I have just finished the first day of my Creative Writing Boot Camp with Dance Dimensions. The theme of the day was, of course, PIRATES! There were three different seminars. The youngest class was for swabbies from 3 to 6 years of age. After reading a “safe” passage from my novel The Pirates of Lobster Cove, we talked about novel writing and what makes a good story.
Afterwards we played a storytelling game where they chose a setting. They chose kids talking about pirates. Then they were given a series of nine images, one at a time they had to insert into the story they were building. Each time I repeated the story by memory up to that point we left off at and went, “and then?…” The next child would continue to grow the story.
Here are the words/images they were given in order:
Frown, Clock, Fire, Flashlight, Eyes, Magic Wand, Lightning, Flower, and Dice.
What follows is the story pulled from their collective imaginations.
The Tale of the Girl who Wore Her Smile Upside Down
by Brooke, Ava, Riley, Lylah, Sophia and Olivia
It was a humid summer day when the children came to play. All the talk was pirates which made them all very happy. That was save for one lonely little girl in the corner wearing a frown. All that she could do was look at the clock hoping that time would fly by and all talk of pirates would cease.
While the other girls talked pirate this and pirate that she looked anywhere but at them. It was then that she saw a spark in the opposite corner. The spark turned to flame and the flame grew into a fire.
“Look, look, use your eyes! Can’t you see the fire? Look, smell, can’t you smell the smoke? Look, smell, hear, can’t you hear it crackling in the corner?” she cried.
She waved her hands over her head and back and forth to get the attention of the only other girl in the group she called a friend. The girl always carried a flashlight that dangled from her belt. This was unusual since her parents never let her wander by herself after dark, the only time when a flashlight would come in handy. Still, every day she wore her “ flashi”e which made her stand out as much as a frowning girl afraid of pirates.
She turned and saw the spark, now a raging fire, and ran to her friend’s side. Suddenly between the two girls and the hungry flames appeared a wand, a magic wand they assumed since there really isn’t any need for a wand unless it is so.
“If we can just grab that wand we can magically make the fire stop,” the flashlight girl shouted all full of spunk. Before the girls could muster the courage to run towards the heat wouldn’t you know it, the very thing the other girls had been chatting about walked through the door. A pirate sneaked in and saw the magic wand on the floor, its gold glistening in the glow of the fire. “Arrr, that’s gold, me must have it!” He mumbled a laugh as pirates do, especially when considering stealing treasure.
He was able to grab the wand before the girls and felt its magic power and laughed. “Harr, this be better than gold. With this thing-a-ma-bob’s magic, I can find all the gold I want and that be quite a lot.” He cackled and raised the wand towards the ceiling to give it a whirl.
The girls cowered as it began to rain. Rain inside! If that wasn’t bad enough they could hear the threat of thunder rolling in. Then there was a flash as lightening bathed the room in white for an instant followed by an immediate boom that made all the girls in the room as scared of pirates as the girl with the frown.
The floor was covered with water. The only good thing was the storm snuffed out the fire. Now smoke filled the room which wasn’t much better but at least it couldn’t burn you.
The floor tiles then began to crack then peel away altogether and from beneath a flower sprung up. It sprouted full grown, a sunflower with a thick green stalk and a beautiful bloom of chocolate brown, butter yellow petals lining its face like a wreath.
It looked surprisingly like a wand the girl with the frown. To be fair at this time there wasn’t a smile in the room. She grabbed the flower by the base, snapped the stem, then pointed it at the wand-wielding pirate. He pointed his weapon back at her and sparks sputtered between them.
“Drat! This be a stand-off.” the pirate grumbled determined not to be beaten by a sad little girl brandishing a magical flower.
The other girl, realizing that if someone didn’t do something soon they would be in the smoky, rainy room all day, pulled her flashlight from her belt and aimed it at the pirate. With a flick of a switch into the on position, a powerful beacon of light cut through the smoke. It took the pirate all his might not to drop his wand in defeat.
“Two against one ay? Spare me you wily lasses and I will give you me pirate’s dice. They be magic as well. Just let me have the wand and I’ll be on me way.” Everyone knows that, save for treasure; dice is a pirate’s favorite plaything even if they weren’t magical. The two girls chatted together, all the time keeping the flower and the flashlight locked on the pleading pirate.
Unannounced to the pirate, Flashie’s batteries were low and soon the girls would lose the fight. They had to take his offer. They agreed and on the count of three they all lowered their magical weapons. The pirate kept his vow and gave each of the girl’s one die. The pirate chuckled to himself for in his mind the deal was far from fair. All the girls received were his magical dice; one roll of good fortune and that was it. With his newly acquired magic wand he could get infinite wishes. He could possess all the riches of the world. His life would be lined in gold.
The girls looked down at the dice in their hands and whispered to one another. The two girls turned to face the pirate. They rolled the bones and when they stopped, two single dots, snake-eyes looked up.
“Arr, so what be your wish? Diamond-encrusted tiaras? Stunning beauty? Eternal life? Puppies??”
“We… wish… we wish there was no such thing as pirates.”
And with that he girl from the corner, the one would could not find her smile, finally did. It was a smile most unpleasant, unbecoming for a little girl with a wish come true, was the pirate’s last thought.
And at least the girls lived happily ever after.