January 9, 2012

Monday Morning Spark

I've been thinking a lot about writing.

Shocking, I know, since I am a writer :)

But what with so many of us involved with writing - whether as writers ourselves, maybe striving to complete 12X12, maybe as devoted bloggers stretching ourselves through Mother Reader's Comment Challenge, or maybe just writing our own thing at our own pace - or as teachers of writing trying to encourage kids to express themselves, trying to show them the fun of creativity - I thought a little sparking activity would be fun :)
google images

So here's my Monday morning spark for you!

1.  Choose one of the following characters:
     a. a 4 year old girl
     b. a 5 year old boy
     c. a pirate
     d. a dog
     e. a monster

2.  Choose one of the following settings:
     a. the playground
     b. the bathtub
     c. the forest
     d. a train
     e. a picnic
... and, if you wish, combine it with one of the following adjectives:
     a. enchanted
     b. crowded
     c. cold
     d. boring
     e. funny

3.  Choose one of the following problems/situations:
     a. getting lost
     b. hates getting wet
     c. made a mistake
     d. scared of loud noises
     e. feels unimportant

4. Choose one of the following goals:
     a. wants to be really good at something
     b. wants to go somewhere
     c. wants to be in charge
     d. wants to get something
     e. wants to be different
   
5. Choose one of the following random words:
     a. orange
     b. key
     c. wish
     d. tomorrow
     e. turtle

6.  Choose one of the following bits of dialogue:
     a. "Don't touch that!"
     b. "Did you see that?"
     c. "That's strange!"
     d. "I want to go home."
     e. "I didn't mean to."

Now.  If you're a writer, take one of these things, or one from each group, or any combination, and turn them into a picture book/story or, if you're a teacher, share them with your class so they can make a story, either as a group or individually!

If you really want to add to the fun, tell us which prompt or combination of prompts sparked a story -  e.g. a monster (#1) who wants to be different (#4) gets lost (#3) in the forest (#2) and...  Maybe your combination will spark an idea for someone else.  Or add your own ideas for character, setting + adjective, problem/situation, random word, and/or bit of dialogue in the comments below to give readers even more spark options!  We could make a creative wildfire :)

I'll be very interested to see a) what characters, settings, etc. other people might toss into the arena, and b) whether this game actually sparks some real ideas for people, so please share!  Looking forward to your contributions, thoughts, story ideas :)
Reactions:

54 comments:

  1. Good morning (or in my case, one more meeting them I m heading home!). I will need to think a wee bit before sharing my sparks, but thank you.

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  2. What fun. I imagine a monster named Markie who lost his key to his home under a little girls bed and finds it floating in a yellow boat in her toy crowded bathtub. Of course all monsters hate to get wet but Markie does want that key. Oh Oh one poorly placed spash from our little girl in the tub and Markie loses his grip and lands in the hated water. Of course she didn't mean to, but, you know, that water didn't feel half bad. Markie LIKES the water. Who knew?

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  3. You're welcome! I hope the sparks will be helpful!

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  4. Wow, Del! You're creative and FAST! And you've got me thinking in a whole different direction. Thanks!

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  5. Cool game!

    A pirate who doesn't like getting wet on a picnic when a turtle comes along and...

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  6. Susanna,
    I love this idea! I needed a spark today just to have some fun and think about/write about something different that hasn't been sitting around in my head for a while. Thanks for the Monday morning pick me up. It's better than that 3rd cup of coffee I was considering.

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  7. Glad to give you a spark without over-caffeinating you :) Hope you get a great idea!

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  8. These are great ideas. I am definitely in need of that spark to get me started again. Thank you.

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  9. I'm so glad if these little suggestions help. Anne! Let me know if anything good comes out of the sparks :)

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  10. Hmmm...so a 4 year old girl visiting the enchanted playground of WishNoMore made the mistake of making a wish of wanting to go visit her father in Paris.

    That could be something quite interesting.

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  11. Priceless! Well done!

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  12. What a fun game! If you don't mind, I'm taking this list and skulking off to a corner to see what creeps out...if it's anything good, I'll let you know...

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  13. Susanna, this is a great writing exercise! I'm always looking for ways to begin new stories since I write picture books. Thank you.

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  14. You're so welcome! I'm glad if it's helpful! I don't recognize your name, so welcome if you're new (and if you're not new and I'm just being a dolt, I still appreciate the comment :))

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  15. This is a fun writing exercise. I'm behind today, so it won't be on my to do list today. Well, I might use the "That's Strange" in something today. See, I did get sparked after all...

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  16. Panic hit me when I opened your blog and saw "IDEA." But, after reading through your suggestions, it reminded me how very creative and brilliant you are. Could see a classroom having fun, or parents using it to start a bed time story with a child, or a writer using it to create a story. So you got me again in a good way! And, I even found myself making up a plot as I read each spark! Will try it.

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  17. I'm so sorry if I panicked you! It as your later reaction I was aiming for. I hope these sparks start a nice little fire for you :) And I hope you'll share with us :)

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  18. You never know from whence the sparks may come! And if not today, the great thing is they'll still be there for another day :)

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  19. This sounds great! I may write about a five-year-old boy in a boring forest, feeling unimportant.

