Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Teaching kids to write

My kids were once reluctant writers.  They would sit at the table and stare at a blank paper or screen for hours.  (You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? I'm not. HOURS.) I always dreaded the assignments that consisted of them writing a story.  This might sound odd, since I'm a writer, but it's true.  They couldn't even get past "Once upon a time." Often, they couldn't even get that far.  They refused to start the story with Once upon a time unless it was a fairy tale.  And they didn't write fairy tales.

I'd sit down with them and ask they what they wanted to write about.  Sometimes I'd get a blank look and sometimes I'd get a rough summary, but even with a summary it was too hard for them to know where to start.  Finally, I told them to start with a character and build from there.  So I thought I'd write a quick little story starter for other parents of reluctant writers.

Who is the character?  
-Animal or a person?  
-Male or female?
-What does the character look like?
-What is something funny about character?

What does the character want more than anything in the world?
-It could be a thing like a toy 
-Maybe they want to go somewhere like Disneyland
-It could be getting parents or enough food.

What is in the way of the character reaching the goal?
-Not enough money
-Mean people are keeping him from his family

When does the story take place? 
-It could be a time of day or year
-It could be in the future

Where is the character?

Why does the character want what he wants?
-Did he see an amazing toy?
-Is he lonely?
-Is he jealous of someone else?

How is the character going to go after his goal?
-Does he get a job?
-Does he escape?

With all these questions answered, you have a basic outline for a story.  The child doesn't have to use the examples listed below the question, but every question must be answered in their own words. Here's a first sentence to help them get started.

All (Character) ever wanted was (desire).

From there, they can build their story. It is important that they use every answer they gave for the questions above.  This is, obviously, a tool for very young writers.  But, once a child learns how to transfer the stories in their head to paper, they will have the tools they need and you will no longer be standing in the middle of the kitchen at 10:00 pm yelling at them to PLEASE JUST WRITE SOMETHING!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Our Books

Snow Angels

A winter storm, a family, and an idea for a service project all add up to a delightful Christmas surprise! When Mom and Dad suggest serving their neighbors for the holiday, their kids can’t stop grumbling. But as they secretly shovel snow, their attitudes change, and soon the parents can’t get the kids to stop serving. Share the joys of serving others in this wonderful Christmas pamphlet.
Coming October 14 2014!

Rebel Princess
(This damsel is NOT in distress!)

"I was born to be evil.
Nice is NOT in my blood.
Besides, nice girls get locked in towers.".

Raven Perilous is like any other middle school girl--if middle school girls are usually evil princesses. The daughter of a gentle princess and evil sorcerer, Raven spends most of her time being as wicked as possible to avoid being stuck in a tower.  So when Prince Charming shows up at her school.  Raven knows she has met her nemesis.

In The Rebel Princess, loyalty, heroism, and a pinch of enchantment are perfect for conjuring up an adventure that you'll never forget.

Barnes and Nobel

The Candy Cane Queen

(Kindle edition)

Susan Winters has a secret. Every year at Christmas time, she abandons her solitary lifestyle and anonymously spreads the joy and spirit of Christmas as The Candy Cane Queen. But this year, something's about to change. This touching story shares the important message that at Christmastime we need each other more than ever. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy together!