With the recent publication of Missing, and the realization of how easy the process is, I decided to write a book especially for my students with a goal of having a finished product in their hands by the end of the school year. This way, we could actively discuss techniques like snapshots and exploded moments in a manner that was (hopefully) meaningful to them. Making it meaningful and relevant, was another challenge. What would I write about? Should I shoot for Newberry material? Or something more mundane?
The answer: ask them what they want to read about. I had a captive audience; they were more than willing to brainstorm ideas for stories that interested them.
So I did. Last week, I did a lesson on story elements: what to include in a narrative. We discussed characters, setting, problems and solutions. Then I had them brainstorm a list of characters and problems that character might have. What resulted was an eclectic list of ideas that would never have occurred to me on my own.
Since then, I have selected several of the ideas and begun hashing out a plot. I won't give away much at this point, but let's say that bacon will play a prominent role.