As you all know, last Thursday marked the beginning of the Inkreadable Kids writing workshops. I had two students for that particular session. I happened to have come down the stairs from my classroom and met them in the lobby. I was expecting three students for that time slot, but alas, it was not to be. The third student was a no-show. It’s ok, because the two students I had more than compensated for the lack of the third thursday student. I came up with a small lesson plan for the beginning of a story, which I vetted with Maddie, who assured me that all the concepts made sense. I talked about introducing the characters and giving them a personality and a back story, setting up other characters in their world. Next up was introduction of the conflict, where I talked about the protagonist and the antagonist. Of course, kids aren’t going to understand that concept, until you call them good guy and bad guy. That particular lesson caused a bit of incredulity on the students part, when I started talking about Harry Potter/Voldemort, and Percy Jackson and just about everyone. “You’ve read them? You’re old.” was the general consensus. I read them, and between you and me, they are way more fun than books for grown ups. I talked about point of view, and the general consensus was that third person was the easiest to write. Next came how to start a story and we went through action, dialogue, narration, and description. The last concept was the Hook. That thing that grabs the reader, pulls them into your story, and makes them want to read more. It can be a question, use of descriptive words, or leaving the story a mystery. I asked if anything was confusing and whether there were questions. Apparently, I was pretty clear and all the kids were on the same page, because they piped up and said, “No questions, we got it. You want us to write a hook to a story. What story?”
Clearly, they are faster on the uptake than the grown-up. The prompts were intriguing. I found an amazing website, www.scholastic.com/teachers/story-starters/. The page offers the choice of adventure, fantasy, Sci-Fi and Scrambler. You are asked to pick a genre, then enter your name and grade, then directed to a slot machine. When you pull the arm, a random story is generated. One of my kids chose to use the scholastic prompt, and the story she is working on involves a confused plumber who sets fire to a science fair. The other student is writing a story based on the prompt:
Imagine you met a genie and he gave you three wishes. What do you wish for and why?
Both of them jumped in with action and dialogue. They took their stories and ran. It was an amazing experience for me as well. What would have happened if someone had encouraged me at that age to translate my love of reading into a love of writing? I can’t wait to see what happens over the next few weeks.