Advanced English: Creative Writing Lesson 1

Napoleon in Hsinchu? Yes, in the gardens of the Red General. Taken with a Nikon D200 and a 18-35mm on the 25th of January 2007. Part of the Red General Series 1.

I taught my advanced English class yesterday. I concentrated on some creative writing. The basics on how to write stories and why it is important to have a plan before you start. I had started the last lesson by giving them a simple assignment:

  • Write a story about yourself in Narnia or another fantasy world.

They really enjoyed that one, but most of the the stories were about similar themes. Getting Cinnamarolls, playing with friends (At the end of the day, they are still 10 year old girls!). It doesn’t help that all of the students are friends and do a lot of things together with their families, so they have a lot of shared experiences which are showcased.

This time, I came up with a setting and a few characters that they would have to use. To change the way that they thought in the story, I made the main character a boy. It made me think a lot about my upcoming story, Empty Planet. After the class, I even started writing a few pages. Sometimes, I wish I could work a lot less and concentrate on writing. I will have a bit more spare time in the coming days, since I will be on vacation in Hsinchu, however I have a lot of loose ends to tie up before I can really enjoy the days off. But one thing is for sure, is that I never have trouble finding the time to relax.

I based the fictional city of Symria on Sigil, the City of Doors in the Planescape setting for TSR’s DnD. I really liked that setting. For writers, there a wealth of ressources if you are interested in RPG games. Some of my stories, The Kobayashi Tales, take place entirely in the Cyberpunk RPB setting.

Here are the details of my lesson. This lesson could work from advanced grade 4 students until high school students without any problems.

Setting

The world is similar to our own. No magic and extraordinary things are present for everyday people. However, some people can travel to a magical city called Symria. They travel there by walking through mirrors or drawing doors with chalk on a wall. The city of Symria is magical and has a lot of things going on. The main reason is for trade. People from all over the place come there to trade. The inhabitants are special, some are centaurs, monsters, giants, trolls and there are even rumors of dragons sleeping the years away on their piles of gold and treasure underneath the city. There is magic in Symria which can trickly down to our world, but not a lot of people know about it.

Main Characters

You can make up other characters, but the main characters have to be the following. All of them should be used at some point in your narrative.

Ivan: a small boy, who’s parents have died long ago, who lives on the streets with his trusty companion, Zefang. He isn’t a dad orphan, but lives his life as best as he can. Some people are nice to him, others are mean. But there are always strange things happening around Ivan.

Zefang: Ivan’s best friend, a dog, who has with him forever and who can talk when no one else is around.

Bornak: An evil sorcerer who wants to kill Ivan.

Grabum: Bornak’s familiar, he follows the sorcerer around and does his bidding. More mischievous than evil, he likes playing tricks on people. He is about 35 cm high, with leathery gray skin and a long crooked nose, with long ears and glowing yellow eyes.

Assignment

  • Complete the plan that I have given you. The plan for the Introduction is completed, but without full sentences. You only have to put those lines into full sentences.
  • Complete the 8 elements which will happen in the Body of your story. Try making them important, not about meeting people or playing. Like Ivan meeting his long lost sister, but she gets kidnapped by Bornak and he has to save her.
  • Complete the plan for the Conclusion. This is how your story will end.
  • Write your story.

3 Responses to “Advanced English: Creative Writing Lesson 1”


  1. 1 Mr Angry February 2, 2007 at 12:19

    What a great way to teach English – write creatively not just functionally. I suppose, as you point out, there are limits to what you can expect from 10 year old girls but you might be in for some interesting reading.

  2. 2 range February 2, 2007 at 12:59

    That depends, since they are my brightest students, some of them write interesting stuff. You have to remember that this is their 2nd language as well.

    I am not expecting Harry Potter.

    But thanks!


  1. 1 Advanced English Creative Writing 3 at memoirs on a rainy day Trackback on February 14, 2007 at 18:49

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