Monday, November 21, 2011

Looking for Story-Magic

I am feeling hungry for new ideas, new adventures, new stories.  I need - I want - some story carbs.  I want to get lost in another world. Something magical, something mysterious.  I want to fill my soul with story-magic.  I want inspiration for myself and my students.

So where to start.  I want the process to be fun.  I want to find some cool ways to create a story.  Along the way I had an interesting insight into my own reading choices.  Most of my free lance writing has been nonfiction.  Yet my free choice reading is heavy on the fiction side.  An interesting conundrum. So back to the question at hand, "How do you write great fiction?"

For the last month I have been asking myself what ideas would make a fun and exciting writing prompt.  I wanted a non-threatening activity that produced quality writing.  I know, you're asking, how does she spell "clueless"?

I was in Barnes and Noble  and found the book the "The Chronicles of Harris Burdick".  (I admit I may have been living under a rock and missed it when it first came out.)   There are 14 well known authors who each wrote a story about one of the pictures from the book "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick".  What a great connection - what a fabulous mentor text!  I think my intermediate students who like stories a little on the dark side will be thrilled with this book.

So then I started googling Harris Burdick.  I found  treasure.  Lots of people have been inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's illustrations and writing.  I found video's on YouTube.  I found music.  And I found animated pictures on the publisher's website.  I did an internet search and found some great lesson ideas.

I look over the collection, and ponder how I will put these puzzle pieces together.  I am reminded of the line from the Once Upon a Time Storytelling Cards (Atlas Games) "Not all fairy tales have a happy ending".  


  1. Treasure is right Ruth. What a wonderful B and N experience. Sadly, I don't get to our local B and N anymore now that I have my iPad. And look what you came away with and were able to share with us.

    I LOVE this web 2.0


  2. Love this! I was under that rock with you when that book came out evidently...I missed it the first time too. I just picked it up the other day and browsed through it. Now I will have to buy it. My mind is spinning with ideas. Thanks so much for sharing what you found. Definitely a bookmark post!

    Secondly, that first paragraph of yours was beautiful. "Story carbs" great phrase! I've been feeling the same way, so this really spoke to me. I picked up The Invention of Hugo Cabret for my carbs and am loving every minute of it!

  3. I too love that term 'story carbs'. I will have to use it with my colleagues! I imagine your students would love it, too. Thanks for all the Harris Burdick links. One of the teachers I work with loves all things Harris & will enjoy the extra links. She has done paired stories with this work, and used the beginnings of these new stories to help her students begin stories. I hope you'll tell us what you do with it. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I love when inspiration hits and unlocks a treasure chest before us. I like Deb love your use of story carbs! That phrasing hit home!

  5. I would tell you that I liked the phrase "story carbs", but I see that others have already said it!

  6. Another vote for "story carbs." This is a great book by the way - a wonderful new concept.

  7. That whole opening paragraph is captivating! What a wonderful idea to uncover. I was able to hear M.T. Anderson, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Allsburg talk about this book in a panel discussion at the NCTE convention. I will surely be blogging about it soon. I am so glad you found just the right book to fill your soul with story-magic!


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