Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tale-spinning or Head-spinning?

Brian and his classmates were asked to pick a random sentence from any book (his form teacher has an extensive book collection and her own mini-library inside the classroom). They then had to write a story using all the sentences chosen. These were the sentences, and they had to be used as they are, no addition or deletion of words allowed.

Tramplebone made me help him build the model.
from Measle and the Wrathmonk

Not everything worth keeping is useful.

What is it? A barbecue?
Magic Schoolbus

Miss Cackle's Academy for witches stood at the top of a high mountain.
The Worst Witch

We have to get inside.
Once Upon a Curse

Suddenly, the entire class seemed to rise up against the headmistress.

Asleep, my love?
Shakespeare Can be Fun

I didn't want to be sent to Principal Love's office.
Hank Zipzer

Violet was the first to see the colorful blur.
The Slippery Slope

And Epiphany had won.
The View from Saturday

The ceilings were so high they were filled with darkness
From the Mixed-Up files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler

Seth had probably accused her of not washing enough, even though she scrubbed her face every night!
Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star

And so, with a great deal of hustle and bustle, they did.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The little mouse finally wore me down.
Geronimo Stilton

I don't know what could possibly distract three pigs enough so that you could get away.
The Sisters Grimm

You told him Hades stole the bolt?
The Lightning Thief

Farewell, my friends. Adieu, adieu.
A Midsummer Night's Dream

After dinner, Barry's father didn't lose any time asking about the game.
The Hit-Away Kid


What a strange writing assignment. More a head-spinning exercise than a tale-spinning one, don't you think? I think after one look at all the unrelated sentences, I would have given up. Those who wanna exercise your creative juices, take a stab at this and let's see what you come up with. I think it'll be interesting to see the different stories that emerge.

This is what Brian came up with; the way some sentences were fitted into the story definitely felt forced, but I guess that can't be helped given the nature of the assignment.


Miss Cackle’s Academy for witches stood on top of a high mountain. It was a perfectly normal day (at least for those familiar with magic)…. until about noon, when the ground started shaking and the walls cracked. Miss Cackle’s Academy for witches fell off the mountain that it was on and crashed to the ground in a pile of rocks and dust.

A voice thundered through the air, “Who has stolen my Dark thunderbolt?” Almost immediately, a giant bolt of lightning blasted the rocks apart. Two students from the academy, Seth and Violet, survived. They climbed out from under the rubble and without looking back, started running away as fast as their legs could take them.

.....Continued here.


bACk in GERMANY said...

Definitely head-spinning, but an intriguing read!

Wow, Brian, it's a la Harry Potter and Greek myths. This piece of writing has certainly demonstrated your love for reading. I'm overwhelmed by what you've been reading! At the age of ten, I was probably still reading my Lao Fu Zi!!! ;)

Lilian said...

Brian's in school now, so can't thank you for your encouragement, will show him your comment later.

Kids these days have a wider range of books to read from compared to our time (long long long ago). But Brian also likes Lao Fu Zi as much as we did when we were young :)

My Gems said...

Great work, Brian! Any intention of blogging more stories in The Dark Thunderbolt blog? I'm sure you will garner a group of followers in no time!

Hi Lilian, I really like the way he weaved the unrelated sentences together. Requires a great deal of imagination there - marrying magic with greek myths. But the three pigs really brought on a smile. :)

Alcovelet said...

Brian, you have an amazing imagination and a great sense of drama. Keep it up!!

Lilian, these stories are wonderful. I love to read about what both Sean and Brian are up to - so inspiring!

Lilian said...

Brian, a boy of few words, thanks all the kind aunties for their encouragement.

Vivian: Don't hold your breath for more stories. He doesn't write for pleasure. I should know, cos I've been trying to get him to write in his journal for the past 3 years, to no avail. His creative juices only flow when given an assignment, and especially when there's time pressure. Otherwise, zilch. How?

Adeline: It's fun for me to read about what RK and the other mummy bloggers' kids are up to too. Kids are all so different, and all so special in their own way; sounds corny but I really mean that.

Alcovelet said...

Absolutely! Don't you love reading about kids? So fun and fabulous to see our young ones growing and meeting challenges. Hurrah to all their triumphs and even the mundane! To the spills, jia yew!

Lilian said...

Yep, really gotta enjoy the kids when they're young, cos so many things they say and do just surprise us or seem really funny. Unfortunately, as they grow older, we slowly forget to celebrate their little quirks.

Brian has asked me in the past why I was blogging much more about what Sean says and does and not so much about him. I explained that it was because Sean's still small, so the things he does and says are still novel and often unexpected. But that's not really right; I should make it a point to blog more about Brian, and not think so much about whether the post is blog-worthy or not. I'm sure the day will come soon enough when teenage angst starts and he'll be begging me to PLEASE STOP blogging about him :)

My Gems said...

Journal writing? Wish I can share some advice too. Truth is I'm just as clueless :P My last effort in starting Brandon on writing journal resulted in pages and pages of drawings. The journal now sits in his drawer quietly... :(

Lilian said...

Brandon's only 5! haha...Sean likes drawing in his diary too. What used to be Brian's journal is now Sean's cos I was fed up with it being abandoned for so long.

I once asked Brian's teacher why all his reading wasn't translating into spontaneous writing. She said not everyone who loves to read likes to write. I think I've read it somewhere before too, that we shouldn't expect all voracious readers to write lots.

Though that hasn't stopped me from scolding him in the past, "Read, read, read so much for what?, Ask you to write your diary can't even write anything!!" Yeah, my english is fantastic when scolding my kids :)

My Gems said...

Guess what? For the moment, I thought you had a high tech telescope that can hear and see what happened at my place! Ok, I know I'm not the only one :P

My requirement of his journal wasn't stringent at all - just the date and a word or phrase on how he felt that day. More like handwriting practices. Well, apparently he didn't like it. So, now we are into SERIOUS work - copywriting. His teacher

My Gems said...

His teacher keeps telling me that he needs more practices in writing chinese characters. Sigh, the Sg education system...

Lilian said...

Perhaps Brandon's Chinese teacher recognises his potential and wants to spur him on further. I've seen his Berries worksheets and he's sooooo advanced. Your boy will definitely excel in Sg's education system.

My Gems said...

Thanks for the compliment. I am really glad that Brandon doesn't reject Chinese. In fact, he wants to learn the language so that he can communicate with his grandparents. But Berries really does wonders for him. Now, I'm hoping the same miracle will happen on Cheryl too :)

Lilian said...

I'm sure Cheryl will pick up Chinese as fast as her brother. That's the one thing I kind of regret about not being in Sg; cos Brian was doing so well in Chinese(considering neither me nor my husband reads Mandarin) when we left Sg. Guess something has to give.

Sean, meanwhile, has missed out on the crucial age for picking up the language; he didn't have the XueNi, TienHsia and tuition that his brother had. He's learnt his hanyupinyin and some of the strokes, but no recognising of characters nor writing yet. A far cry from what Brian was doing when he was this age.

My Gems said...

Judging from your entries on Sean alone, you have absolutely nothing to worry. Given the opportunity to learn the language, he'll certainly catapult to an ace student in Chinese within a short time!

Lilian said...

Trouble is there's limited opportunity to learn. Language is something I feel you've gotta pick up when you're young, and the environment is important too. Attitude too of course. I'll be happy if the boys just have an open attitude about the language and learn to converse; and when they're older maybe they can learn to excel at it (if they are really interested) the way some Caucasians do (which I find so amazing). Not fair to expect too much, considering I can't even read Kindergarten workbooks!