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  20. I came across your blog through the Comment Challenge. It's nice to connect with other kitlit bloggers.

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  21. i hope I find you on the list! There's no link on your name here so i can visit you back. Maybe you can leave your blog address?













    BlessyMathew wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    I came across your blog through the Comment Challenge. It's nice to connect with other kitlit bloggers.

    Link to comment

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  22. I've got a pirate in an enchanted bathtub. :) Fun story sparks! I love it. :)

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  23. What a clever idea. Not that getting a spark has been a problem for me. I'm sparking all the time. :D

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  24. I love this idea! Every Wednesdays, Wizard Lexiconi offers writing lessons to young scribes. I'd love to add a link to this post.
    Patricia T suggested I stop by your sight, which I would have eventually because I'm doing the comment challenge. She said you also do book activities with picture books. I came to have a look around. I think providing activities to go with book helps to make reading come to life for youngsters.

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  25. This looks like fun! I'm up to my ears with stuff, but that still gives a little wiggle room to "play"! I'll get back to you with what I do.

    And I have to say I'm glad that Pat suggested Jackie Castle visit here, because I was going to suggest she do the same, or suggest that you check out her awesome book reviews with activities!

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  26. How fun! Here's what I got:

    A pirate who wants to be in charge of his own ship, commandeers an enchanted bathtub with his talking pet turtle, setting sail for adventure. One small problem: he hates getting wet, and his misadventures will soon get him crying "I want to go home!"

    Having written all that, I see that Janet Johnson's already beaten me to the pirate in the enchanted bathtub. :)

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  27. Maybe so, J.C., but the fun of this is, your 2 stories would probably be totally different!

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  28. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJanuary 10, 2012 at 6:48 AM

    This is a cool idea (make random things into a story)! A pirate meets a monster on a crowded playground...
    I'll work on the rest.

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  29. I don't even know Jackie, but you can bet I'll be popping right over to check out her blog! I'm so glad she came by! Have fun playing :)

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  30. Hi Jackie - I'm thrilled that you stopped by! I've heard such good things from Beth and Pat that you can bet I'll be over to see you blog ASAP. Of course you may add a link to this post, and I'm going to check out Wizard Lexiconi too. I guess I would have found your blog eventually through the comment challenge, too, but glad not to have to wait :) I hope you'll enjoy Perfect Picture Books and maybe even want to participate!

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  31. I'm glad you're so sparky :) I'm usually pretty sparky too - it's just the quality of the sparks and the follow-through aren't always up to parr :)

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  32. That one leapt out at me, too :) And J.C. up above was also taken with the idea!

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  33. I'm glad you like the idea, Erik. I like yours! Let me know if you end up getting a story out of it!

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  34. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJanuary 10, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    OOPS OK I am only allowed to pick one character! -so A Pirate who doesn't like to get we gets lost in an enchanted bathtub... I'll keep working on it :)

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  35. No, Erik - you can pick any combination that sparks an idea - two characters is fine! There are no rules, just suggestions :)













    This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik wrote, in response to This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik:

    OOPS OK I am only allowed to pick one character! -so A Pirate who doesn't like to get we gets lost in an enchanted bathtub... I'll keep working on it :)

    Link to comment

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  36. Oh my stars! Thank you for this fantastic idea, Susanna. I have been needing a good kick in the pants to get back in the swing of things-ever since i got sick i have been a little lazy in the writing department (okay, AND a little busy with school!) But I am going to work on this TONIGHT! Thanks for the inspiration ;-)

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  37. You're WELCOME! So glad if I could help! Let me know if anything good comes out of it :)

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  38. I love this! Thanks for the sparks! I'll probably work up an illustration first, then maybe a story!

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  39. That is so cool! I wish I could draw! If you do an illustration, please share the link if you put it up, or send it over here and I'll put it up and credit you :)

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  40. Love the Monday sparks idea. True story - one of my books was spawned from a random story generator, very similar to the sparks idea. Sparks are not only fun to play with, they can actually light up a winning idea! : )

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  41. Thanks for the spark which I will return to as I work on 12 x 12 in '12! :)

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  42. You're welcome, Irene! I hope it sparks something useful. Keep me posted :)

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  43. So true, Linda! You never know what's going to be the thing that lights you up. I usually find that my ideas come from more than one place, so I might have part of one, but it needs something else. And that could come from anywhere!

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  44. Great post! I can use all the sparks I can get. ;)

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  45. I think I speak for everyone when I say, me too!

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  46. This sounds very cool. A bit like my 5word/sentence, I had going on the Childrens Hub.
    Might borrow it for there oneday, if its okay!
    A 4 year old girl in an enchanted playground meets a talking turtle when she wishes she was something else as she felt unimportant and learns a valuable lesson.......mmm

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  47. 5 word sentence? Tell me more...! (Please :))

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  48. You never know from whence the sparks may come! And if not today, the great thing is they'll still be there for another day :)

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