Creative Writing Blog

January 23, 2012

My Creative Writing students contribute to a blog each week, “Write.  Then Write More.” The entries will be mostly guided journal responses, but it will also feature some of their on-going projects.

Right now we are in a writing assignment about point of view:  write a short piece in your ‘go-to’ narrator style (mine is 3rd Person Limited).  Then revise that piece twice so that by the end of the assignment, the story is told in three points of view:  1st Person, 3rd Person Limited and 3rd Person Omniscient.

I want to do 2nd Person point of view writing with the students, but not for this assignment.  2nd Person, where the writer is speaking to the reader in the most simple of explanations,  is incredibly difficult to write in fiction.  I think we’ll have to read some of it, first.

So, gentle reader, read more about Point of View in this article and google “2nd person narrative stories” for more information about the concept.

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50,000 Words!

January 12, 2012

For the record, I passed the 50,000 word mark last night in my NaNoWriMo “novel” that I began in November.

It sounds trite, but it really does feel great to meet a goal like that. I had to refrain from running about the darkened house jumping up and down in glee.  I settled for a Rocky-at-the-top-of-those-stairs imitation there in our computer room.

50,000 Words! Go me!

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Young Poets

December 8, 2011

The poems were posted, all hung with care
In hopes that the viewers would see learning in there

Most students chose to have their work displayed on the board.  The rest were okay with display in the classroom.  When I asked one student why he didn’t want it on the board, he replied, “Well, I got a little crazy with it.”

Technically these are first drafts.  I usually have them ‘rough draft’ these sorts of things, but we missed that step this time.

With no formal art instruction, the kids appreciate the opportunity to illustrate.

This poem is clever in its simplicity:  “Santa’s now out:  Wow!”

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‘Tis the Season

December 6, 2011

I pull out poetry for the holidays;  it is an engaging activity with a lot of seasonal flexibility.  My 3rd/4th graders are on the second day of Christmas acrostic poems, with some great products.  I’ll take some pictures and post them.  Best line so far?

Moms work hard!

Interestingly, I told the students that I’d be posting these on the bulletin board outside of the office.  Most students were like, okay.  Some students, however, said, “Mine’s not good enough for the board.”

I like that they know quality work and I want them to always have work that’s “good enough for the board.”  We’ll get there.

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NaNoWriMo Update

December 1, 2011

Well, I lost the National Novel Writing Month challenge. My final word count for the month was 30,248 words.

Let me say that differently:


That is a lot of words, and was a lot of time. I found I could do about 1,000 words and hour if I stayed focused on the task…which wasn’t the easiest accomplishment given the young humans in my home. I also realized that I did better when I mulled over the story in my head for a while before trying to write it.

I haven’t given up on the story. I think it is sweet (okay, maybe trite is the better word) and I have a new goal: 50,000 words in 2011. I’m 60% of the way there.

One of the unforeseen effects of this novel writing thing is that I’m now teaching Creative Writing next semester. I had so much FUN just writing, I tossed that elective into the hat for our High Schoolers, and two are going to take it. Maybe I’ll have some time to write some more, because you always want to model learning, right?

The Office of Letters and Lights sponsors Script Frenzy in April: write a 75 page script in a month. That might be fun…we’ll see what my students think!

Write on!

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NaNoWriMo 2011

November 8, 2011

Let me update you on where I am write now…I mean right now.  I’m writing a novel!  Really!

I’m breaking all the writing rules we teach in class to do so.  I have no prewriting.  I have no plot structure lined up.  I don’t know who my characters are until they show up in the story.  I don’t actually plan to revise, and I’m not killing myself over perfect word choice.

It is National Novel Writing Month and I took the challenge:  write 50,000 words in the month of Novemeber as a novel or beginning of a novel.

I’m at 4575 words.  I’m not on track to successfully finish the challenge, but I am not going to let a little thing like that stop me.  This is me writing…just writing.

What do you do just to do?

(Check out for more about National Novel Writing Month.)

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Kentucky Blues

October 25, 2011

We are getting ready to learn more about Kentucky than any Alaskan students ever expected to learn!

My 3rd/4th Grade Language Arts group has penpals in Kentucky.  How did that happen?  Check out ePals.  It is a site connecting students and classrooms globally.  We just happened to connect up with Kentucky.

We will write letters (so old school!  But, I think the best of Old School.)  We will research the questions they have for us.  We will find a way to post our information online.  (Wiki?  Blog?  Webquests?)  We will find a way to video-conference with the other classroom.

This really is driving the LA curriculum with the group.  Well, no, the Standards are driving the curriculum, but this is going to be the vehicle to travel through this part of  Learning-ville.  I am SO excited.

Here are a few Youtube videos that I’m showing the kids as advanced organizers:

Kentucky Adventure

Eastern Kentucky

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Good Stuff.

October 18, 2011

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It’s Like This…Peer Editing

March 3, 2011

Here’s how we peer edit in Middle School.

Peer Editing.

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Writing Pains

February 5, 2011

I am a bad blogger. The people who are good at this write several times a week. Maybe my PDCA should be to blog once a month.


I want to let you know, my Middle School Students, that I FEEL YOUR PAIN. About writing. (But it isn’t going to change me from being the Citation Nazi for the rest of your school career.)

I told you in class how I found a story I’d started like three years ago, and actually had the urge to finish it. So I’ve been writing on it. And it is hard! I have these ideas and images and plot elements in my head, but then it comes to put it on paper and it is nothing like what I’m seeing. For example, the main character shares some very significant news with her best friend…and the best I can come up with is

M. stepped over and hugged her. “Ah, I’m sorry. But girl, your life is messed up.”

T. returned her hug thankfully. “You’re not kidding.”

There should be a LOT more emotion in that.  A lot more description.  And yes, mine is a rough draft that I may never take to a final, publishable copy…but still, I want to say more and I  just end up with boring words.  Really…M. is furious at T. for the position she’s put herself in, but knows that there’s no way for T. to change things.  And she just steps up and hugs her.  Awww.  (eye roll)

So I feel your pain.  We asked you to write a Historical Fiction piece.  Some of you really got the objective of the assignment and produced a good product.  But I saw others of you just hate the assignment…because writing good (historical) fiction is hard.

I’m not sure I have any earth-shattering encouragement or reassurance for you (or if you even want any from your teacher) but I’m going to type them anyway.  You will be writing for us for the next four to five years and if you dread it as much as a Senior as you do now, we haven’t really done part of our job as teachers.  So here’s what I think will help…

Mrs. Stading’s Encouragement for Writing Fiction

1.  If you read fiction, you’ll get better at writing fiction.

2.  The more pre-planning you put into your stories, the easier they will be to write.  (Honestly, the plot map — you know,  that line that looks like a mountain? — is SO helpful.  Do it.)

3.  Give yourself time to THINK on what you are writing.  Don’t wait until the last minute.

4.  Find some way to put your personal interests into your writing.  (Admittedly, I’m going to get bored if every story you all submit is somehow related to basketball.  But if it makes you a better writer, I’ll get over it!)

5.  Collaborate about your writing.  Read it to a peer…or three, especially your peers who are readers.  Bounce ideas off someone who is interested in what you are writing.  (My sister is like, just get that story done already, as many ideas as she’s been hearing…she wants to read it.  I told her she’d read it sooner if she typed it up for me.  I haven’t heard back from her since then. :-] )


Fiction writing doesn’t go away — you’ll be writing a myth soon — let’s learn how to do this better together.  I’ll keep at my story if you’ll strive to better writers in yours.  Deal?

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