Brainstorming and plotting from Summer at St. George’s

I’m on the last of four writing camps that I’m teaching this summer (whew!). The camp I’m teaching right now is at St. George’s school in Vancouver and runs for two weeks. Each student has the goal of publishing a book so, with this in mind, I decided to start the camp with some brainstorming and plotting to keep everyone on track.

I prepared a handy “snapshot” sheet, which—hopefully—helps them consider all the important elements of their story. Here’s some photos of their brainstorming. Some students “floated” off the worksheet and starting doing their own thing, which I’m always so pleased to see!

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Villainous doodles

This is a sketch of a new villain I’m working on. I keep doing different versions of him. He’s tended to look a little too cute up til now. So, here’s a snapshot of the latest pages of villainous doodles I did when I had a few minutes during the writing camp I was leading in Korea.

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Tiny transportation

SkeezleOne of the final workshops that we did at the CWC Secret Worlds camp in Korea involved tiny transportation.

For inspiration we showed them some of the transportation devices from famous movies and books, including  Kendra Kandlestar. Readers of that series might remember Kendra and co.’s walnut boat, or Effryn Hagglehorn’s snail (his name was Skeezle), which acted as a cart for his travelling magic shop. And then, of course, there is the airship that they use for much of the series, affectionately known as The Big Bang.

I was surprised that we didn’t see any paper airplanes or toy cars (though we did get one “bottle vehicle”). It seems most preferred “critter cars!” Here’s some of the drawing and brainstorming that helped informed the kids’ drawings.

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Big problems — small solution

This turned out to be one of my favorite activities at the CWC Secret Worlds camp in Korea. Sticking with our theme of miniature characters, I had each student pit a character against a big problem!

How it worked was this. First, each student picked from Bag #1, which contained a plastic bug (each one was different). Next, they could pick a tool from Bag #2 and then a second tool from Bag #3. The tools included things like buttons (good for shields), postage stamps (good for sticking) and clothes pins (good for . . . er, squeezing?), plus all sorts of other items.

The students then had to brainstorm how their characters would overcome the problem with just those tools in hand. Finally, they wrote the scene.

Since we had already built miniature people, they could stand their figures alongside the bug for scale. This certainly made for a lot of imaginative play. And, let’s face it, the best play so often leads to the best stories.

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