I had four cards, each with a single word: King, Queen, Prince, Princess. Each of the kids drew their card, and then I was left with… Princess. I didn’t particularly want to write a princess story at that moment, so I made her a bit unique. But, before we did the writing we covered an important writing subject.
When writing there are two basic sets of tools that you can choose from. You can use narrative devices like flashbacks, foreshadowing, and framing. These are tools that help you to structure your story. You can also use rhetorical devices like rhyming, alliteration, and assonance. These are tools that help you to structure your sentences and paragraphs. The best writers are good at using both narrative devices and rhetorical devices.
Bella drew the Queen card. She wrote a story about a princess that was shortly going to become queen because the queen was passing her position and power on to her daughter. But, the princess’s aunt wanted power and was seeking to make both the queen and the princess vanish. An epic family drama that reminds me of some of the Icelandic family sagas. Bella wrote her story in the 3rd person point of view, e.g. “She said x.”
Xavier drew the King card. He wrote a descriptive tale about walking through some old creepy ruins. He wrote his story in the 2nd person point of view, which is very unusual, e.g. “You said x.”
Lexi drew the Prince card. She wrote about a guy sitting at a poker table on a casino riverboat with a royal flush, about to win the hand. But, some prince falls off the boat and causes a scene and the game ends. She wrote her story in the 1st person point of view, e.g. “I said x.”
It is crazy that all three of them wrote in different points of view. That was not discussed or planned at all, and it’s awesome.
And, of course, there is my princess story.
- — — — — — -
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a dog. A dog that loved cupcakes. He lived in a house on the edge of town.
In the center of town there lived a princess. The princess had seven cupcakes left. Her nanny forced her to eat cupcakes every day. The princess didn’t know why, but it was because the nanny was jealous of the princess’s beauty and sought to destroy her through the destructive power of cupcakes.
There was no way for the princess to escape her room. She had tried before. No one would sneak her any food because the evil nanny once caught one of the palace cooks sneaking the princess a hamburger and was severely punished for it.
The princess opened her window and looked down, four floors to the ground. She listened to the sounds of the birds overhead, and smelled the air outside mix with the smell of the cupcakes emanating from her room. Oh, how she wanted to escape that poisonous sweet smell.
A dog’s nose is powerful beyond the awareness of a human. A mile from the palace he could smell those cupcakes. Chocolate with chocolate frosting, red velvet with vanilla frosting, carrot cake with cream cheese filling and buttercream frosting. Oh my! A feast he had dreamed of, but hadn’t dared hope for. To find a way to those cupcakes, he must!
- — — — — — -
It’s a weird story, lol. I stopped near the beginning a couple of times and pointed out that I had no idea what I was going to write next, I just wrote what happened to come to mind. That way the kids can see that I’m not joking when I tell them they can write whatever pops into their heads. And, I think using that technique of little interjectory examples did help somewhat.
Lexi pointed out that the bun of the hamburger wasn’t much of an improvement over the cupcakes as far as health is concerned, and that’s true. A steak would have been healthier, but alas, that’s not what came to my mind in the moment. Those types of things can be changed in the process of developmental editing.
It was a good session. I laid the groundwork for jumping back and forth between talking about narrative and rhetorical devices to develop our writing toolboxes, loved seeing the different points of view used, and feel that my in-story interjections may be a useful technique to remember for the future.
Read more of what Jeff deems worthy of attention at: http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com