Creative writing workshop -- six sessions -- fiction
EPISODE IV: THE WRITING BEGINS (ONE STEP AT A TIME...)
*all spellings are the children's originals!
Before they were to start writing their drafts, I set the group some short writing tasks: one short piece describing the setting and two pieces to describe the main characters that appeared in their story. We watched the first twenty minutes of Episode VI and discussed the different features of the settings. What would it be like to be in the desert of Tatooine? What would you see there? What would the Death Star be like? What could you hear, smell, see? I wrote a short description as an example which included some model sentences. The children analysed it and then used it to help structure their own
descriptions. Here is one example for a story set in a junkyard....
This fiery place, full of destruction, was a swollen junkyard. The dusty land was covered with broken machinery. The sand dunes in the distance were high and it was scorching under the two suns. This was a place of battle.
Wizzing across the surface of the planet was the most brave and loyal hero in the whole universe: Luke Skywalker.
We set this aside and followed it up with two character descriptions. Again, I wrote a model text to set the expectation and the children used it to write their own. This is where the vocabulary profile posters became valuable. The words were already there for the children to use leaving them to focus on the sentence structure, including getting to grips with a semi-colon! Here are two examples, one for Darth Vader and the other for bounty hunter, Boba Fett.
Standing in the middle of Jabba’s repulsive palace, with his straight faced Stormtroopers behind him, was the most grim, forbidding villain of the entire universe: Darth Vader. The abominable sith lord looked like an obsidian shadow. His monstrous black military armour hid his unforgettable wrinkly face; he is more machine than man. He holds his luminous lightsaber carefully in his metal hand. All who see him fall to there knees and beg for mercy.
Legendary and cunning, he started like as a clone but now he is one of a kind. His armour was strong and green; his wrist rocket and flame thrower are deadly. One shot is enough to blast you to pieces. He is not to be messed with for money.
Now, although their descriptions were energetic and full-blooded, I am really not suggesting this was easy! The children were eager to get started on writing the juicy action they had read in the graphic novels and they were a little frustrated with taking a step-by-step approach. “When are we going to write the stories!?” they demanded. “You’re already writing it, kid,” I wish Harrison Ford had been on hand to reply. But taking it slowly would pay it’s reward later on!
Next time... Drafting a story stars in EPISODE V: THE HIGHLIGHTERS STRIKE BACK