- Category: Sprouts
- Published on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 15:11
- Written by Marc Lehman
- Hits: 1236
Welcome back! I hope you had a good time sharing with your family about what books have touched them, and have learned something new about each other in the process. Today, we're going to take that a step farther into writing, using it as a way to explore how differently each one of you views the world. This exercise will also help you all get used to sharing your writing with each other, especially in making sure that each individual knows that their writing will be read and appreciated at this point. Constructive criticism will come later once that trust and confidence is built.
One key way to bring out this difference in point of view is to write on the same very general topic without deciding together on details. How each person fills in those details can point out what they consider important, or what issues around that topic are significant for them at this point in their life. Don't answer any questions about specifics if they ask them, encourage each child to fill in those details themselves. This is also a good time to encourage them to not just show the actions, but to give a glimpse into the internal life of their character as well. At this point, we're more concerned with getting everyone comfortable with sharing actions, thoughts, and emotions through their characters, later we will work on making their methods of exposition more effective.
This week, have each family member write a short story on the same topic. The length should be age appropriate, an adult might write around 5000 words, a young adult 1000-3000, a younger child might go with 300-500 and some illustrations. Don't discuss or agree on details, just write the stories and see what comes out. When everyone is done, pick a night and have each child read their story out loud to the family. Listen attentively to each other, be open to what they are sharing about themselves. When you're all done reading, lead a discussion of how many different techniques and points of view were found for the same topic. Who knows, you may start looking forward to these stories. You could even consider this as a kind of family game night, one week write together, and the next have fun listening to the creations of the people you love.
I'll put a few sample topics below to get you started, so get out those pens and have some fun together.
Uh-oh, someone didn't show up to meet me when they promised to.
Wow, that was an epic failure.
All I wanted to do was dance.
Sometimes parents are just silly.
- Category: Sprouts
- Published on Wednesday, 04 January 2012 21:37
- Written by Marc Lehman
- Hits: 621
Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of Sprouts! My name is Marc, and I'll be sharing what I've learned over the years about turning writing into a way to really connect as a family. Writing doesn't just have to be a solitary pursuit, but can be a way to help your children explore the world and their place in it, to share with you and others their own unique voice and point of view. This can be an especially beautiful experience with teenagers, since by working with them on the creation of their story, they often find the freedom to express problems and feelings through fictional characters that they aren't comfortable talking about directly. Even your significant other can become involved, perhaps writing a romance together, as a way of discovering needs and desires that neither of you knew were there.
Over the coming months, we are going to be exploring a number of ways to incorporate writing into your family relationships, and through this to also teach them techniques that will help them to become a solid writer. Who knows, you might have a budding author that never knew they had it in them to create stories every bit as amazing as the ones they love to read.
Take a first step towards creating that relationship by taking a few minutes with each member of your family to talk to them about their favorite book, and why it is so important to them. After that, borrow the book and read it, being especially conscious of how it speaks to them and to you, and what the difference is between what each of you sees in the story. If you read a lot, maybe even try to read a random book off your kids book pile, find out why they love that book, talk about it, suggest a new favorite, tell them a story of your own.
With that bit of sharing as a starting point, in the next installment you will join in your first adventure writing.
Farewell, and happy reading.