Words. They can help to elaborate on or describe a character or their actions, they can capture a mood, highlight a feeling…but what if words elude you? What if, however hard you try and however many times you use thesaurus.com, you keep recycling all of the ones you are most comfortable with? What if all of your stories and the characters in them start to sound the same?
Time to shake things up a bit! In one of my writing classes, we decided, literally and figuratively to build a character from scratch. We created our own magician’s pets using modelling clay and a lot of imagination.
The pet had to have three distinct parts: the head of an animal or mythical beast, the body of something else and the feet of another creature. Students then drew their creature, gave the pet a name and built a miniature version of it out of clay/plastercine.
Here are some of the ideas students came up with:
-a Sharkasaurus: a creature with 2 panda heads, 3 horse legs and the body of crocodile.
-a Duckle: a creature with the head of a duck, the body of a turtle and cat’s legs.
-a Flabuzzle: a creature with a dinosaur’s head, a bee’s body, flamingo legs and a peacock’s tail.
-Pinky Pie: a creature with the head of a wolf, the body of a duck and dragon’s legs.
-a Driggy: a creature with a dragon’s head, a pig’s body, and 20 chicken legs.
Building these mini monsters helped everyone to develop their vocabulary and discover some fine and intricate details that they could use in their writing. Nobody was at a loss for words when they were asked to describe them.
We all kept our mini pets close by and made them the centre of their own stories in days to come as we explored how to train them, what to feed them and what kinds of trouble or adventures they got into with their magicians!
Why not try this when you are at a loss for words? Build your very own mini magician’s pet and make it the centre of an adventure story! Feel free to post and share your creatures below!