Tag Archives: Writing

The Story Bag – Writing Fun for all Ages

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Raising a Writer

I went to a writing workshop a long time ago when I was teaching High School English. I don’t remember who it was that presented now (it was over ten years ago!) but there is one fun activity that I have used over and over again, with myself, my kids, the writing club that I was the advisor for, my writing group . . . it turns out to be a very useful tool to get over writers block, and for brainstorming new story ideas. I have modified the activity a little over the years, but the idea is still the same. All you really need is a small notepad and a pen, or a computer, if you prefer. But you can make it even more fun with a little bag and a small object to represent each story. Here is how you do it — Get out your steno pad and your favorite number two pencil and make ten lists:

  1. Make a list of all the teachers you have ever had.
  2. Make a list of all of the teachers you have ever had who were not at school or who did not carry the official title of “teacher.”
  3. Make a list of all the teachers you have ever had that are animals.
  4. Make a list of all the teachers you have ever had that are objects or things.
  5. Make a list of all of the strange or unusual people that you have known.
  6. Make a list of any strange or interesting creatures that you have met or seen.
  7. Make a list of all of the places where you learned something important.
  8. Make a list of all of the interesting or unusual places you have been.
  9. Make a list of any interesting problems you have faced, or any weird or uncomfortable situations you have ever found yourself in.
  10. Make a list of any interesting, quirky, accidental, brilliant, or just plain stupid ways that you or other people you know have solved problems.

Now publish list 9 to the internet with your name, address, and a photo of yourself. (Ha ha, just kidding)

If you like, you can add illustrations in the margins (this is a great excuse to doodle) Obviously some lists will be much longer than others, and some of these lists may be quite short, but each item on these lists is a story all by itself. It can get really interesting though if you choose a few from different lists, for example choose a setting from list 7; characters from lists 1, 5, and 6; a problem from list 9, and so forth.

Now, here is the next step, which is optional: get a small drawstring bag and choose a small object — a unique stone, a really small toy, a coin, a marble, slips of paper color coded for character, plot, and setting, etc. — to represent each item from these lists. Put all of these in the bag and then when you are having writers block, or just want to give yourself a fun writing experience, pull one out and write the story that goes with it. Or you can randomly pull out a few and mix it up a bit.

Welcome to My Blog!

This is my blog about life, writing and all of the fun and frustration I experience as a mom, a wife, and a writer. I am hoping this will be a place for me to vent, get feedback, and supply helpful information, but not necessarily in that order. :)

The name is a twist on “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” but it actually comes from a true story too. . . and plays on my belief that life is not always soothing, but that the struggles that fill our daily existence can be finally pulled together to make a very satisfying cup of soup nonetheless.

The story behind the name starts with a small farm, a henhouse, four small girls, and one mean red rooster. After several months of taking turns fighting off this rooster every morning to gather eggs, one of the four girls found herself under attack without a weapon, and so she reached for the closest thing she could find. A small length of PVC pipe.  This turned out to be deadly for the rooster and extreemly tasty for the four small girls.

As it turns out, where my writing career is concerned, I am still battling my way past the rooster every day, but one of these days I hope to revel in a very fine cup of mean rooster soup!