Monthly Archives: March 2011

You are the Main Character!

Hello everyone in blogging land!

Welcome back to yet another week of blogging.  This week is going to be a bit different as it will help place yourself in the role of the main character.  This will be good practice for your children’s book -no matter if you’re an author, editor or illustrator.  This coming week will be full one of writing so let’s get those creative juices flowing now!

Today’s exercise should help you to refine your writing ideas. Before you begin your assignment, please tell me which book you’ve read this week – its title and its author.  (That’s it–I don’t even need a summary this week!)

Here’s your assignment: Pretend to be the main character in your book (give me your name – the name of the main character in your book). Answer the following 7 questions in the role of that character: (don’t worry-some of them may only be a sentence long)

1. What was your problem or conflict?

2. How did I immediately act or react when I realized I had a problem or conflict?

3. What did I think about before I decided what to do about the problem?

4. What actions did I consider?

5. What choice did I make?

6. What choice do I wish I had made?

7. What was the consequence of my choice?

I read the book “The Last Battle” by CS Lewis.  There do happen to be  a lot of characters to choose from so I’ll choose to act as King Tirian, the king of Narnia when this book takes place.

1. The problem is that evil things are starting to happen in Narnia.  Aslan has not been seen for many years and a imposter pretends to be Aslan but does evil things (clearly not how Aslan normally acts). Then begins the battle to overthrow the evil in Narnia.

2. At first I believed the story that Aslan had returned and was quite excited, but then something seemed off to me and I realized that the person pretending to be Aslan was actually doing things that Aslan wouldn’t –like killing creatures and chopping down talking trees. I immediately grabbed my sword so that I could take care of those harming my friends and my citizens.

3.  I thought about investigating if it might be true or not, as unlikely as it seemed.  But when I saw two Calormenes beating a talking horse, my rage and indignation came over me and I gave no thought to it and rushed forward and killed them.

4.  This was the start of my actions in which I tried to defeat the evil that had taken over the land of Narnia.

5. I did feel bad about killing the two men so I went back and surrendered and agreed to be tried by Aslan.

6.  However, this only got me beat up and tied to a tree as I soon discovered that this was not the real Aslan at all and I began to wish that I had not tried to do the right thing in surrendering.

7.  It was only when I was defenceless that I was able to call on the real Aslan to come and save Narnia.  I didn’t even wish for myself to be saved, I just wanted what was best for my country. It was only then that I called for the helpers from the other world (the children) to come and help save us. And shortly after that they arrived!  Together we worked to expose the fake Aslan and bring justice back to Narnia.

Remember that a story always focuses on how individuals deal with conflict. Hopefully by completing this assignment you’ll be better able to identify conflict and/or problems in your book and explore your own conflicts. This in turn should help you with identifying connections you have to your book.

As always, you have the rest of the period to finish your assignment. Remember to click on “publish” when you’re done ..

Then just relax and enjoy the weekend!

Love, Miss Esselink


Sender unknown

Hello everyone! We’re going to try something different this week. This week, I want you to give me the name and author of your book and then just a short blurb (2-3 sentences) about it.
THEN…. Instead of a connection, I want you to pick 3 out of the following 7 questions to respond to.

1. Which characters in your novel do you like OR dislike? Why?

2. Which character would you most like to have as your friend? Why?

3. If the main character were in our class, how would he or she fit in?

4. How does the setting of your novel compare to our community?

5. What are two of your criteria for a good book? How does the novel that you’re reading rate using your criteria?

6. What is your favourite line in the novel? Why?

7. Write about something that author did that you might try in your writing.

Got it?
Here goes my response:

The book I am reading is called Sender Unknown by Sallie Lowenstein. It is about a guy named Mark that has just bought his first house. He appears to be super smart and because of his job as a “fix-it guy”, he is very rich. The odd thing is that every day in the mail, hundreds of catalogs show up and he can’t seem to cancel the subscriptions. This is going to be interesting!

1. I dislike Elliot who is hired to be Mark’s personal organizer. He is a bit arrogant and seems to think that his way is always right.  I know this because he forces Mark to go shopping for furniture for his new house (even though Mark is content without furniture).  Then he is appalled when Mark takes him to this dumpy little furniture store.  Elliot seems like the kind of guy to whom brand names matter and under no circumstances would he ever be found in the wrong part of town.  The good thing is that Mark is able to stand up to him and is able to show Elliot that he doesn’t always need to be so serious but can have fun too. I agree with that way of thinking!

4.  The setting of the novel does remind me  of any ordinary community.  There are houses and cars and trees.  But very quickly you realize that things are not what they seem.   Grade one students are doing video-editing projects and many things are computerized.  Also, Mark goes to a bookstore to buy a copy of Mother Goose nursery rhymes and the cost is $150 and the book is torn and falling apart.  The owner tells him that “they are not publishing the book anymore, not even as an interactive.” Interactive? What is that? I’m guessing that this book must take place in the future –funny how I didn’t even suspect it until chapter 3.  It’s going to be cool to see how similar their community is to our world.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

6.  My favourite line in the novel is when Mark says that he need to take a shower to wash off the “perfection of success”.  I like this because it seems like a perfect way of  expressing Mark’s frustration with his life.  I wonder if he is really happy with all of his success.  I don’t think that success makes us happy although sometimes, it sure seems like it might make our lives easier if we won a million dollars or a new car.  I also think he must find it hard living up to the expectations of others and how they think he should be and I too agree with that.  Living up to what other people want us to be can frustrating and then disappointing them can be even more painful.  I hope that Mark is strong enough to just be himself.  I think he’ll be happiest then.

Now it’s your turn.  Tell me the name of your book, the author and a short blurb.  Then pick any three out of the 7 questions and answer them. Got it? Now get to it! Remember that this is due by the end of the class.

Looking forward to reading your blogs this weekend,

Love Miss Esselink