Time to Write

Where do stories come from?

What shape can a story take?

Does your little one love to create? Summer camp is coming soon, so with the help of Word Wrestlers, a creative writing camp at UBC, kids explore the questions above through excursions and experiments. Writing with play in mind – using rhyme, repetition, metaphor, story-telling and the expression of sensory experiences – actively connects kids with language in fresh and unexpected ways.

Five writing experiments to get your brain moving:

  1. Anagram: An anagram is a word or phrase that uses all the letters of another word or phrase in a different order. is an anagram of Word Wrestlers. Use your full name as a way to generate phrases or words. Use these words, and only these words, to make a poem. Add a drawing, if you like, to make it a poem comic!
  1. On Complaining: Set a timer for 2 minutes. Start the timer, and make a list of things you love to complain about. Try for at least 20 things. Green beans. Socks. Bullies. Bed time. Then, re-set your timer for 5 minutes. Choose one subject and write a list of everything you know about that subject. Congratulations! You have made a list poem. (Remember: complaints are even better shared.)
  1. Object. Find a funny or strange object, small enough to fit in a pocket: a felted bunny, a star stamp, a roll of washi tape. Imagine the person who would carry this object around, and write about this character in a notebook: What do they look like? Where do they live? What do they wear, eat, dream? Why do they carry this object with them? Once your character has taken shape, write a 500-word story from their point of view.
  1. Time Machine: Choose a day in the future (20 years, or 40 or maybe only 13). Make a list of 20 detailed events that occur on this very special day. Let your imagination run wild.
  1. Neighborhood Poem: Walk your neighborhood with a notebook in hand. For every block, write a sentence. Each sentence must contain something you’ve noticed that maybe no-one else has, e.g. a neon green pylon, ruby-throated hummingbird, rain gutter full of soft pink petals, deer-hoof imprints in the sidewalk, soap suds from the daily fire-truck hose down. By the time you arrive home, you have made a bonafide poem!

Word Wrestlers is a creative writing summer camp for kids 8 – 12.


Inspiring Writing Through Play

We turn to stories and poems to be delighted, challenged, understood, transformed. Writing is a place for silliness and sadness, dread and hope, invention and exploration.

“Experience-based learning,” one of today’s education catch-phrases, aims to foster intellectual development by encouraging kids to express themselves through all their natural “languages,” including words, drawing, collage, dramatic play, music and movement. Writing with play in mind by using rhyme, rhythm, repetition, metaphor, story-telling and the expression of sensory experience actively connects kids with language in a fresh and exciting ways.

Time to write! Here’s five fun Word Wrestler drills to get your imagination moving:

  1. Pick a number between one and ten, or roll two dice. Everyone goes away and writes as many words as they can imagine which have that number of letters. E.g. Roll a four: deer, dear, feet, fart, love, … Kids can create a poem or story from these words, or use as a dictionary.
  2. Write a list poem of weird facts. Like, did you know a group of jellyfish is called a bloom? Or if Jupiter was hollowed out, Earth could fit inside it 1321 times?
  3. Take three sentences from a book you love, and use the words in those sentences (and only those words) to make your own ten sentences, repeating the words as often as you like and of course jumbling the order. Nonsense lines are okay!
  4. Write a sentence that includes a fact, and then follow this sentence with a personal statement. Alternate between fact and feeling, trying to build connections between the two, until you have a poem. Give it a title, read it to your friends! e.g. The world’s deepest postbox is 10 meters underwater. I am afraid of the ocean.
  5. Choose a colour. Make ten metaphors that blend the senses: Orange is the sound of my cat mewing in the morning. Orange is a burnt toast smell. Orange is how I feel when I get to stay up late and watch a movie. Draw on all your senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell) to bring your colour to life.

Word Wrestlers is UBC Creative Writing’s new summer camp for kids ages 8-12. The camp will take place on UBC Vancouver’s stunning campus from July 25th-29th and August 8th-12th. Learn more at www.wordwrestlers.com or send an email at wordwrestlers@gmail.com.

Word Vancouver

On September 23rd-27th, don’t miss Word Vancouver, Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading. Held during the last week of September at various venues throughout the city, the festival promotes books and authors with free exhibits, performances, and hands-on activities for a wide range of ages and interests.

Programmed authors include: John Vaillant, Aislinn Hunter, Arthur Black, Charles Demers, Emily Urquhart, Amber Dawn, Rachel Hartman, Ian Weir, Andrea Warner, William Deverell, Evelyn Lau, George Bowering, Grant Lawrence, and more; for children: Julie Flett, Robin Stevenson, Deborah Hodge, Robert Heidbreder, and more; comic creators: David Lasky, David Boswell, Julian Lawrence, Michael Kluckner, and more! Such a great collection of Canadian talent!

Free events will take place at various venues Sept. 23 to 27. The big festival day happens on the 27th in and around the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. Come hear musical performances, free readings and panel discussions, and take part in free writing workshops. Canadian authors and book, magazine, and comics exhibitors are all gathered to share a passion for the written word. Fun for literature and literacy lovers of any age!