Horoscope Writing Exercise #SOL18

This writing exercise is a bit dangerous.

Several years I was the organizer of the Young Authors’ Event at my school. One of the prizes for the winners for each grade level was a writer retreat on campus. One of the exercises I started doing was the horoscope writing exercise. It is meant to be fun but you need to gauge the sensitivity of your community as to whether you want to use it or not.

Use each student’s birthday and categorize the students into their astrological signs. Print the horoscope for the day before the writing exercise for each student, or link to a GOOGLE Doc if you are using Google Classroom.

Students read the horoscope and then write and reflect if they think the horoscope was accurate or not. The connections students make to some of the phrasings of the horoscope can be amusing for them and the group. In a retreat setting, there is always lots of sharing.  Some students think the predictions are ridiculous and others will read into them to make them true!

Example:

Yesterday’s Horoscope for me was: (Courtesy of the New York Daily News)

JANUARY 15, 2018 BY: ERIC FRANCIS COPPOLINO

Acknowledge what you’re experiencing if you feel lonely or isolated, even if you have no reason to. You’ve embarked on a new phase of your relationship life in recent weeks, and a new approach is necessary. This calls for more commitment, not less; though you must invest that in the right people.

 

My rough draft: This horoscope was partially accurate for me because I was not lonely at all yesterday. I had lots of teacher friends in my office throughout the school day and I had great family time with my husband.  I am looking to make some changes in my life and have been thinking about it over the past couple of weeks. I am committed to everything that I am passionate about but I do need to make a list of 10 people I want to foster better relationships with.

These little pieces of writing can go into a writer notebook and can be seeds for other stories as well as a great conversation starter for your writers!

Resources:

http://www.nydailynews.com/horoscopes

Writing SuperPowers! #DIYMFA

The latest DIYMFA Book club assignment is to take the quiz and then reflect on the answer. You can find the quiz at this link: https://diymfa.com/storytelling-superpower

What is my SuperPower? I am a disruptor.

The characters I write are written to be complicated and to somehow change over the course of the story. I love to read stories with an internal piece. The internal dialogue of a character and how they are thinking and changing their behavior is completely in my wheelhouse. Therapy sessions, changes of paradigms and life are incredibly interesting to me. Even when I was young all my stories had a cryptic philosophy edge to them. I believe this is why I am drawn to short stories and poetry. There is an element of what is unsaid gently balanced with the stated. Short stories can be weird and that which is strange and interesting fuels me.

I try to weave different craft pieces into the writing but often to amuse myself. I believe in the ripple effect of actions and that comes through in my stories. I am always striving to learn and I want my characters to do the same.

I believe stories come to you when you need them. There are some experiences in my life that I hope to write when the emotion isn’t so fresh to be able to help someone else.

Other traits of the disruptor that I embody is that my goal for writing is to inspire in some way. I try to live my life to be inspiring as well, especially working with children. I want my passion for ideas and reading to shine through to help fuel that inspiration. I tend to know what I want in writing and in life and I can get hyper-focused to get there. This also means I can get obsessed. (insert sheepish grin here) Sometimes that obsession can distract me from everything else and then I forget my own systems which take more time in the long run.

Authenticity is a trait important to me as well. I can tell whether people are being genuine or not quite quickly. With real-life people and characters, if you aren’t genuine I want nothing to do with you.

What is your writing superpower?

The Impossible Writing Exercise

Are you tired of your students saying, “I don’t know what to write?”

A writing solution I have used multiple time with multiple ages is the Impossible/Possible writing exercise.

There is no build up for this exercise. Have the students write using the sentence stem:

It is impossible for

After everyone writes and shares in pairs or small groups use one and model how to make it possible. You can also use one that you write yourself.

Erase the period and add the word unless

It is impossible for pigs to fly. (original sentence)

 

It is impossible for pigs to fly unless you pick them up and throw them across the farm.

 

Students use this pattern to think of solutions of how to make the impossible statement true.

I use creative manipulation as much as possible le to avoid the statement: “I don’t know what to write about” Sentence stems work amazingly well for this purpose. As a writer myself, I use this technique when I am having trouble starting my own pieces.

Modeling is important. The students need to see exactly what you want them to do. Emulation is an important part of writing especially in a new genre or type or trying to build a trusting community and culture in your classroom or workshop space.

This activity is a great way to think about a situation differently.

 

#happywriting

Welcome to 2018!

5 on Friday

 

  1. My word of the year for 2017 was CREATE and it served me well. I wrote a lot of short stories and completed NANOWRIMO for the first time! The plan is to do it again this year. My new word for 2018 is BE. This word encompasses a lot and I will be writing more about it in the months to come. There are tons of possibilities with this word.
  2. The beginning of the year is always a cause for reflection and I have been thinking a lot about my situation and life circumstances the past couple of weeks. 2017 was a roller coaster year for me. There were lots of life changing events. The 2hr daily commute to work is wearing on my mental health so I am considering some other options. I have a few plans in the works so we shall see what happens. Stay tuned…
  3. Reading is still a bedrock of my existence and I will continue to read as much as I can. I have reached a bit of a slump and am really wanting some great literary fiction that has some depth. I have been reading a lot of new releases and have been disappointed honestly. I am going to try to read at least one book that I already own from my own bookshelves every month this year. I bought those books for a reason and need to be reading them!
  4. SNOW DAYS! I have been blessed with two snow days that extended my winter vacation. It has been glorious and I have been sleeping, spending great time with my husband, reading, planning,  and watching the MTV CHALLENGE series!
  5. APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE. I am so grateful for the true friends and family in my life.  There are many people I can really count on in this season of my life and I am so happy to revel in this fact. It has not always been the case. I have been making some new connections that are leading me to some great resources as well that will make me a better person overall. I have much to be thankful for!

If anyone has a great book to recommend I would appreciate it in the comments!

#happy reading