I recently visited Lochinver House School in Potters Bar to talk to the pupils and do a writing workshop.

Check out two of the fantastic pieces of JJ writing that they produced.

I always say that even the names of the characters you choose in your stories are important…So I am a fan of Arnold….

Jamie Johnson – The Penalty

By Finn Durkan-Mills

Jamie Johnson stepped up to the penalty spot. There was silence. Everyone’s mouths wide open. He took his run up towards the ball. His brain was like a calculator working out all the different angles. Jamie took his shot!

The ball flew through the air. Out of sight? Jamie had belted the ball so hard it had disappeared off the pitch. As if into thin air!

“Idiot!” said Dillon Simmonds. Dillon had never really liked Jamie. “Loser…show-off…know-it-all.” He used to say.

Everyone on the pitch was going mad. Some in shock of what had just occurred. Meanwhile, Dillon was just standing there, smirking and then almost cackling like an old hag. Jamie knew he had let himself down.

That night, Jamie got the bus home. He felt humiliated and knew for sure that he had failed his father. His dad used to be a professional footballer. Not for teams like Arsenal and Chelsea. But for county teams. His father, Arnold, was like a football encyclopaedia! You’d think that a guy named Arnold would be some sort of science whizz! What a stereotype that was. He was actually no great academic person. So when it came to Jamie’s homework, he wasn’t much use.

When Jamie arrived home, his father had a massive grin on his face. From his chin to his ears because he knew that Jamie would ace the trial. Unfortunately, this time it was the exact opposite. Jamie’s father had never cooked! Not once. But non this occasion he had prepared the best pasta he could. This was penne with plain tomato sauce. That’s right, rubbish one might think. But Jamie was grateful. He had no intention of showing it though.

Jamie sat down. Barely touched his dinner. Jamie didn’t want to tell his dad. Then, his father broke the silence with the question, “Well, son?”

Jamie didn’t answer, he just stood up…and…left.

The Penalty

By Freddie Shiret

Jamie Johnson stepped up to the penalty spot. It was his time to shine. Only a few days ago he’d started a new school, a new beginning. He’d made friends and enemies. Enemies like Dylan Simmons.

“Hope you miss” Dylan sniggered, putting even more pressure on Jamie.

“In your dreams” Jamie replied, more nervous than arrogant. Dylan had an impudent smile across his face.

“It’s now or never” Jamie whispered to himself as he ran up for the penalty.

He struck the ball with all his might. He hit the ball’s sweet spot and it went flying as fast as a bullet. But it wasn’t going for the goal. It was flying towards Dylan Simmons’ head.

There was a large thud. Dylan Simmons lay on the floor while the ball was speeding towards the top corner. It was a rebound, Jamie thought. But it all happened so quickly nobody could be sure. Nobody knew whether it had gone straight into the back of the net, or got a deflection. But the one thing everybody knew was Dylan Simmons lay sprawled on the floor: memorised, shocked and confused.

Jamie leapt up in the air, with his hands up high, and pretended he was surrendering. The monumental trees at the side of the pitch tilted in the wind as if to be clapping. Everybody in his team sprinted after him, cheering.

“ In your face Simmons!” Jamie shouted as he was celebrating.

“I hate you, you idiot” Dylan replied.

“Well why don’t you tell your friends, oops you don’t have any!” Jamie jeered at Dylan.

Now everybody would know who Jamie Johnson was. The boy who scored the miracle goal. The person who put a bullet behind the quivering hands of a five star keeper. The person who gave Dylan Simmons something to think about.



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