Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Scary Story

Photo by Ian Britton at
Kids can be the best place to go to learn what's important when writing a story.  While my two children and I were waiting for some laminating my 3 1/2 year old daughter told me some stories.  She made them up while we waited in the copy shop.  I'll share one with you:

"Once upon a time a boy decided to travel to the jungle without his family.  While he was in the jungle, a ghost grabbed him and took the boy to the ghost's house!  The ghost sat down, but the boy pushed him away with his arms!  The boy ran out of the house and locked the door, so the ghost was stuck.  Then the boy went home to his family."

Look at some of the elements that were important to her:
  •   The main character was a child.
  •   The child became the hero of the story.  No Mom or Dad to the rescue here!
  •   There was tension: a kidnapping and a dangerous ghost.  Just being a child doesn't make her appreciate fine literature any less.  She expects a climax and a conflict with appropriate resolution. 
  •   It was high interest...this is, of course, related to the tension but my daughter finds jungle, travel, family, and ghosts exciting.  I'll admit, though, the kidnapping did surprise me!
These same elements were present in all the stories she made up that morning...even the stories that she did not label as "scary!"  I took a look at the writing in some of her favorite books, and they all had all four of these elements.  Important?  I think so.


Bethany Mattingly said...

Great lesson to remember! I'm surprised by how thorough she was :) She definitely got every part.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

I love this! She did great!

It is amazing how a child can so easily identify main elements to a great have a budding writer on your hands ;o)

Wonderful post! love the pic

Carla said...

Bethany, I was surprised by how thorough she was too!

Courtney, I just hope she continues to enjoy reading and telling stories. I love the picture too--it is Queen Mary's Bath House in Edinburgh! I thought the tree's shadows made it look nice and scary.


Kenda said...

Your daughter's storytelling skills sound amazing already! Keep nurturing her--we'll see her name in print one of these days, I bet!

Carla said...

Kenda, I'm sure she'd love that! Of course, I'd love it too!


Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

Very cool analysis! Kids really are wonderful storytellers.


Carla said...

Debbie, Aren't they fun! I would pay to hear some of the stories they come up with!


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