Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 20:06:25 -0800
From: lois szymanski
Subject: Re: Online mentoring... The Brainstorming Game

Hello Robert, Jessica, Stacey, Trevor, Andrew and Kelsey,

I had fun reading your story ideas. Brainstorming for ideas is a great way to come up with a story, and you have each listed some exciting story-starting ideas. Now you can take the step a lot of real authors take next, and play the "What-if?" game. When you play the "What-if?" game you look at the ideas you've listed and ask, "What if....."?

March 22, 2000

A boy who like to play on the computer

Wen he got on the computer he playd 3D dinosors
computer at my grandmother's house
I go there a lot.
I play against the dinosaurs.
I play against the truck.
I play against the bone.
I play against the A B C


When I looked at Robert's ideas I wondered: What if one of the dinosaurs came to life and stepped off the computer screen and right into Robert's room? What if a truck carrying dog-bones to the grocery store drove out of the computer too? What if Robert had to jump in and drive the truck? And what if grandmother came into the room? What would Robert do? What if Robert has even better questions to make his story come to life? (Whew! This is getting exciting!)

The "what if?" questions I asked are just to get you started. I bet you can each think of even better "what if?" questions on your own. Your questions will help you turn your list of ideas into exciting stories. Inside each idea there are so many stories to tell. I can't wait to see what you will write about!

Your friend,
Lois Szymanski

Robert wrote more "What if" questions:

What if?

The t-rex came to life and stepped out with bear in his mouth?
You have been pulled in the computer?
The bone came to life?
You want to go to the bone and thare wasn't no bone?
You want to go to the truck and thare wasn't no truck?
You want to go to the bone and the bone was a t rex?
You want to go to the bone and the bone was a ratr?


Mrs. Szymanski replied:

Hello Class,

I hope you had a happy holiday and vacation! You came up with some great what-if questions to start your story with. Now it is time to pick one or more of the what-if questions to write about. Put yourself inside the mind and thoughts of the main character. What would he or she do or think? As you build your story, remember this:

1. Every good story starts with a hook, that is usually a problem or a mystery that draws the reader in.

2. The middle of the story helps the reader get to know the main character better as the plot (or what is happening in the story) unfolds.

3. The end of the story solves the problem or the mystery. It makes the reader feel satisfied. The end is also called the conclusion.

I hope you have fun building your story. I can't wait to see what you will write!

Best Wishes,
Lois Szymanski


Wow! What exciting what-if questions to start your story! If the T-Rex comes to life and steps out of your computer you will be opening your story with two problems: How will the bear get away from the T-Rex? How will the main character (you?) get the T-Rex back into the computer? I can't wait to see what kind of trouble your T-Rex stirs up and how you will get him under control. Remember to solve the problem by the end of your story!

R.J.'s revision:

The Magic Computer
by Robert Lee Jones

One cold winter afternoon I sat at my computer in my playroom playing "3D Dinosaur Adventure." I heard a truck motor in the computer. Then I heard a t-rex. The sound was like thunder. The t-rex stepped out of the computer screen and landed on the keyboard. His tripped on the Y key and fell on the H. He jumped all the way to the spacebar and looked right up at me. He told me a secret and I was excited.

My new dinosaur friend invited me to come into the game with him. "Are you sure it is safe?" I asked.

"Yes, it is safe. Don't be afraid. Just follow me," said my friend.

I shouted to my mom in the kitchen that I was going with my friend and I would be back for dinner. My friend jumped from the spacebar to the F5 key. He took another jump and he went inside the screen. There he stood looking at me from the screen.

"Come, on, R.J," he said. "It's safe. You're magic now."

Suddenly I was shrinking in front of the computer. I walked up the keyboard and closed my eyes. I made a big jump and when I opened my eyes again I was in the computer! I could look outside the screen and see my room. I waved to my mom but she didn't see me.

I followed t-rex inside the computer. I wasn't afraid at all. We walked through the woods full of dinosaurs and tall trees. The dinosaurs were eating their lunch and they didn't even see us. They were plant eaters and they were eating leaves and grass. T-rex and I walked through the woods for a long time. We fished in the creek and then I remembered that I had promised my mom that I would be back for dinner.

T-rex walked with me to the edge of the monitor. I saw my keyboard and the mouse. I could see Mom making dinner and a special cake for me. I was hungry and jumped down to the F5 key and slid down to the spacebar. I could feel myself growing again. I was back to my real size and in my chair. Just then I heard my mom shout, "R.J., dinner time!"

I got up from the chair, went into the kitchen and sat down at the table with my mom, my sisters and my dad. Mom made my favorite dinner - hot dogs. I ate my dinner and no one knew where I had been. Dad asked me how my day had been and I smiled.

Mrs. Szymanski's comments:

Hi R.J.!

I loved your story! You had me hooked in the very first paragraph. The way you added details made me feel like I was really there. I liked the dinosaur tripping on the unfamiliar keys of a comuter, and I especially liked the way you even imagined sounds, like the truck motor roaring and the sound like thunder. It made it very real to me.

Your story started with an attention-grabber. Right away the reader knows that you are going to go into the computer, and into a strange dinosaur land. That's scary and my heart was racing as I read on. My favorite part was how the magic made you shrink to go into the computer and how you could feel yourself growing again after you had come home.

I liked that you thought to ask the dinosaur if it would be safe. I also liked the scene where the dinosaur jumps back into the computer and stares out at you from the screen. The entire adventure was a great one, and we learned a little about how that dinosaur land must be, leafy and green and with plant eating dinosaurs grazing like horses.

The end was super too. First of all, you kept your promise to Mom to be back for dinner. Then, you got a special treat, cake. And best of all was the way you simply smiled when Dad asked how your day had been. Wow! What a great story! I think you did a super job! Keep up the great writing work!

Your Friend,
Lois Szymanski


| home | greetings | new | kids | teachers | visitors | search |

Patti Weeg

March 22, 2000