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Reaching the Mid-point

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

In plotting terms, the midpoint is when our characters tend to move from a reactive to a proactive state. It's also the point where you might include a twist or a reveal.

We're halfway through the first term of the first in-person StorySpinners and the first week back after the half term, and all the platinum jubilee celebrations, so we began with a few games to wake up the brain.

Starting with a quick-fire word association, we then moved on to an old favourite: Fortunately, Unfortunately*. Both these games required the StorySpinners to think quickly and instinctively, allowing their creative brain to take the lead - there's no time for thinking up the 'right' answer, or the 'cool' answer (because there isn't one).

In order to move to a more proactive way of thinking, I then asked them to set some intentions for the rest of the term, answering questions such as

  • Why are you here?

  • What do you want to learn; what do you want to try?

  • How do you want to feel (when you're at StorySpinners)?

We then undertook a SERIOUSLY tricky challenge (and I urge you to have a go, yourself). I asked them to describe a forest without using ANY adjectives. Of course, this is contrary to what they are taught in school, where they are encouraged to employ liberal use of 'interesting' describing-words, but to do without encourages an even deeper level of 'showing' language. It was tough, but they did brilliantly, asking questions, exploring language, and ultimately coming up with some brilliant solutions:

The wood was filled with light - it was like a fairytale. In the trees, there were birds who sang as well as a choir. Leaves danced in the wind and there were bunnies and squirrels exploring, and a McDonald's 3kms away!

The tree's branches reached like fingers. This was the place magic happened. Wolves scampered along the forest floor and phoenixes fly at the treetops.

As you walk through the forest you get dust on your shoes. With all the branches, it's great for gymnastics bar work. There are noises and echoes. I want to get out of here.

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Happy StorySpinning!


*How to play Fortunately, Unfortunately:

Start with a character and either a setting, a character goal, or both (The example we had in the session was Mimi, who wanted to go ice skating). Then you take turns to add to the story, beginning your sentence with either Fortunately or Unfortunately. For example:

Mimi wanted to go ice skating. Fortunately, there was an ice rink close to her house. Unfortunately, it had been invaded by aliens the day before. Fortunately, Mimi was friends with the aliens, but unfortunately, they were not friends with her! Fortunately, Mimi was an engineer and built a new ice rink. Unfortunately, it collapsed under the weight of a thousand monkeys ...

and you get the idea! To have a happy ending, finish with a 'fortunately', and for a tragedy, end on 'unfortunately'. Of course, the kids always vote for an unfortunate disaster!

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