Video Settings Stimuli Collection #002
Sam's Midnight Adventure, Ancient Portal, Pebbly River Setting
Monthly story starters, writing ideas, and part-works for teaching writing at KS12.
In this episode, you will find my regular mix of story openings and quick ideas. I'm excited to be able to share them. However I've also started a new strand for video based resources. I have started with videos of settings that I think could be useful to teachers to use in the classroom. This is fun as it gives my walks and runs a new element that I am enjoying getting into as well.
A challenge for young writers is to create settings for their stories when they may have no experience of visiting these locations in real life to draw on. 'Write what you know' can run out very quickly depending on where you have lived and been. These videos are intended to be used in class (turn it up louder!) to immerse young writers in the location while they write, to give them a leg up for this part of their story.
✍️ Featured Story Starters
Sam's Midnight Adventure
Sam clung to the branch of the tall tree, trying not to think about the swaying and buffeting the wind was inflicting on his furry coat, not to mention his stomach. He was beginning to feel a little ill. Sam opened one eye and squinted to see the men with torches creeping across the battlements on the nearby castle, mere metres away. It seemed very late, dark and windy for them to be fixing a damaged rooftop.
This strange behaviour was quite fascinating to Sam. What were they up to? Sylvia had called him nosy – he thought he was just inquisitive - but he knew he should really go home, not get into more trouble. Then he saw the masks. Builders don’t wear masks! Sam dug his claws into the bark of the tree, leapt forward with all his might, and landed on all fours by the drawbridge of the castle. What was he getting himself into?
Read the complete opening and support material on the website
✍️ Featured Resource
Writing Setting Stimulus: Pebbly River
This video is a ten minute writing aid for classroom use. It is a recording of the sights and sounds in this place, no more no less. This is a shallow pebbly river on a regular walk of mine.
✍️ Quick Idea
After school you and a friend are exploring an abandoned building site. You both fall through the floor to an ancient ruin with a portal to other worlds.
📚 Hitting the Books…
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
Loved this book. I am a fan of King anyway, which didn’t hurt, as in the same way he confidently leads through a fictional narrative, here he takes us through a biography of his youth and later life as a route into the inspiration for many of his characters and stories. He unpacks a toolbox of techniques, and repeatedly extolls the strict requirement to both read and write regularly (and then some!). Most interesting to me, as someone who has taught primary (elementary) writing since 2000, is his approach to the nuts and bolts. In schools we teach kids to develop use of descriptive tools like adverbs, adjectives, simile, personification and so on. King’s take on this is that it is for the most part unnecessary, and that if your story is clear the reader does not need any of this to signal emotions and drivers. Similarly, he loves a good ‘said’ and argues that this is almost always the best option for signalling speech. I take his point, and I think this may be an issue with teaching early writing, in that young writers do not write anything long enough to truly lay out the inner workings of their characters enough to allow the stripping back of the more direct clues to intent in favour of pace. It’s a popular fiction perspective of course, but has forced me to lead on to some of the other great books on the craft for some comparison. If you have any interest in writing yourself, this is worth reading.
Check out On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King | Captured with Readwise
❤️ This Week's Favourites
A few links to interesting content I've been thinking about recently.
🔧Tool: Bear (iOS App)
Joy to use.. Bear is a fantastic writing app. It has one of the most beautiful looks you will ever see, and is easy to navigate, search and sort your writing using the tags approach. Bear can handle markdown as well as plain text, and can also embed images, scans and sketches. For many purposes Bear can be the full solution, and is just gorgeous to use.
Free to use, or an annual subscription to sync across your devices, themes etc.
🧰 Kit: Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft's premium device range, Surface Pro is a fantastic teaching and planning tool. With touch and inking, as well as detachable keyboard and dual cameras, the surface is a robust and reliable educator's workhorse PC.
🎞 Video: Music For Writing Stories
The Copywriting channel on YouTube is a great place to find music to write to. This video is nice ambient music to listen to while writing, which I have found really great at setting a writing mood in the classroom.
A few things from previous newsletters that I thought you might appreciate reminding about :-)
✍️ Story: The Frozen Wilderness
✍️ Idea: Shrunk
🎞 Video: TED Ed Talk: What makes a hero?
📚 Book: Start With Why, by Simon Sinek
What else can I share with you…
🎞️ Featured Course: OneNote Course on SkillShare!
I've published a number of courses on SkillShare! Take a look at 'How to Organise EVERYTHING in OneNote'. It's my complete guide to the awesome organisation and teaching app that I use to organise everything in my life.
You can get two weeks free access to view this and any of their other courses https://geni.us/everythingonenotess
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