Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Writing in the park

Reading and writing aren’t necessarily indoor activities.

Facing a blank page is daunting, even for professional writers. The next time your child has to write a story for school, start by taking them outside.

Before you start, remind your child that a story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Something happens – then there’s a problem – then that problem is resolved.

Also, a story has characters, a plot (stuff the character does), and a setting (where all the action happens).

Get outside
While you’re outside, have your child describe the main character. Who is in the story? What are they like? What do they look like?

Then, get walking. Boys, especially, tend to think best when they’re doing something, so even bouncing a ball might be a good idea. As you walk, get your child to talk about the beginning of the story. What’s happening? How does the character feel? Where is it happening?

Your child will likely look around and be inspired by what he sees. Great – incorporate it. An ice cream truck? A mailbox? An airplane. Use them in the story.

The walk home
Use the walk home to hone down some of the ideas, simplify things, edit a bit. Take out some of the plot or character points that don’t really add to the story. Keep what moves it along.

Your child should now be ready to tackle that blank piece of paper. Get them to write down what they’ve already discussed during your walk, and bring the story to a logical conclusion.

If all else fails, your child can write a story about “a cruel mom who ruins a kid’s day out by making him talk about writing.” Plenty of angst and pathos in that; probably get an A.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Something happens – then there’s a problem – then that problem is resolved."

You know, for all my years, I never *quite* realized there's a problem in every story!!
I learn something new every time I visit your blog, so thanks again!