who loves writing and is committed to engaging with all the joys and challenges it brings. Lillie-Ann has an ambition: to write a book. My job is to facilitate that. In fact, at our first meeting, she informed me that she had a series of seven books up her sleeve!  

Together, we have started on her first mid-grade novel. The ideas are all hers and when I sometimes question the logic of her thinking, she tells me to be patient as she has it all mapped out in her head and I must trust that it will all make sense in the end. It always does! 

We decided to post draft versions of her work on the website and ask for your constructive feedback as we develop this story. Please take the time to respond. Knowing you have a real audience out there reading your work is a great motivator! 

Feedback to Zoe or tweet us @CENMAC

Zoë Tillotson 
English Advisory Teacher, CENMAC 

Portrait of a young author

Hi there, my name is Lillie-Ann. I am 12 years old and a year 7 pupil in a South-East London school.

My dream since I was seven years old has been to become an author. I love to read and always have my head in a book. My favourite books are the Harry Potter series, Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow and anything by Jaqueline Wilson.

I have just started writing my first book which is about a girl called Oliva who wakes up one day to find herself in a room with a talking cat and bunch of problems. I’m going to be posting certain chapters on Twitter and it would mean the world to me if I could have some feedback on my first drafts.

Update on Lillie-Ann’s novel

Lillie-Ann’s novel is progressing really well. She has a great imagination, vocabulary and ability to create tension to keep the reader engaged, as well as a good sense of structure.

Lillie-Ann wants her reader’s to understand that the work we are posting on Twitter is very much a draft and is ‘work in progress’ which is subject to change and improvement as the project progresses. Like every published author, she is a true professional and constantly revises and improves her ideas. One thing those who have been following of her writing will notice is that Lillie-Ann has changed the names of two of the main characters, for reasons you will have to ask her! The two ‘baddies’ are now called Rose and Thomas not Ruby and Fenris. Please keep your comments coming: us writer’s need audience feedback!

Zoë Tillotson, CENMAC English Advisory Teacher


Chapter 7

I laid there, mud in my face, a log on my leg and worry in my heart.

“What happened?” said Delphi, gliding towards me.

“Leo happened,” I said darkly.


“Leo, the sorceresses right-hand man – or boy, in this case,” I replied.

“The sorceress has a side-kick?” Delphi asked.

“YES, I just said that! In fact she has two but one is more dangerous than the other.”

“Technically, you said she has a right-hand man, not a side-kick. Anyway, where’s the map?” Delphi said.

“He ran off with it, the cheating little . . .”

“Keep your hair on,” Delphi interrupted.

“Sorry, I’m just annoyed,” I said.

“So, what now?”

“Now, you go back to school, find him and get that map,” said Opie.

“Opie will you stop sneaking up on us!!! You frightened the life out of me,” I snapped.

Read more of chapter 7 and onto chapter 10 … HERE