Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Writing Tip from MG Author Rosanne Parry

Rosanne and I had our first novels debut within a month of each other. They are twins in setting and some of the details - both deal with families changed by their loved one's deployment overseas. Both are set on ranches in adjacent counties - no kidding. We even both have a character named Paco. We didn't know each other until the novels came out. And the books are very different. A study in different writers, different voices. Since then, Rosanne and I have worked together on several projects. Our next one is a panel presentation at the National Council of Teachers of English in Orlando in November. So I'm excited to share her tip here:

Look for Rosanne's new novel, Second Fiddle soon.

Here’s a back to school writing idea to help your young writers tackle revision. The What-I-did-over-summer-vacation essay is a classic and one that can do with a little spicing up. Once your students have gotten back into the groove of writing with the standard essay. Let them go back to it and re-vision the piece with an imaginative element.
What would have happened on your summer vacation if….
A magical creature had come along
A natural disaster had occurred
Your favorite story character had come along
It had all happened in a different country
It had all happened 100 years ago
If you had super powers
If you were blind or unable to speak

Let them imagine a different outcome for a familiar event, and see how that moves a non-fiction essay into the realm of fiction.
You can take a look at some “revised” stories in published books. The Graveyard is a re-visioning of The Jungle Book with ghosts instead of animals. The 3 Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig is a role reversal of the Three Little Pigs story. For high school students, A Curse as Dark as Gold is a retelling of the Rumplestiltskin story.
Having revised something in a more light-hearted context of the exaggerated vacation story may make it easier to tackle more academic revisions in the future.

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