Hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything different. I’ve had an exciting summer and an incredible fall, full of unique experiences I hope to share with you over the coming months.
Welcome to Friday’s Featured Author. This week, I have a surprise for you. One of the best parts of being a teacher is seeing the results that happen when you’ve done your job well. Tracy Champagne, a teacher at Char-Lan District High School and one of my former students, invited me to visit her grade 7 and grade 8 English classes to talk about writing. I decided that while talking is great, doing leaves a lasting impression, and as every aspiring writer knows, publishing is best. Basically my own variation on Give a man a fish versus teach a man to fish.
So, I promised those aspiring writers, and those who weren’t, that I would publish their creations on my blog and here they are. Some showed more promise than others, but it’s our differences as Canadians that make us great. While we need writers, we need mathematicians and scientists, too. To all of the students I say, job well done!
Flash Fiction was the topic for the day. While you or I can crank out more than 5,000 words a day, I figured a bit less was a better fit for these twelve and thirteen-year-olds.
What is Flash Fiction? Essentially, it’s fiction that is short—anywhere from a few words to 1,000—and is complete. It doesn’t have to resolve the issues in it, but it has to leave you with something.
After making sure that the students understood the difference between fact and fiction, I began my ‘lesson’ with the drabble, an extremely short example of Flash Fiction. This one is credited to Ernest Hemingway:
For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.
What a wealth of meaning can be conveyed in six words. We talked about the piece and what it meant. I must say, I was surprised to see that most of the kids had positive reasons why the shoes might not have been worn—wrong size, wrong color, didn’t fit right, etc.
Then I gave them the opportunity to write their own Flash Fiction—not with six words, since that would be way too hard, but using 50 to 100 words—some gave me far more than that. Since we all know young people get bogged down in the details and need more direction, I gave both word and picture prompts. For the words, the first five of which I’ve underlined in each selection, they had to choose one for each of the six categories:
- A color
- A time of the year
- A word related to weather
- The name of a person
- A day of the week
- Any other word they’d like
And here is the picture I gave them. That’s right, the cover from Hello Again. After all, I was there as a writer. They needed to see I’d published something.
The students were divided into groups and told they had 25 minutes. Here’s what they accomplished. Please note, they love cliffhangers! I would love to see what these stories would look like is they were continued. Lots of imagination and creativity here as well as a little Hollywood Magic—The work has been edited slightly. I’ve categorized them and given titles to those that had none.
To the students, apologies if I misread your words because of spelling or penmanship.
Please note: for reasons of privacy, there are no names on the work. Examples come from both grades in no particular order.
# 1 The Close Call. (Adventure)
“Jason, get up! It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means!” Ann shouted up the stairs
“I know, Ann. The big meeting at work,” Jason growled.
“It looks pretty cloudy outside today,” Ann said, sounding quite concerned.
“That’s because it’s spring, honey,” Jason said, coming down the stairs.
They jumped into the car and pulled out of their laneway.
“Can we turn on the radio? I’m getting nervous,” Ann asked.
“Weather Alert! Tornado warning! Tornado warning!” the radio blared.
The winds picked up instantly. Now that she looked out the window, Ann could see the faint outline of a black tornado forming.
“Step on it, Jason!” Ann screamed, panicking.
The tornado zoomed by, but Ann and Jason made it to safety in time.
“That was a close call,” Jason said, relieved.
# 2 Spaghetti Squash (Paranormal)
It rained a lot that fall, especially that Tuesday. I’ll never forget that day. I was wearing my new, blue dress, because I was going out to a spaghetti squash dinner with my friend Berrycloth. Spaghetti squash is our favorite.
But wait! There was a noise. We looked out the window and saw a tornado. No! … Wait! It was a wolf-nado, a tornado of wolves coming right at us.
I turned to Berrycloth and screamed, “What the heck is going on?”
“There’s something I haven’t told you,” Berrycloth answered. “I’ve been cursed by the wolves and now they’re coming after us, but I know how to stop it. Grab the spaghetti squash and follow me.”
I snatched the squash and we darted out of the building, and that’s where our story really began…
# 3 Texas Storm. (Adventure)
It was a special Saturday for the boys that Easter weekend, and they were partying in Texas. Harrison wore his lucky orange shirt, but he wasn’t lucky this time. On his way home, he turned on the radio in time to hear the alert. He was heading into a hurricane. The weather got worse and he started to panic. Suddenly, he swerved and went off the road…
# 4 Icicles and Accidents: (Horror)
One dark and snowy Friday the 13, 1998, during the winter, the cars were frozen solid, their sides white with salt. It was so cold, Terry was crying, and an icicle formed in his nose. He was attacked by Jason who pulled the icicle out of his nose, stumbling back onto the road where he stepped in a hole and was knocked over by a car. Terry ran off but fell going down the stairs.
# 5 The Jumper Zombie (Horror)
In a helicopter, there was a man in a black shirt and a girl in a gray shirt. It was Tuesday, October 11th, 2080 a stormy day, a day to avoid the Zombie Apocalypse. Jimmy had to save her. There was a jumper zombie with a twelve-gauge shotgun on the hilltop. He fired and the helicopter went down. The zombie died from the recoil from the gun and the debris from the helicopter. …
# 6 The Tylers (Adventure)
It was a black, stormy Friday during the summer. Two people, both named Tyler, were chasing a tornado with their wolf named Tyler, too. The woman Tyler was sad for some reason, while the man Tyler was happy-go-lucky. The car got caught in the tornado, and landed on spikes, which blew out the tires and the car fell into the water. Now the woman was happy and the man was sad because the tornado had destroyed his car.
