Discovered a talent

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ML, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    I found out that manster is writing short stories for fun. I thought they were homework assignments but he's doing them to pass the time. Here's a snippet from a story about adentures he describes. I am probably biased but for 11, not bad.

    Over a far arctic tipped mountain I traveled through a mile wide river of rushing water around a searing volcano of molten rock and fire. I traveled arouned the world, climbed the mattahorn I did. Dived off nagra falls and mount everst was a piece of cake. But yet nothing prepared me for my biggest advenute yet - dinner on a mashed potato mountain, a river of gravy, a deep ocean of pop, peas, an avalanche of peas, an appocalypse of steamed brocoli. My biggest adeventures the snow tipped pile of dirt, a stream of water an inch wide, a spot of dirt where the sun made it hot, a rock resembled the matterhorn and tree dripping water like niagra falls. Mount everest was a big tree stump. Yes, imaginations can be wild but my back yard gives me the greatest adventures yet.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow! They are going to love him in English class! My difficult child who used to hate English class really got into writing some creative things in middle school too and I was happy to see that teachers in those grade levels seemed to care a lot more about the expressed imagination and thoughtful use of adjectives than about handwriting and so forth (which my son was and still is horrible at).
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    WoW, indeed! That's awesome. I hope he keeps it up.
  4. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Not biased at all!!! That is some good writing. And for a difficult child to write for pleasure? What an amazing tool for self calming and expression. Good for difficult child! I would be perhaps implementing some rewards in some way to help him earn new special notebooks to write in etc.

    My 11 year old easy child loves to write and has talked for several years about doing a english/journalism degree when she's older. I'm a avid reader and taught her to be as well. I used to love to write when I was young but not much talent at it lol. easy child is pretty wonderful I have to say and gets comments at school all of the time for her writing. Even though she's a easy child, I work to encourage that talent lest she give up on it when she has such a great tool of expression. I'm so glad to read your difficult child is enjoying writing. And that he shared it with you!!! What a great way for him to know you are proud of things he does etc. I hope he keeps it up and that you'll share some of his writing with us from time to time :)
  5. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    That is awesome!! difficult child's are really creative kids, huh?
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This is a great story!

    Maybe you can find some kind of contest or children's literary magazine to send them to?
  7. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Very nice. Good for him for being productive.
    Maybe if he is willing, you can look for a creative writing tutor or class to help fine tune his writing. Maybe just being an 11 yr old he should continue to write for fun. : )
    I'm just throwing out thoughts. Good for him.
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is wonderful!!! His writing is good and I love that he is writing for pleasure!!
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    ML, that shows talent, it really does. And to be doing it for fun shows a genuine interest in this, and to a certain extent, a drive that will never leave him.

    I recently co-judged a children's writing competition in the same age group (had the awards presentation on Monday). I would suggest you look around to see if there are any competitions you can encourage him to write for. First place to look, is any writing groups in the area or in your state. See if there are publications from these groups available in your local library. Competitions are often printed in these magazines. But meanwhile - he is having fun with this and that is really great. He perhaps has his greatest potential as a writer, beginning now. Joining a kids writing group might be really good for him. PM me if you need to pick my brains further.

    Now a critique - when I read this, the first sentence especially, the first two mainly, show he's just getting started with this piece. When a writer begins to write, it's like warming up a car - it takes a few minutes before it runs smoothly. That's normal, that's OK, but that's where editing comes in. Those first few sentences often can be completely removed later on, because the story itself starts after this, at the third sentence. Or sometimes on editing, those first few sentences can be adapted or moved elsewhere. I remember a book I was critiquing, where the first chapter was the author "warming up" and the book was just fine without that entire chapter.

    Next - again, his first few sentences, he has padded with adjectives and adverbs. So at some level, he believes (or has been told) that descriptive writing is good writing. But as he really gets into his writing, these extra words drop away and we see the real talent in this work.

    So, some tips for him:

    1) EDIT. Be prepared to read through your work and change words around to make it more effective. No writer, not even the world's greatest, ever sends work out unedited. It's the biggest problem I have seen in children's writing, is this lack of editing. Teachers are a lot to blame, because they don't teach kids how important this is. Kids, too, end to be very immediate and can easily lose interest if they have to keep going over and over it. So there has to be a balance. One option is to put it away for a couple of weeks before the writer comes back to it.

