Since many of you talked about having trouble with beginnings and endings of stories, I want to share something that I do from time to time. It sort of unlocks the gates to let in the flood.
Writers, you have an idea forming in your mind but don't know how to begin. You've started once or twice, but are getting nowhere. Try writing the ending of your story first. That's what I do. I'm not sure if that's an original idea or not, but it works nonetheless.
So, just for the heck of it, write a quick paragraph about where you'll be ten years from now or (any other fantasy that comes to mind). Write your ending first. Don't take more than ten minutes to go back and complete...yes complete... the rest of your paragraph. You should have a much easier time getting started now.
Does my ending always stay the same? No. In fact, frequently it changes as my story evolves, but for whatever reason, it gets the ball rolling.
Teachers, do this same exercise with your students. It's a great exercise for the beginning of the week. All of the writing exercises that I share should be quick enough to finish while you're taking attendance, even if you're sounding out ideas as you call each child's name.
Teachers and parents, once again, with younger kids, you can do this exercise orally. In fact, you can turn it into a game. For example, your ending might be: And the squirrel ran up the tree and into his nest as the stars twinkled in the sky. Then ask, "What happened before that?"
Fooling around with words is what it's all about. Writing isn't scary when we pull out whatever gadgets we need to make writing fun. We're only just beginning to gather our supplies. I have to keep remembering which toolboxes I've used over the years!