# 7 All About Me (Adventure)
One dark, stormy Friday in the middle of fall, Susanne Matthews was taking out the garbage when she spotted a tornado. It was very gray and was coming closer. Susanne ran inside into her basement and found the safest place to hide while she waited for the tornado to pass…
# 8 Coloured Rain (Fantasy)
One day, there was a boy named Paul whose best friend was Helen. When Helen saw Paul, she said, “Hello Paul, did you hear that it’s going to rain on Wednesday, March 11th?
“What colour will the rain be?” Paul asked.
“Blue, of course,” Helen answered…
# 9 Raccoon Snipers (Sci-fi with a touch of Groot and the Guardians of the Galaxy)
It was January second. The New Year’s activities were over. I sat in my purple chair by the window on this snowy Wednesday afternoon. Now that my beloved husband had left, I was alone with my plant, Roderick. My husband had gone to fight in the annual raccoon war. The raccoons had taken over this winter and now I sat inside with only a plant for company. Suddenly, I heard a noise at the window. Raccoon snipers!
“Be brave, Roderick,” I whispered.
I ran and ran while my glorious Roderick battled the raccoons. I never saw him again. R.I.P Roderick.
And that is where my journey began…
# 10 KFC Supper (Romance/Fantasy)
On Friday, September 15, Jeff and Olivia were at KFC having a romantic supper, looking down at the blue chicken It was a very windy day. Later that night, their dog started barking at the window. Jeff and Olivia went to the window and saw a tornado coming at them. They ran to their basement and heard loud noises. Once the sounds stopped, they went up the stairs. Their house was the only one left standing. They were lucky.
# 11 The Last Man on Earth (Sci-Fi)
It is the year 4055 and I am the last person on Earth, with only my pet Roxy for company. I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Edwin Fugerison.
It all started on a cloudy summer day. The radio was announcing that there was going to be a massive storm, but I didn’t think it would get that bad. The sky was light brown, the wind strong and then, all of a sudden, there was a tornado. I ran to shelter and waited twelve hours. When I got out of the shelter, I knew from the destruction around that I was the only one left, I searched anyway.
On Saturday, I met Vironica who thought she was alone, too. We got together and had a kid named Jim.
That leads us back to today…
# 12 A Scary Pitch-Black Night (Horror)
On one scary Halloween night, a stormy night, a man named Michael Myers went insane because of a past tragedy. Some of his family died. A few years later, on a Wednesday, he hunted down the rest of his family. He was caught and put in prison, but he escaped and went after the rest of his family. He still roams around, looking for and chasing his little sister every Halloween night to this very day.
# 13 The Last Thing I Saw (Paranormal)
“Help,” I cried out on Friday the Thirteenth. “I’m tied to a tree while a big tornado was going on behind me with lightning crashing into the water.
Oh no. Someone’s approaching me! Good. It’s my best friend.
“Help,” I cried out again.
She ran up to me. “I have to leave before it’s too late.”
“No! Help me first.”
I looked back and saw a giant wolf. She walked over to me, and the last thing I saw blackness…
# 14 Tornado Warning (Romance/Adventure)
One Sunday, driving along in our faded gray car, coming back from our vacation, my fiancé Blake decided to turn on the radio. As he did, the radio warned of an approaching tornado. We acted quickly and hurried through the cold darkness to a gas station bathroom. We waited in there for a couple of hours, then decided to check outside. We realized the tornado had passed, and when we went to our car, we saw that it hadn’t been destroyed. We got in and headed home.
# 15 Halloween Night Walk (Romance/Paranormal)
On Tuesday, Halloween night, Becky and John went for a walk in the woods. While they were walking, all of a sudden, they heard a big bang. The wind started to pick up. When they saw the tornado, they started running imagining they saw a wolf’s head in the tornado. When they got back home, they were so tired, they collapsed to the ground…
# 16 Baby Shoes (Adventure)
One day, in April of 1966, a kid named Glenn went with is parents to a garage sale. They saw a blue pair of baby shoes. They had never been worn. While they were looking at them, it got really windy, which didn’t really surprise them since it was Friday the Thirteenth. Eventually, it got so windy and warm, a tornado formed. They had to run back home quickly because they didn’t want to be pulled away. Glenn ran back for the baby shoes and when he got to them, he saw a wolf standing nearby. Everyone was scared, but the wolf was nice. They took the wolf home and survived the tragedy. They’ve been together ever since. Later on in Glenn’s life, the wolf would save him again.
# 17 The Couple Stuck in the Typhoon (Adventure/Romance)
One day, while we were in Germany, my husband and I went on a hike. All of a sudden, the sky turned dark gray and the wind picked up. It was a Friday evening and the weather had been nice before it changed on us. My husband, Joe, thought it was just cloudy, but suddenly typhoon-like weather struck. I thought this shouldn’t be happening here in December when it was about to snow, but it did. Sadly, Joe and I were separated during the storm. I later learned he’d died. My life will never be the same after that day.
# 18 Cult (Horror)
On a Wednesday night, with a storm blaring outside, Susan was chained to a table. Her eyes fluttered open and she saw some strange people wearing red robes with symbols on them. They probably meant something to the people, but nothing to her.
Then one figure came forward and pulled off his mask. AS he moved toward her, a low chant started. The face behind the mask belonged to her brother, Eddie!
Before she could answer, pain spread through her starting at her ears and she screamed…
There you have it. From the wild imagination of young teens and preteens. Maybe one of them will be an author one day.