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Ideas Experience

Page history last edited by Ms. Edwards 15 years, 8 months ago

Authors' experiences provide paths to stories.


What does that mean?  Experiences?




Linda M. Castellitto interviewed Patricia Reilly Giff in 2004.[1]

"In an interview from her Connecticut home, Giff, who has written more than 60 books for children—including the Kids of the Polk Street School series, as well as Newbery Honor winners Lily's Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods—says, "My biggest thing is family, and I love to write about family."


Thus, her characters are based on everyone from youngsters she encountered during her teaching career (Giff began to write full-time at age 40) to her own family. "I warn my children," she says, laughing, " 'If you do something I don't like, you'll appear as a villain in one of my books.' "


Thinks about the stories you tell and retell every day about the antics of yourself, family member, or friend.  That's all food for fiction; just change the names and places to protect the innocent and guilty!  Always ask permission, but life experience is great place to find ideas.  You understand the event and the emotions, so you can write with clarity and pizzazz to create a mind movie for your reader.


Why not give it a try:


Think about a critical incident, something small that happened quickly.  It can be serious or silly.  Here's an example from my life (I've changed the names to protect the innocent and guilty.)



Jay sat on the edge of the couch and strummed Dad's guitar while watching Kathy draw pictures about the Olympics. Thirsty, he placed the guitar carefully on the cushion and walked into the kitchen. As he opened the fridge door, he heard the front door open, and Sally bounded in from heat outside.


As she asked, "Is there any Coke left?" she eyed Kathy's drawings and plopped herself down on the couch without looking.


Crack!   Prrrrriiiiiiiiiingggggggg!


She lept up crying, "OH NO!", and Jay raced back in sputtering, "OH NO!"


The guitar lay in pieces; it's neck fallen onto the floor and it's body boasting a much larger sound hole.  Oops.


Your turn. 


Open the page Ideas Experience and Us.  Create a section with horizontal lines above and below. Brainstorm some phrases and ideas first.  Then weave the words into a strong, short story with vivid verbs, nifty nouns, dialogue, action, and emotion. Can you find those in the story above? 


The direction page includes the above story preceded by my brainstorming.


I can hardly wait to read your wondrous words!


Connected Pages:         Ideas Experience   Ideas Experience and Us





  1. Castellitto, Linda. "BookPage Interview November." BookPage. 2004. BookPage America's Book Review. 26 Aug 2008 .

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