    2) Avoid "word salad". Adjectives make nouns look good, but you can get the same effect with fewer words, if you choose a better noun. "Old woman" gives us an effective mental picture; "hag" is even more effective. Similarly, adverbs are used to 'explain' the verb. "He ran quickly" tells us how he ran. But we could also have "he strode", "he raced", "he charged". The more active the verbs, the faster the story seems to pace. If you have a lot of description but not a lot of pace, it's like standing in front of a beautiful painting and describing it.

    3) Never ever forget how the world looks, feels, smells and sounds to you as a child. Never forget. Too often, a talented young writer loses this freshness and originality by becoming a typical self-conscious teen, anxious to be an adult. Then when they go back to writing, it is never as good as it was. I don't think that will happen here, but this freshness can be challenging to recapture in adulthood, even for someone so talented. So it is easiest to not lose it in the first place. Use this imagination, always. Always wonder "what if...?" and write it down. Carry a notebook and when having to wait anywhere, describe what is happening. Describe all the senses. And if this takes you anywhere, follow it. When the writing takes over and you the writer don't know what is happening next, that can be very exciting. But when you're done, remember rule no 1.

  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Wonderful! I love how our kids minds work. It is too bad that people often make, kids especially, feel like they shouldn't express themselves. I hope he continues to explore his mind and creative side!!!
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    by the way, it is obvious that I don't edit my posts!

  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh! Marg, I'm so glad you typed that about judging the competition. My son's new school needs volunteers and I really, really, really do not want to serve chili for lunch every day, LOL! I am going to volunteer to judge contests and maybe grade papers. And do artwork.
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Be careful! I tried to volunteer to help with the annual student art contest - and what they really seemed to want was for me to "volunteer" my money! I told them I'd be happy to help in any way....I just wasn't in a good position financially. Unfortunately, the only thing they seemed to need was me to order (and pay for) the printing and posters for advertising. No fun...:-(
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    DaisyFace, that is a shame when schools (and other institutions) respond like that. We all have different capabilities and I also don't have money to burn, but over the years have helped out a lot of organisations by volunteering time and energy.

    Anyone whose main interest in you is your money, is someone who doesn't know the true value of volunteering.

    Again, a cultural thing - the Sydney 2000 Olympics were staffed almost entirely by volunteers. Even the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony performers (including the big names) were not paid. There is no way we could have afforded to pay all those people, but when they had a reunion last week, a great number of people turned up. husband & easy child would have too, if they could have organised to get there. easy child 2/difficult child 2 would have been in the Opening Ceremony like her sister, only she broke her wrist at the auditions, falling off her stilts (design flaw). She was shortlisted for the little girl role but again, I think the broken writ put her out of the running.

    Volunteering should never be sneered at. But it is more likely to be valued, if you can bring something to the table. Volunteers for unpopular jobs are generally always welcome. A friend of mine is an invaluable volunteer for any school or organisation her child belongs to - the local school's art show needs a lot of organisation and fundraising, my friend is very good at getting a lot of businesses to donate prizes. The local school did value this in her, but you've undoubtedly noted my problems with this school; my friend's daughter had similar problems, so when the girl was moved to the highway school, the local school also lost their major fundraiser volunteer. To the gain of the highway school's.

    If you want to volunteer and feel your offer has not been taken seriously, try to find some area where only your expertise can shine. Also before you volunteer, stand back and make sure you're not treading on the toes of someone else who wants that niche. Judging a competition, even a tiny school one, is a prestigious position possibly coveted by someone else who wants the kudos. I volunteered once to help out the local school choir. The principal was delighted and introduced me to the teacher in charge. Her reception was beyond frosty, it was openly hostile. All I had offered was to help, especially with teaching the kids to sing in harmony. Turned out this teacher was insistent that children in elementary are incapable of singing in harmony (yes, I know, she's way off course). I was evidence that she was pigheaded and greatly in error, and merely by offering, I was rubbing her nose in it.

    I also have volunteered with my own complete stand-alone fundraising idea. As long as I run it entirely by myself (or perhaps organise my own volunteer assistance) then the school will happily take any money I raise. But it has at times been challenging, even to volunteer in an area where nobody else is doing anything. The "sell" you have to do, to convince them to take on your idea - sometimes I think banging my head against a brick wall would be more productive.

    Writing is a solitary process, as a rule. Getting involved in a workshop of your peers is very useful, as long as you are not too tightly controlled by the teacher/convenor. I've found it useful to read what others write, especially for short writing exercises. I get more inspiration from others, than I get sitting at home on my own.