Category Archives: Fiction

Character Voice

TWvoice16 promo

Today’s #TeachersWrite task, provided by Phil Bildner, encouraged us to explore a character’s voice through thought/speech bubbles. Fun! It was a creative challenge I couldn’t wait to dive into… then I realized I could make the task into a presentation instead, showing other teachers and students how to do the same thing using technology! (I am a tech integrator, after all!)

I decided my tool of choice would be Google Slides (instead of pencil/paper) and I got to work. It didn’t take long at all to select an image and create a character’s voice. Best of all, it made learning enjoyable!

If you would like to do this task with your students through integrated technology, check out my simple, how-to slideshow. Feel free to share with your students as well!

Character Voice How-To Guide

Special thanks to Phil Bildner for this innovative task and Kate Messner for hosting another year of fantastic writing experiences!

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Tuesday Quick Write – Week 3

imageThe noise got louder the closer we came. “C’mon, Sara, we’re gonna be late and they might run out of my favorite pizza!” I watched as my best friend since second grade walked ahead of me, her cute little ponytail bouncing behind her. Jeannie had no fear. She would dive into an ocean filled with sharks if she thought they might have something she wanted. “Hurry up!” she shouted, with one last turn of her head, before I lost her in the crowd of hungry students. I tried not to panic, holding the strap of my book bag tighter so it wouldn’t slip off my right shoulder. The sea of people crushed together, everyone cramming through two doors with peeling blue paint, an entrance meant for two, not twenty. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and the panic started to rise again. “One… Two… Three… Breathe…” The counselor’s calm and steady voice whispered in my memories as I started to feel the floor sway beneath my feet. “Don’t you dare pass out on me,” I whispered to myself, but it was too late. The dark perimeter of my vision closed in and I sank to the ground.


Today’s Quick Write inspired by Megan Frazer Blakemore’s #TeachersWrite post, challenging us to write a cafeteria scene as we “feel back to childhood.” As an elementary school educator (and a mom of three), I find myself surrounded by children constantly, but it takes a bit more effort to become a child again and write from that perspective. I’m finding that writing for younger readers is an area of interest and I look forward to making my characters’ voices and experiences more authentic!

 

 

Flaw or Fortitude?

opposites

Ahhh… I can feel the cool refreshment of the clear, sparkling water as I dip my toes once again into #TeachersWrite summer camp. Today’s assignment, from author Lisa Papademetriou, the author of A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic, encourages us to experiment with characterization. We are to write a scene exemplifying a character’s virtue then rewrite it as a flaw. I’ve been toying with the art of fictional writing, so I’ll complete today’s assignment with a character I’m developing in that realm: Marissa.

Character Virtue

It is only dusk, but Marissa sees the fireflies appear, their golden orbs blinking as darkness envelopes her shoulders with a wisp of cooler air. She stretches her long legs away from the bench, pulling herself up to walk back to the cabin. She already knows what to say. She will be gentle with her rebuke, her words of kindness wrapping her daughter, Erin, like a soothing salve for the open wound left by her daughter’s friends. “Time heals all wounds,” she whispers to herself as she approaches the walkway now shrouded by night.

Character Flaw

“You ALWAYS say that!”

The door slams as Marissa stares perplexed at the space that once held her daughter. There were no hugs. No head on her shoulder, no shared mother-daughter bonding. The stifling silence is an impenetrable wall of anger, an unexpected quandary that freezes Marissa’s heart to the core.

What had she done wrong? She always knows the right things to say. Her daughter, Erin is an open-book when it come to skirmishes with her friends. Typical teenaged angst, usually about bodies or boys, always healed by a few words of a wisdom and a double scoop of mint chocolate-chip ice cream piled into a delicately laced waffle cone.

This time is different. The anger is real. The door is locked with silence and hate. Marissa no longer holds the keys of comfort, her words absorbed by the wooden door separating mother and child.


So tell me, fellow readers, which scene resonates with you? Can a character’s strength also be a flaw? Does this entice you as a reader to turn the page? I would love for you to share your comments below!

#TeachersWrite Day 3: Character Sketch



Wednesdays are usually Q & A days at Teachers Write, where we have the opportunity to ask published authors questions about the writing process or other aspects of writing/publishing. Sometimes there will also be a writing prompt, as provided today by Melanie Crowder.

We are challenged to create and expand a character sketch, which is new to me as I rarely write fiction. I am stretching myself as a writer through this summer camp, so here’s my contribution:

It was the sparkle of blue that caught her eye as she brushed the dirt from her grandmother’s walkway. A glimmer of stardust, gold band stuck in the dirt, lifting the sapphire between the blades of grass long overdue for a trim.

Blue. Another sign. Jessie crouched down and took a moment to admire the contrast of dull and bright. It would need a good cleaning for sure, but definitely a keeper. She knew the ring would never be worn, but join in solidarity with the other blue signs her grandmother had sent following the accident five years before.

The walkway discarded for now, Jessie made her way to the car. She needed to hide her treasure lest the perfect moment of revelation dissipate in the humid heat. Hiding meant safety. Blue meant love.

I’m not sure where this story may lead, but I was surprised how quickly the storyline played out in my mind; the words flowed from my thoughts as a diversion from my own reality, as I sit here in this hospital waiting room. This summer writing camp has been a welcome reprieve already and we’re only three days in!