From Pieces to Plot - writercize #98

I recently purchased a fantastic game for my kids, one full of wonder, intrigue, cute graphics and, every writer's favorite, unlimited story-telling opportunities.  And it's sturdy.

The game is by eeBoo, a great toy company with all sorts of creative games, and it's called Fairytale Spinner Game.  If you have girls who like to use their imaginations, buy it!  If you have boys, well, there are still ogres and foxes and kings and they just might like it too if they can get past the giant princess picture on the top of the box.

Kids and their grown up friends spin to collect a hero, a rival, a helper, a magical object, a mean of transportation, a treasure and an enchanted place.  Once they have collected all their objects, they create a story.  I love how simple pieces and objects combine to create an entire plot, so I thought I would share one combination of the pieces (minus the enchanted place - you can make that up) and see what you come up with!

writercize:  Using the six objects in the photo to the right, write a short story.  

If the photo is not clear, you will be working with: magic feather, princess, ogre, puss in boots (or other thigh-high boot-wearing cat with a feather in it's cap), hot air balloon, golden tree.  Be creative and have fun with it!

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response.
writercizer sample response:

Once upon a time, there was a grotesquely tall ogre named Sam.  He stood taller than all the trees in the forest, had rather spotty teeth, and was quite difficult to dress due to his overwhelming stature.  Although Sam was not the most attractive sort with his lanky limbs, knotted hair and violet complexion, he was actually quite friendly and wore a crooked smile on his face.

Sam wanted nothing more than to fall in love and be a Daddy, but none of the women in the world seemed to understand his true nature.  They were unable to see past the physical imperfections into his warm, selfless soul.  For all the ugliness that enshrouded Sam, he had a heart of gold and a magical quality capable of lifting the spirits of anyone brave enough to love him.

Walking along through the forest one day, Sam ran into a cat stuck in the top of a tree.

"Cat, what are you doing up here?" he asked.

"Ah, well, I scrambled up to chase this bird I heard tweeting away, and I got myself in a little bit of a bind.  You see, I'm generally quite good at climbing, but this morning my mum dressed me in these ridiculous boots and hat and I just can't seem to claw my way back down.  Do you mind helping me?" the cat asked.

The ogre, a little disappointed in the cat for his admission chasing a poor, innocent bird, felt sorry for him stuck so high nonetheless and agreed to drop him to the ground.  In return for saving him, the cat gave Sam the feather from his cap.

"What's it for?" Sam asked.

"Ah, just a silly old feather so far as I know.  Makes the cap fancy.  There's an old family tale that says it's a magical feather, something about a genie in a floating balloon that will grant wishes to anyone who tickles their funny bone, but I don't really believe in such silliness and nonsense," the cat said as he ran off home to his family.

Sam yelled "thanks" after the scampering cat and continued his walk through the forest.  He held on tightly to the feather, daydreaming away about what he would wish for.  Really, if the feather were magical, which certainly it couldn't be, his wish would depend on how many wishes he was granted.  Usually, genies seemed to grant gifts in threes, but one never knows.  The ogre thought of money, of a wife, of clothes that fit him, of more teeth to fill out his smile, but mostly he thought of becoming a father.

Just for kicks, Sam decided to use the feather to tickle his funny bone.  Remembering that he had hit it on a table when he was younger and found it decidedly not funny, he quickly located the funny bone along his arm and tickled away with the magic feather.

"Fore!" the ogre heard a frantic voice coming from the skies just before he watched a rainbow colored hot air balloon crash into the top of the tree just in front of him.

"Hello there, lad," chirped a little man barely tall enough to see over the basket of the balloon. "Sorry for the mess in the tree, and for the noise.  Hope I didn't startle you too much."

"Umm, not at all," replied the ogre.  "Who, or what, are you?"

"I am the genie of the balloon, kind sir, and I am here to grant you three wishes.  No wishing for more wishes, no rain checks.  What will it be?" asked the minuscule genie.

"Well, what I'd really like more than anything in the world, sir, is a daughter.  Please, send me a daughter, and I shall be happy."

With that, a lovely young princess in a rose-colored gown and long locks of golden hair appeared in the genie's balloon.  She was an absolute beauty and seemed quite kind and full of life, and the ogre took an instant liking to his new daughter.  He looked at her and knew that his next wish would be hers, for giving her his wish was a perfect way to start looking after her.

"What a beautiful daughter for an ugly old ogre.  I shall take good care of her and show her the world, with all the beauty of art and nature that it holds.  I will call her Penelope.  Thank you, genie," Sam said.

He turned to Penelope.

"Penelope, I promise to care for you as the best father the universe has seen.  Please ignore my appearance, and look into my heart, for there you will find I want nothing more than to be a great dad to you.  As a way to welcome you, the next wish is yours.  Please choose whatever you like."

Penelope looked around out into the fields and towns below the treetop she was stuck in, and decided nothing could be better than floating above the world alongside her new father, exploring the earth and looking down at all the people from a bird's eye view.

"Daddy, genie, I think I should like my own hot air balloon to float through the sky in," Penelope said.

Sure enough, a second balloon appeared alongside the first and she hopped into it happily.

For his third wish, Sam decided that rather than clothes that fit or anything selfish, he should thank the cat who gave him the magical feather, and asked the genie and his daughter to return with him to the tree where the cat with boots had been stuck up high.

"Genie, I wish for you to make this tree into a golden tree, full of blossoming golden fruits for my feline friend to enjoy.  Please, grant me this wish and then on your way back out of town, as a favor, return the feather to the cat and let him know that I'll be waiting for him back at the tree where he met me.  He's a bit of a doubter, so I'd like him to see you in person," Sam said.

With that, the tree sprouted balls of golden fruit and the genie was off.  The ogre sat down next to the tree to wait, and Penelope picked an apple from the tree opposite the way to eat while they waited.

Moments later, the cat came along down the lane and found the ogre sitting there with his royal daughter, both looking happy as could be.  

"Well, I see the feather works somehow.  A funny little man just returned it to me, and said I must return to the tree straight away to see you," the cat said.

The ogre happily recounted his tale to the cat and gifted him the golden tree.  The cat appeared to have no regrets that he hadn't used the feather, coming from a generally happy family and now without any financial worries because of the gift of the tree.  Penelope picked apples from the tree across the way and they all sat down to share a picnic of apples, ogre, cat and princess together.  

And so they lived happily ever after, the ogre with his daughter and the cat with his feathered hat, meeting each afternoon for chuckles and apples under the magical golden tree.

1 comment:

  1. Delightful! A story I will read my daughter!

    Thank you for passing along the name of the game. It sounds perfect for my daughter who is just three right now but is already creating her own stories.


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