The Character Hall Of Fame

17 Mar

Welcome to Monday’s Muse! Every Monday morning of the school term in 2014, Write Away With Me will post a writing and/or storytelling activity that you can try with your class or your children at home.

In the course of a week, I meet all sorts of young writers. There are some children who dive confidently into any writing activity, ideas spilling out effortlessly onto their page. (I certainly envy them!) But for some children, the ideas do not flow so freely. Under pressure, they’re tempted to recycle characters and plots from their favourite books and movies or even borrow an original idea from the person sitting next to them. Instead of being fun, the writing process becomes a great source of frustration. So why do some students find the process of generating ideas so difficult? Firstly, if they are spending much of their time passively engaged in computer programs, gaming and TV, their capacity to visualise and imagine a story may be quite limited. Imagination is, after all, a creative muscle and it needs lots of exercise and experiences. And secondly, the ability to think creatively, is directly linked to confidence and self esteem. If you don’t see yourself as a creative thinker and writer, then it goes without saying that it will be harder to experience success. Today’s fun pre-writing activity inspires fresh original writing ideas for all students  as well as developing creativity and confidence. Enter, drum roll please, The Character Hall of Fame.

Let’s hear first what John Gardner has to say about the role of characters in fiction.

“Character is the very life of fiction. Your setting exists so your character has someplace to stand. Your plot exists so the character can discover what he or she is really like. It forces them to makes choices and take action And the theme exists only to make the character stand up and be somebody”.

Today, your students are going to have fun developing some original characters to inspire their future storytelling and writing adventures.

1)

Collect some pictures of potential characters from magazines or newspapers. Characters can be people, animals, aliens, monsters…the possibilities are endless.

2)

Have each student choose a picture to work with during the session.

3)

Each students takes an A4 page and folds it into 8 squares. Tell your class they are going to interview their character. The answer to each question can be written in one of the folded squares.

4)

What is this character’s:

  • full name (include nick names) ?
  • greatest fear?
  • happiest memory?
  • personality type? Shy? Happy?

 

Now consider these:

  • What does he/she like to do on the weekends?
  • What is something he/she hates to do and why?
  • Where does your character live?
  • What is their favourite food and what memories are connected to this particular food?

Record the answers to each question. Allow students time to share their answers in small groups or with the class. Display these answers with the character’s image. Keep the character profiles displayed on your classroom wall.  The Character Hall of Fame will become a great resource for developing original characters to star in future stories. To start you off, ask students to choose any character from The Character Hall of Fame. Set your timer for five minutes. Ask students to capture the voice of their character and record what happened when their character woke up today. Use the character profile to inspire the writing.

Happy writing!

After 25 years teaching experience, from Early Childhood to VCE, Beth Cregan combined her passion for books, writing and storytelling to launch ‘Write Away With Me’. Now in its fourth year, Write Away With Me offers a wide range of original and creative storytelling and writing workshops across Victoria. Our high energy workshops cover a wide range of writing styles/genres and a flexible approach, means we can tailor the experience to match the needs of your students and your school. Interested in booking a workshop for your class? Check out our range of storytelling and writing workshops today! Workshops for secondary classes and professional development are also available.

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