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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Guest Post: Kids’ Workshop on Creating Stories by Hank Quense

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to a fascinating man, Hank Quense, whose new series – The Zaftan Troubles, (Strange Worlds Publishing, August 2018) – is a seven-part satirical fantasy series about the advanced alien species who steal resources from other worlds for profit. The books promise to delight, as does Hank himself. I hope you enjoy reading his story about creating stories!

Kids’ Workshop on Creating Stories
by Hank Quense

Several years ago, the vice-principle of a middle school asked me to talk to her seventh graders. Instead of doing the usual author gig of talking about my books and reading scenes (I hate reading scenes!) I decided to show the kids how I go about creating a story.

First, I came up with a story idea for them: Suppose their pet had super-powers. And suppose the pet came into conflict with another animal with super-powers. And suppose the conflict was over something like protecting pet’s family or saving Earth from an invasion of alien cockroaches.

The kids thought the concept was a great story idea and they were eager to write a story about the pets.

Next, I handed out three sheets of paper with colored text boxes on them. One sheet had character text boxes in green, a second had setting text boxes in orange and the third, plot text boxes in blue. I explained the text boxes were to collect ideas for the story. I took them through all the text boxes one at a time and telling them what kind of ideas they should write into each one.

Part of my talk emphasized that there were no bad ideas and one kid’s ideas weren’t better or worse than another kid’s ideas.

To my surprise, many of the kids filled the text boxes and kept on writing on the back of the papers.

Once we had worked through all the text boxes, I congratulated them because they had just created a story. All that remained to do was to organize the ideas into scenes and write down the story so others could read it.

My next step was to explain how to organize the scenes by showing the kids what text boxes to use in each of six scenes necessary to write the story.

Finally, I told them a few lessons to be learned from the talk. One, you can’t write a story from a single idea: you need many ideas. Second, the ideas have to be organized by character, setting and plot. Finally, the ideas are used to develop the scenes.

I’ve given this talk in a number schools and libraries and it is always wildly successful. I’ve expanded it into three separate story ideas for repeat visits to the libraries.

My appearances are geographically limited so to increase the number of kids I can reach, I built a webpage using a program called Padlet. With the webpage, kids can work on their own to create a story. The webpage has short video clips, downloadable handout and is ad-free.

Here is a link to the webpage: https://padlet.com/hanque/wwx4s8qsm9zw.

I think this webpage is one of my greatest achievements.

I can also use Google Hangout or Zoom to make a remote appearance to show kids how to create their own short story. If interested, contact me at hankquense (at) icloud (dot) com

About the Author

Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric scifi and fantasy stories. He also writes about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 18 books and 50 short stories along with a few dozen articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject.
He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas. To learn more, visit http://strangeworldspublishing.com/wp/.

Hank recently published Books 1 and 2 of his 7-part satirical fantasy series, the Zaftan Troubles, about an advanced alien species who steal resources from other worlds for profit. They’re available on Amazon – Contact: Book 1 of the Zaftan Troubles and Confusion: Book 2 of the Zaftan Troubles – and the rest of the series is scheduled to publish later this year.

You can see the video trailer here: https://youtu.be/NHMJ_XRzrtI

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