Creative Stories are All Around Us!

Creative Stories are All Around Us!

I am currently teaching a middle grade writing workshop at The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. It’s a great group with very enthusiastic writers.

The focus is finding different topics in the world around us and observing for inspiration. A writer must also keep eyes and ears open for unique characters, settings, and plots.

I begin each session with a journal entry about their day. Learning to record details is essential. Then follows a photo prompt. Last week, I had two photos, each of a dog. Even with the same photo everyone will come up with a different description, idea, and possible plot.

If you’d like to write from either of these photos, stop reading and write what you see, what the characters are feeling, how and if they connect, and what you think might happen. Then read further and see what the teens came up with.

Zoey Cammarata

Zoey probably wouldn’t have liked me sharing this photo of her. She is often misunderstood, when she really is very happy to see people!

Dakota Cammarata flipping Marvin in the air!

Dakota gets the free spirit award as he always wants to play!

Some of the descriptions were clear like Dakota wanting to run around all dayand Zoey growling at Dakota, because he stole Zoey’s toy.

Another scenario was that Zoey lives in an alley and has had a rough life. She is scared, but shows her teeth to hide her fear and look tough. Dakota is a happy dog who lives a good life. They might interact when Dakota gets lost or vice versa. How will their different experiences affect how they treat one another? Do they go on an adventure?

Photo prompts are a fantastic way to get unstuck or use actual events or descriptions in a story. Just make sure that they are changed enough, so that it is truly a work of fiction.

Of course if this is a memoir, then that’s a totally different story!


Crafty Kids Creating Characters

Crafty Kids Creating Characters


Last week I ventured into Stephen’s fourth grade teacher’s class to teach character development. It’s been over 10 years since Stephen has been in Mrs. Philo’s class, but she has always been open to empowering children’s creativity.

I showed the above photo, and we started with the basic physical characteristics of this German Shepherd (realized I misspelled it on the screen! Oops!) who was eventually named Rocky. Starting simple warms up your creative juices and states the obvious when there is a photo.

Then we ventured to what was going on around him and what he was¬†feeling based on his expressions. The kids were incredible and decided that his family was baking a special meal and had to leave. They left everything out. Did they leave in a hurry? Had they done this before and Rocky never bothered the food? Was Rocky hungry? These are questions that need to be asked to find out the story. What is Rocky’s fear? Right now it was getting caught especially since he ran around the house with flour all over his paws, and he was sick on the family room rug.

What is going to happen?


Enter Charles Aiden. This answers the question as to where the family ventured off to. The family is adopting a kitten so maybe they received a call that it was time to pick up Smokey, which the kids named the cat.

Did Rocky overhear the conversation and act out from fear? Is he terrified now that the family won’t love him anymore and replace him with a cat? Will he get so hungry one day that he will try to eat the kitten? Perhaps developing Rocky’s character as a dog who is always hungry could add some comedy to the story and also provide a realistic reason as to why Rocky is shaking salt and pepper on Smokey in the living room.

How will Rocky react when the family comes home? What will he think of Smokey? What are the major problems that will hopefully be resolved in this story?

Only the writers know! Anything goes.

After all they can’t be wrong if they’re write!