November 13, 2020
Students in Near North District School Board read from an all-star list of authors throughout their education, now, one of their fellow students has joined that list.
After being inspired by authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, R.A. Salvatore and V.E. Schwab, as well as games such as Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, Alastair McPherson, a grade 12 student from Chippewa Secondary School, put pen to paper to create his own story.
From Out of the Shadows is the result. A fantasy series which involves an elf and a human, who must learn how to set aside their differences in order to survive the deadly attacks of the Dark Elves. Meanwhile, a dwarf and a gnome find themselves taken prisoner and must fight for their lives to survive. On opposite ends of the world, both pairs of heroes must struggle against the forces of darkness—and decipher what diabolical plot the Dark Elves are trying to unleash.
While not the first story he’s written, From Out of the Shadows is the first to see publication. This is the first book of a four book series. The second book is expected to be released in the near future.
Writing narratives and analyzing stories over the course of his elementary and secondary schooling has really helped him develop his writing skillset. Alastair also credits a writer’s craft course and support from his teachers for aiding in becoming a published author.
“I remember in grade five, my teacher told me that I was going to publish a book one day,” he recalled. “I have had a lot of support from (friends and peers) and some of them have even helped me with editing”. He added that staff members at Chippewa have also posted on the school’s website and social media accounts.
Writing a book series while going to school is a balancing act. Alastair makes use of every minute and that includes after school, weekends and summer holidays.
“I’m lucky because writing is something that I really like doing,” he explained. Now, he’s sharing that passion for writing with others.
After a classroom visit with Alistair, grade 7/8 teacher Jordaan Allison of White Woods Public School explained, “as an instructor, it was really helpful to have Alastair join us and talk about his process. We learned that the drafting process is actually shorter than the editing process. It really offered the students a way to connect and relate their own experiences and struggles with writing.”
He noted that having Alastair describe how he writes the introduction, body, and conclusion was really helpful for the students and relating his knowledge about leaving readers wanting more, especially when it comes to a series.
Allison added that it was exciting to show students that writing a book is within reach, especially if someone within their age demographic can write a book and have it published. “It was really inspiring, and it made me feel like I could write a book one day,” added Connor, a student in Allison’s class.
Alastair continues to help the students. He is reading their rough drafts and offering suggestions, which Allison feels is an important connection as the students trust Alastair and value his feedback. “Alastair went above and beyond our expectations.”
“Having a connection with someone, who is a professional, shows the students that writing is not just something that we do in school, but what people choose to do and for a career,” Allison said.
From Out of the Shadows is available for purchase at several places including Friesen Press.
For more information, please contact:
Near North District School Board
P. (705) 472-8170, 5083