Hi, my name's Dean and I live in the metaverse. I'm helping you out. All this stuff is good for you, will make you a better writer. I don't care if you don't believe me, I'm right, and I am the greatest sword fighter in all the world, I'm a hacker and pizza delivery guy too.

PART ONE

Getting into writing. - Loosening up the brain .... five things to start you thinking like a ficton writer.

The great thing about fiction, is that you can't really get it wrong. You create everything in it and get to control what happens and who it happens to. In this first bunch of tasks, we're going to get you writing stuff and give your brain a bit of room to stretch.

Activity One - So you think you can write?

Think about a movie that you liked. Start writing. Don't stop writing for 10 minutes. Write down anything that comes into your head about the movie - who was in it, what it was about, where you were when you saw it, how did it make you feel - anything that comes into your head ... just write and write and write. Don't bother to count the words, just get it down as it arrives ... don't edit, don't insert, don't back track.

Activity Two - Hacking the story

Here's a passage from Animal Farm - I want you to make some changes in the excerpt. Leaving the structure of the sentences exactly the same, replace the words with words of your own. (Guess you're wondering what sentence structure is?).

The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from side to side to find some place where they would not be trodden on. Clover made a sort of wall round them with her great foreleg, and the ducklings nestled down inside it and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar.

Activity Three - Messing with words

Go back to your first writing. Think about something you missed out. Now add it to the writing ... but ... don't use the letter 'e'.

Activity Four - Hacking the alphabet

Now you are on a roll with your writing ... start writing a paragraph about your film again. But start the first sentence with a word beginning with A, then the next sentence with a word beginning with B .... keep moving though the aphabet until you get to zeeeee. 26 sentences.

Activity Five - 10 words to kick a new idea

Take any sentence from the text in Activity Two. Now write a story (about anything) where you use each word in the sentence as the FIRST word of a new sentence. That is going to get messy-minded ... and that's the point.

PART TWO

Now you have got your creative heads flowing with ideas ... lets make some short stories - really short.

Writing a Mini-Saga

50 words is not a lot. With some discipline and creativity, you can say a lot in 50 words. A mini saga is a story that is told in exactly 50 words - not 49 or 51 but exactly 50 words. Many writers start their books using mini-sagas. They are great way to kick and idea without too much fuss

I hope this lens inspires you to write your own mini saga. Here are a few benefits of writing a mini saga:

Benefit #1: Writing a mini saga expands your creativity. When you have too many rules, most people give up!. When you have to put everything in 50words, you have to 'leave behind' a lot. That's where the creative juices start flowing.

Benefit #2: Writing a mini saga stretches your thinking. What will you write about? You have to think about topics that will fit in 50 words or squeeze them to fit in 50 words. That puts thinking on overdrive mode.

Benefit #3: Writing a mini saga enhances your discipline. Deciding what to write about, deciding what to leave behind and putting it in 50words requires discipline throughout."

Here are some samples.

He dialed the number again. It was wrong number. That’s three times in a row! Something was wrong. The number seemed OK. Just when he was about to give up, he figured out, he found that the last two digits were interchanged in his phone book. That explained it all!

John was a regular in that train. Today seemed different, probably because of Sally who was in New York for work. They started the conversation casually but both became very close in less than thirty minutes. They exchanged phone numbers, of course. John promptly called a day later – “Wrong number!”

That particular book had changed his life. He checked the price again. Thirty dollars! “It’s a steal” he thought. He wanted to give back something to the author. After thinking for a while, he decided to buy ten of the same books and sent one to each of his friends.
John never thought getting deals would be a problem for his new venture. He had a big network. Twenty meetings were setup in the first six weeks. Every meeting was good. Everyone wanted to know what John was doing. No one was bold enough to give him the first deal.

ACTIVITY 1

WRITE 2 Mini-sagas of your own and post them on your page. Then read everyone else's mini-sagas and find the one that you liked best. Copy the one you liked onto your page and underneath write a review in exactly 50 words. You have to say what you liked about it, what it made you wonder about and what might happen next in the story.

ACTIVITY 2

Now lets see how you go trying to write a mini-saga on a theme or idea. Here is a paragraph from Chapter One of Animal Farm. What we are going to do might sound crazy - below is what we call 'the text' - and we are going to hack it, though the correct phrase is 'deconstruct it' a little.

"Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it:
our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given
just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us
who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength;
and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are
slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning
of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is
free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.
Source: Animal Farm

Step One: Decide what the text says. This can be whatever you want, although of course in the case of a text which actually consists of text it is easier if you pick something that it really does say. This is called "reading". For example, it does not say that Hanna Montana lives in Montana. In one sentence, tell me what is happening in the text.

Step Two: Identify within the text something that stands out. This can be either something which is described or referred to by the text directly or hinted at. Just one sentence, what is it saying to you?

Step Three: Think about the opposite view - what is NOT being said in the text. At times, what we write in worlds isn't what we mean. Think about how people say crazy things like "Oh! Your so smart" and actually mean - your stupid. If it is only text and you can't hear them ... the real meaning isn't nice. Here is how to practice thinking about the opposite. Take this mini-saga and re-write it from the opposite perspective.

He dialed the number again. It was wrong number. That’s three times in a row! Something was wrong. The number seemed OK. Just when he was about to give up, he figured out, he found that the last two digits were interchanged in his phone book. That explained it all!

Step Four: Imagine there was another group having a conversation at exactly the same time. They had the opposite view. Go through the text and re-write it as a mini-saga, but from with a completely opposite meaning. Here is a tip ... try writing a summary of the text, using what you have noticed and identified in step one and two to help you write it ... then re-write it using the opposite view

PART C

In this activity, students will analyze traditional rhetorical strategies of persuasion.

Students compare Old Major's speech calling for justice with Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream."
Link here to the MLK Speech

To keep it bubbly, make two lists using KEY ideas from both speeches. Match up the BIGGEST idea in each speech and explain why you think they are saying the same thing. Next identify the sentences that contact the biggest persuasive words. Compare two sentences from each speak and explain why they have similar meaning. Why do these speeches make us to agree or dissagree? (hypothasis)

PART D

The power of persuasion

Have a look at this video from Lily Allen (called 22).

Pay attention - and watch it only ONCE as you watch and listen think about what she is saying. Write down any words that come to mind as you watch.

  1. What is the big idea in the song?
  2. What is the opposite of that idea?

Step Two:

Imagine that Lily isn't a singer at all.

She lives 100 years in the future and is a youth-politician in a world where the government has decided that everyone under 22 are pretty-minded party heads who should have endless parties and enjoy themselves. They live in special suburbs where you don't have to work and everything is free.

When you turn 22, the government just gives you a job - you don't get a choice, they just decide.

Not everyone gets a great job, but the government says that is a fair trade off for all the free parties, clothes and entertainment they had until then.

Write a speech that Lily could give to the party-heads that to convince them that life won't be over at 22. if they took more control now. Would it be worse, or better?