November 13, 2000
Hi Mrs. S.,
My name is Heather. I'm 8 years old. If you could l was wondering if you could help me write a story about me. I like to ride my bike and I like to ride my 4 wheeler . I wish I could be an artist . One time I went to Florida.
It is really nice to meet you! I would love to help you write a story! You gave me a lot of good information about yourself. You can use that information to make your story special. When you are thinking about what you will write, think about the things you told me. Did you like Florida? What did you do in Florida? Would you like your story to take place in Florida? It would make a great setting. Or would you rather have your story take place at home, or somewhere else?
Maybe while riding your bike, or your 4-Wheeler, you saw something special you could share in your story. Can you think of anything special that you saw and would like to write about?
My daughter saw a baby octopus when she was in Florida last month. washed ashore inside of a big shell. Shannon and her friends carried it back to the ocean and put it back where it belonged. She said it was really cute and it kept waving it's llittle tentacles at her. Have you seen anything that made you want to tell other people about it? If you have, that would be a good thing to write about.
When you are writing your story, write about things that you know about. When you write about things that you know about it comes form your heart and the reader can tell you know what you are talking about. Add details, and description that makes the reader feel like he or she is inside your story. It's okay to make up some parts. That is called fictionalizing a story. If making something up makes your story more fun, more exciting, or a better story you should do it.
Some authors play the "What-if Game". After you see something and decide to make up a story about it you will have to decide what will actually happen in the story. Authors who play the "What-if Game" choose their idea, then think about how the story would sound if this happened, and how would it be if that happened. You can come up with lots of fun ideas by playing the "What-if Game" and making up lots of different scenes. Some of the ideas will be good, some will not, but it is fun to play the gqme and use your imagination, trying to come up with the best possible story.
Whatever you write about, do make sure you have fun with your story. Writing can be so much fun! I let the characters in my stories do all the things I wish I could do, but I can not. And while I am writing, it feels like I am actually getting to do those fun things. That is how writing should be. Fun!
I can't wait to read what you will write!
Thank you for the letter. I like what you said. That gave me a lot of information. When I went to Florida I saw a dolphin. The dolphin was jumping up over a little board. I went to Sea World and it was fun.
When I went to Florida I saw a big horse. I got to ride a horse. When I went to Florida I saw a big truck with horses on it. When I went to Florida I went to Animal Kingdom. When I went Florida I went to Disney World. I went on a big ride. My setting for my story is Florida.
It sounds like you had a lot of fun in Florida! That dolphin sounds like a funny fellow. Will you write about him in your story? You are already writing great letters, so I know your story will be very good.
I bet the horses in Florida were beautiful, and you even got to ride one! How exciting! Will you include the horses in your story?
Disney World is such an exciting place! There are so many rides, and shows, and people, all kinds of characters! That would be a great setting for your story. Maybe you could have your story take place in Disney World, or would you rather make it be Florida in general.? If it is Florida, you can have your character driving from place to place in the story. You have already figured out one big part of your story by having a setting picked out!
Who will be the main character in your story? Will it be you? Will you write a mystery, an adventure, a funny story? You have so many fun decisions to make. I love that part of writing a story... figuring out all the details!
Reading your letter made me want to go to Florida. It is too cold here for me! It will be fun for you to imagine Florida as you write. Hmmmm. Nice and warm. I will look forward to reading your first draft!
Dear Mrs. Szymanski,
Here is my story so far. I am stuck. Can you help me?
My Trip to Florida
I felt like I wasn't even in the car. People on the ground were everywhere and they were laughing. That's all I could see before I went into the water.
"Tyler, some day you will go to Florida with mom and dad. Maybe some day you will go to Florida and ride Spash Mountain."
Tyler, my baby brother, was born on New Year's day. He is still a baby so I watch him when my mom is doing something like taking a shower, helping my dad with his paperwork and doing laundry. l like to talk to him when I watch him and tell about Splash Mountain.
He likes me. I went to my friend's house a few days ago and Tyler was mad because I was gone. I picked him up when I came home and he went to to sleep on my lap. He did not wake up for 2 hours. Now he is 2 months old . Soon he will be 3 months old.
We rode on another ride but I forgot what it is called. The cart was a big circle. There was this one cart that if it hit the fire it would spin around a lot.
How nice to see your story! Your lead, (the first paragraph) is absolutely wonderful! It sounds like the lead to a book! I want to read more about that ride.
If I were to focus on one thing to help your story grow, it would be this. Your story is really two stories. You have a story about riding Splash Mountain, and you have a story about your little brother.
Your little brother sounds like he is a doll! How nice to have such a sweet little brother! I wondered if you could make it as though you were telling the story of Splash Mountain to Tyler? That is the only way I know to make two stories seem like one.
If you did it this way you could have the same lead paragraph. Then, in the next paragraph, you could say something like, "I looked down at Tyler in my lap. He was listening to me tell the story as though he was older than two months" or something like that.
You could continue to tell the story of Splash Mountain and Florida while describing how he listens, looks at you, smiles or coos. At the end you could put in your line that said, "Tyler, maybe one day you will go to Florida and ride Splash Mountain."
Let me know if you think this will work. If not, I will try to help you find another way to put your brother into your story. How lucky you are to have him!
I hope you're having a super day, and that all the flooding from last week is now cleaned up. Also, I hope that you don't have snow in Delmar today! I hope to talk to you very soon!
Warmest Wishes from Your Friend,
Dear Mrs Szymanski,
I made some changes. Can you tell me if it is right?
My Trip to Florida
"I felt like I wasn't even in the car. People on the ground were everywhere and they were laughing. That's all I could see before I went into the water."
I looked down at Tyler in my lap. He was listening to me tell the story about our trip to Florida and the fun ride called Splash Mountain as though he was older than two months. Tyler, my baby brother, was born on New Year's day. He is still a baby so I watch him when my mom is doing something like taking a shower, helping my dad with his paperwork and doing laundry.
l like to talk to him when I watch him and tell him stories about Splash Mountain. He loves me a lot and likes to listen to my stories. He smiles at me all the time. He likes it when I push him in his stroller.
I went to my friend's house a few days ago and Tyler was sad because I was gone. He would not go to sleep for my mom. I picked him up when I came home and he went to sleep on my lap. He did not wake up for 2 hours. Now he is 3 months old . Soon he will be 4 months old.
Tyler smiled at me when I told him about another ride that was lots of fun. You would that he had been there to see it. We were in a cart that was spinning around and around. Dad and I got water all over us. Our socks and our shoes were soaking wet.
As Tyler smiled at me I told him, "Some day you will go to Florida with Mom and Dad. Maybe you will even ride Spash Mountain like I did."
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April 9, 2001