with Michelle Cameron
Various and sundry...
Today we shared a variety of stories – some still on the power of time, some our fairy tale diaries, and still others just finishing up work we’d started in an earlier class. Among the topics we discussed: the use of very distinct voices when more than one character is telling a story, making sure our reactions are credible (who is that hobo at my door and why would I talk to him?), sticking to either first or third person in a story (not both!), the use of call-backs in a series of stories, the need to create a serious problem (conflict) to resolve, thinking our ideas all the way through, and letting the reader know what they need to know at the appropriate time.
Pre-planning - a play!
The kids have been talking about writing a play since the first class, and today was week 1 in our playwriting exercise. We divided into three groups:
Group 1: Julia, Pippa, James and Noah
Group 2: John, Gabriel, and Emily
Group 3: Gabrielle, Caleb, David and Kaitlyn
I let them know that one of the characters would be a robot. They decided who that would be, then worked on who the other characters who peopled their play would be.
We discussed what you need to know to create a believable character, and they considered their character’s names, what they looked like, what their personality is like, and what they want (though this can have changed based on the plotline.) They then introduced their characters.
Next we considered setting and what they would need to stage their play. They became enthusiastic about pulling together props and stage design elements. I warned them that we would NOT be working on this in class but that they certainly can at home. NOTE: we’re not ready for these next week. Please tell them to gather them together and leave them at home.
Finally, we got to the part they wanted to dive into from the very beginning: the plot. We have some very different plotlines for our three one-act plays.
One of the students in each group acted as the scribe. Here’s what they wrote. (Do reassure them that I’ll bring this back with me next week! Also, excuse any errors of transmission…)
C-M-7a: this epic glitchy robot is smart and intelligent
Tiger Lily – Intelligent workaholic
Charlie Gbinge – obsessive buyer – her father is the owner of Dell so Charl…
Tiger Lilly – black leggings, white lab coat
Charlie – black jeans
Props – cardboard
Plot: billionaire entrepreneur creates the robot, which Charlie wants to buy. When no one allows that, he decides to steal it instead.
Robot – Zagar 71 – a healer – power-healer, smart, appearance: silver with buttons, 1 week old
Sister – Lauren Underwood – an artist – power-artist, nice, appearance: hair in ponytail, wearing jeans, 15 years old
Brother – Zack underwood – a fencer – power-fencing, smart, appearance: flat hair, 14 years old
Plot: Lauren and Zack create the robot for a science fair. Their teacher doesn’t like it until Zagar 71 heals her.
David – alien/robot, 100 years old, Zacz
Kaitlyn – a 13-year old girl named Maddie who is fun and kind
Gabi – a 16-year old huntress named Roxy who destroyed (half destroyed) Zacz
Caleb – BOTH a 15-year old boy named Steve who plays Minecraft and an old man
Setting: the kingdom borders a wood. There is sun/stars in an alien planet.
Props: laser gun – David
bow/arrows – Caleb
Lipstick taser – Kaitlyn
xbox – Caleb
iPad – Caleb
big box – anyone
Fake deer – Kaitlyn
Trees – anyone
Plot: Roxy half destroyed Zacz, who is now obsessed with getting revenge. Maddie is a spy.
For homework this week, I asked everyone to write their character’s backstory. Next week – we start on the actual script!