Creative Writing Materials??

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Creative Writing Materials??
3
Tue, 11-27-2012 - 12:33pm

I guess it's just my day to post...

Ugh - I just lost my post.  Let's try again.

DS (who turned 6 last week) has learned from school he HATES for his day to be dictated by an outside entity.  He's figured out that Dad's work dictates Dad's schedule as well.  So he's put his brilliant little mind to work on this problem and has decided he is going to be an author while he is young and not have to work while he is older.  While I find this amusing, he's VERY serious about this.  He's written a few little short stories (think Eric Carle style) over the past month and is developing the storyline for 2 more to write over the holidays.  He's taken the ones he's written to school to read to the other kids.  Surprisingly, the children were very supportive!  (So much so, the teacher gave them extra behavior rewards).  Some can even retell one of the books.  So clearly, he needs to pursue this more intently as it is an area of interest - at least for the time being.

The problem is that I have zero ability in this type of area.  Seriously, my worst subject.  A science lab report - no problem, this kind of thing, YIKES!  Any material (books, DVDs, etc) out there which can support a budding short-story or poem writer?  Something which talks about different writing styles, poem styles, etc?  I'm clueless.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Wed, 11-28-2012 - 12:46pm

Much like with talent in visual art, I think that much harm can result from directing or teaching creative writing when children are young. It can stifle their true creativity by putting too much emphasis on technique, craft, end-product, and external judgement. Reading to him is probably the most important thing you can do to develop his potential as a writer: and it's important even if he's already fluently reading at a college level, because by reading aloud you can give him daily aural experience with the rhythm, alliteration, assonance and rhyme of language, and with styles of writing and subject matter he might not necessarily choose for himself but can grow to love. In addition, there will arise natural opportunities to discuss the way the stories you read together are crafted. Why does the writer keep mentioning this detail? Ooh, is that a bit of foreshadowing? Do you think the writer wants us to like this character or not? Wow, listen to those descriptive words -- she's really piled them on, hasn't she? At his age you might not be discussing metaphor and dialogue style. But he might enjoy guessing the outcome of the plot and explaining how he formed his hypothesis. 

Other than that, I think you just do what is natural in terms of expressing appreciation for what he writes, procuring appropriate basic materials and resources (a journal for jotting down story ideas? a three-hole-punch and some brightly coloured paper? use of the computer and printer?) and allowing his enjoyment of writing to wax and wane according to his own timetable.

My eldest is an extremely gifted writer, although she wrote almost nothing prior to age 8.5. I have a friend who is a writer and an editor of children's stories who was completely stunned by my dd's writing at age 9 or 10, said she had rarely read anything as beautifully and creatively crafted by a writer of any age. But even so, her advice was just to let my dd be, and when she reached adolescence to look for signs that she might enjoy working with a writing mentor -- but not before that. She did get some mentoring at age 14-15, but ultimately decided to pursue other areas vocationally and turned down all pleas from her mentor to submit her work for publication. She continues to write creatively, but to serve her own needs rather than to produce a marketable end-product and she likes it that way. And honestly I'm pleased: she's unbelievably introverted, and writing is so solitary a pursuit. I like that she's working in an area that is much more social and collaborative.

Anyway, I would suggest reading aloud and simply appreciating and supporting whatever writing he does. That's all you need to do, and it's probably best not to do more.

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Wed, 11-28-2012 - 1:19pm

Thank you very much for all the advice in your post.  One of the things I love best about DS is his creativity streak (of which I have none) and am constantly worried about how to best support it.  Technique was exactly the direction I thought to go. After I thought about your response, I realized that the technical aspects are MY comfort zone.  So I will release the reins on this one.  Thank you again.  I really appreciate it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
Mon, 12-03-2012 - 4:28pm

I'm with Miranda on this one. Reading aloud to him, talking about the story, asking him what he thinks will happen next and why or what bits are his favorite...basically encouraging him to get into the story. At his age, it should still be all about play. One thing I remember doing with my girls when they were your DS' s age was playing around with song lyrics to fit the mood or whatever it was we were doing at that moment...it was great for a laugh and taught them plenty about rhythm, rhyme and alliteration.