Today's Snack: Empty a CAN of tuna into a bowl. Stir in
a little mayonnaise with some chopped celery and onion. Spread on crackers or
whole-wheat bread. Mmmm! Enjoy with a glass of milk.
(washed out with soap,
pieces bent down or taped down)
all other scraps
gun and adult supervision
paper and No. 2 pencil
The better job you do of describing the characters in
your stories, the more captivating your writing will be.
task is to bring your characters to life. Even though you write in two
dimensions, you need to make your characters seem to your readers to be 3-D -
love people, with all their strengths and all their flaws. And some of the most
memorable "people" in stories aren't people at all! They are animals, machines,
trees, candlesticks, and all other kinds of "things."
variety of characters is truly endless. So be sure to make your characters
memorable, distinct and delightfully different. Then your story will be all
the reader want to spend time with your characters, even if they're "bad guys,"
just because they're interesting.
them interesting by "designing" them even before you write. Make a character
sketch - which is just a list -- describing what they do for a living, if they
are adults, or what their favorite hobbies, activities, sports or classes are if
the characters are younger.
are a lot of details that you can "mine" for your story based on the kinds of
activities and vocabulary that pertain to different kinds of jobs.
forget what they look like, what they wear, how they speak, how they move, what
things they have in their pocket or room. . . .
so that the reader knows that character well enough that the reader wouldn't be
surprised if the character came alive and walked into the room.
you develop your characters, it's a great idea to be a little bit of a copycat.
Make your characters fresh, new and unique, but use parts of other people or
things or characters to "build" your own.
do that, listen in on conversations wherever you go. What kinds of things do
they say? Maybe your character could use that exact expression.
attention to how people use their bodies when they talk to one another. Do they
lean in when they're asking a question? Do they put a hand on a hip when
they're irritated? Do they tug at their clothes? What exactly do their mouths
do? Mouths move the most of any facial feature, so you can show a lot of a
character's feelings by describing what his or her mouth does at some crucial
point in your story. You can use these gestures to show emotion and underline
the words and actions in your story.
Now take a plain, empty tin can, and create a character
out of it! Make sure to give him, her or it a name, and maybe a special power
or interest that might be of use in a story.
can character doesn't have to be human. You can make the can just the
character's head or other body part, or the whole body. You can turn it
sideways or whatever you want to do. You can invent an unusual way for your can
character to communicate or move. Whatever you'd like to do . . . you CAN!
Use the hot-glue gun to attach features, since regular
glue probably won't hold to the metal.
Once you're happy with your character, write a story
about him, her or it.
Then when everybody's finished, present your stories and
characters to the other students. This makes a fun activity to present to
parents and families, too.