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Oodles of Doodles

Updated: May 23, 2022

One of our three rules of StorySpinners is that no one HAS to get involved. Anytime someone doesn't feel like joining in, that's fine - there's always the option to read, write, or doodle on their folder. And everyone LOVES the doodling!

It's lovely to see what they create when they have complete freedom to express themselves, and it's an important part of the creative process. Many authors doodle, draw, or free-write, and it can really help with writing your way out of a plot hole, or even writers' block. In that vein, I came up with our task for week 2.

Something I talk about often, at events, and school visits, is the power of asking questions when it comes to idea generation, particularly the WHAT IF...? line of questioning. This week, we took this to the next stage, taking inspiration from a 'what if' book: Jelly, by Claire Rees. (PLease be aware, that this is a Young Adult book, so it's not one I'd recommend for younger readers. However, it provides an excellent premise for stepping off from.)

With a half-formed jellyfish in tow, I asked the students to be stranded on the creature, three at a time, in the middle of the vast ocean. And then we asked them questions:

  • How did you get there? (A marvelous variety of ways)

  • What do you eat? (One or two gruesome answers here!!)

  • How will you escape? (ditto)

  • What is it like on the jelly? (bouncy, smelly, boring!)

Whilst we were bombarding the stranded jellyfish dwellers with questions, everyone else was invited to draw more tentacles to bring the cnidarian to life. The doodlers took this to the next stage and added food to the drawing as well as potential means of escape (and one Among Us crewmate for good measure!), pictorially helping those stuck there.

This unconventional Q&A session was great fun (for me as well!), but importantly, allowed the students to participate within their own chosen boundaries and preferred mode of expression (verbally, visually, or not at all, although as it happened, everyone wanted a go on the jellyfish!). Here is the finished version of the jellyfish in all its augmented glory:

Get involved!

If you'd like to follow up on the StorySpinners sessions, help promote creative writing at home, or join in yourself sign up to my author mailing list, where you'll get all sorts of bonus challenges, subscriber-only content, and news.

And if you'd like to know more, get in touch here

Until the next time,

Happy creating!

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