Summer Writing Journal: Week 5

Fortune: This is prompted by a fortune cookie my daughter opened recently to find: nothing. No fortune. Just air and cookie. Write three fortunes that might appear inside a cookie. Which one would you want the most?

Bugs: Go outside and find a bug. Draw a picture of said bug. Now add a few descriptive words or a poem, around the outside of said bug.

Comics: Comic time again. Draw another comic in your journal. If you’re looking for ideas, consider: restaurants, mosquito bites, camping, snow cones. Try writing about something that happened this week in comic form.

Haiku: Summer haiku time! Remember the syllable count: Five for the first line, then seven, then five again.

Sweat: Write down some descriptive words about sweat.

Yard treasures: Collect a few items from your yard, the beach, the woods — or whatever constitutes your world this week. Sketch them. Then write

Blueprints: Draw a blueprint for a craft you’d like to do, a game you’d like to make, a building you’d like to build, a map of an island etc.

Dialogue: Go back to your character and conduct and interview with him, her or it. Write out some questions you’d like to know and have the character answer in the character’s own voice.

Story time: Now revisit your first sentence for the story about your paragraph. See if you can turn it into a whole paragraph.

Fireflies: Have you caught any yet this summer? Write about how looking at them makes you feel. Do you think it would be fun to be a firefly? Why? Why not? You don’t need to use complete sentences if you don’t want to; just get down some ideas.

Drop and Give Me 10, again: That prompt from last week worked really well in our house, so here’s a reminder to see how week you can build a scene in 10 words or phrases.

Week 1 prompts are here.

Week 2 prompts are here.

Week 3 prompts are here.

Weel 4 prompts are here.

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Summer Writing Journal: Week 4

Drop and Give Me 10:  String together 1o words or phrases (or both) to set a scene. If you like this prompt, try it in different spots this summer: the beach, the pool, the doctor’s office, a restaurant, the car, your room, a tent — anywhere. For example:

The Pool

Non-greasy UV protection

Draw: Draw a picture of an everyday object. A pencil? A pen? A clock? Now add something fantastical to the photo. Wings? Eyes? Giant feet? If you’re feeling extra inspired, do the same thing with words: Write an everyday word or sentence. Add something fantastical to it.

T-Time: Mary Crockett and I had a blast making up slogans for Will’s T-shirts while we were writing Dream  Boy.  T-shirts are still on my mind, and this summer, I’m writing down the slogans I see in real life. (From a rest stop in New Jersey: The best way to behave is not to.) For this prompt, start your own list of T-shirts that you see. Option 2: make up some T-shirt slogans of your own. What do T-shirts tell you about the times you are living in? The people who wear them?

Character: Let’s revisit your character again and start thinking about a story. Write a list of problems that your character might have. You can pick and chose later.

You: If you had the kinds of problems your character has, how might you solve them? How would you feel about it?

A novel idea: Try a few different first sentences for a novel or short story. At least two should be for a story about the character you’ve been writing about so far. But you can throw in other potential first lines, too, for other ideas you may have.

Letter: This week, write a letter to somebody famous. Go ahead and stick a draft in your journal. See if you can track that person down and actually send the note.

Describe a person: Look around. Find a person you’d like to describe. Try to describe hair color, clothing, features, and facial expressions. Complete sentences aren’t necessary.

Seeds: If you could grow anything, real or imaginary, what would it be? Bonus: Go plant something.  A flower, a vegetable, an herb.

Week 1 prompts are here.

Week 2 prompts are here.

Week 3 prompts are here.

Week 5 prompts are here.

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Summer Writing Journal: Week 3

Week 3

Squash: I just like saying that word out loud: Squash. Go find a vegetable and draw a picture of it. To accompany your art work, I’m looking for a poem again, or else five adjectives. Do you like this vegetable? Do you have a favorite recipe to go with it?

Words: Invent a new word. It can be something grossish (that sweaty feeling you get under your armpits) or something happy (the feeling you get when you get a nice surprise).

Character: Remember the character you named last week? Now we need some description. What does your character look like? What did your character eat for breakfast? Complete sentences are not necessary.

Scabs: Summer and scabs go together, right? Do you have any? On your elbow? On your knee? Write a little bit about what your scab looks like. If you don’t have any, describe a time you remember falling down. Or sunburn. Write about sunburn.

Ice scream, you scream: Have you been reviewing or ranking any food items yet this summer? If not, might I suggest ice cream?

Serious thoughts: Even though most of these prompts are fun, there are times when we feel serious or sad or confused. I just wanted to mention here that any time you feel like writing down some serious thoughts — about the world, about your feelings, about how you would change the world to help other people — please go ahead and do that, too!

Letter time: With serious thoughts in mind, this time write a letter to someone who needs a boost. Maybe it’s a relative who is a little lonely. Maybe it’s a friend with a broken arm. Maybe it’s someone you don’t even know who is hurting in some way. Your letter doesn’t have to be long. Just a few lines will do. Drafts go here, but it would really lift someone’s spirits if you were to copy it over and mail it, too.

Week 1 prompts are here.

Week 2 prompts are here.

Week 4 prompts are here.

Week 5 prompts are here.

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Charleston: Some guided reading

I’m grateful to friends who have shared thoughtful words about Charleston this week as I continue to try to process things.

The three that have helped my understanding the most I’m sharing here:

A column from Gene Patterson, written in 1963, about the Alabama church bombing, posted by my friend Michael Sluss. I’ve read it four times. I will read it again. It’s here.

A poem, by Kwame Alexander, called A Thousand Winters, which I hope you can see if you follow this link.

And an essay on why we should speak about the unspeakable, brought to my attention by author Gigi Amateau.

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Summer Writing Journal: Week 2

Here are some more writing prompts for week 2. I’m going to go ahead and put it up now, as everyone’s summer is different. (Ours, for instance, hasn’t started yet. But in Blacksburg I’m pretty sure our friends finished school in May. Is that possible? May.) Prompts for week 1 are here.

Prompts for week 3 are here.

Prompts for week 4 are here.

Prompts for week 5 are here.

Mini golf: I still call it “putt-putt,” but having once worked for a newspaper under an editor who is in the Professional Putters Association Hall of Fame, I have learned there’s a difference. (Putt-Putt is a more serious business.) Anyway: This week’s prompt is to design a hole for mini golf. Make it as crazy as you want. Write down a few adjectives that describe mini golf. Aim for five. How would you describe the sound that the ball makes when you hit it with the putter?

Letter time: Everyone likes to get mail, and if you want to generate some, you need to send some. This week, write a letter to a friend. You can put a draft in your journal, but go ahead and copy it and really send it for real, too.

Flowers: Find a summer flower. Draw it. And let’s go ahead and write a short poem to accompany this one. It can be any kind you’d like, rhyming or not rhyming, or even a haiku. If you don’t want to write a poem about a flower, try a poem about a bug.

Characters: Let’s come up with a character you might want to write about this summer for a story. It can be a person, animal, alien, etc. To start off, just try out a list of names for your character. Think about why you’re choosing the name you’re choosing. Jot down a note or two. Complete sentences are NOT necessary!!

Stub hub: Have you gone anywhere this summer? A movie? Mini golf? A restaurant? The Taylor Swift concert? Attach a ticket or memento in your writing journal about the event, and talk about it. You can either write a summary (just say, simply, what happened at the event) or a review. In your review, you’re giving your opinion. It’s your opinion, so it’s valid — as long as you back it up and say why you feel the way you do.

Library: Have you visited the library yet? Write down a list of the books you checked out. And here’s a little spy mission for the next time you go: write down the name of a book someone ELSE checked out, too.


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