young authors….

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The boy has a creative mind. Yet his ability to translate his ideas to paper has always been a trouble spot for him. When the doll was younger, she wouldn’t go to bed unless her brother told her one of his “stories”. In an effort to help save those stories, I purchased a box recorder-hoping he would dictate his ideas onto tape, to transcribe later.  This took all the fun out of creating the story, he said. He preferred to keep them to himself. Every now and again he’ll tell me about the new “book” he’s working on.  Every character has a special ability or knows how to manipulate something to make them stronger. Each character is known for being different.

May 17, 2006: The boy’s class was working on a “Young Authors and Illustrators” paper. The local PBS station, in conjunction with Reading Rainbow television show, sponsors a contest each year for different age groups. The boy’s first grade teacher approached me after school one day and asked, “I know your husband does a lot or reading to the boy. I was wondering if he could be repeating anything your husband may have read to him.” Honestly I could not say. The reason for her concern was not so much because he’s “writing” a story, but rather, if this was truly just the boy’s idea, “I think we have next years’ winner. It’s that good…I think you’ll be blown away!” Without giving much away, Dylan let us in on the general plot line…A dragon, a griffon (I’m still trying to figure out what a griffon is), a rat and a boy named Eric on a trip to New York City. Until we had it read to us, we couldn’t comment for sure.

 The big night arrived when the boy would reveal his Young Author’s story to us. His teacher planned a nice dinner (pizza), entertainment (A local librarian storyteller) and a chance for all the kids to read their stories. The boy was the third student to read his story, but because he had written such a long “book” he and his teacher took turns reading every four or so pages.  In comparison to the other students, the boy’s book was 27 pages, while their books were closer to ten. His teacher was correct. We were blown away by his story telling skills. Now mind you, his imagination is always on, but he’s not always forth coming with what’s he’s thinking. As for comparisons to any other books his father has read to him, there are some similarities….the beginning location (the dragon’s cave), the problem facing the location (flood) and one character (rat). However the rat does things in the boy’s version completely different and how they solve a common problem is also different. So…we’re saying he borrowed from Dragon Riders, but wrote a companion piece to that book. Still, for a six year old, this is quite an impressive feat; if you ask me.

 The name of that story is “Redwing the Dragon” which we immediately packed away for safe keeping until he’s old enough to appreciate what he created. Since then, over the years, we’ve talked at length on how to flesh out characters first, create an outline of story ideas and then try to merge them all together.  So far, he’s kept all the ideas pretty much to himself. On occasion he’ll give me or his father some small insight for us to comment upon, but mostly they remain inside.

I hope someday he graces the world with his wonderful storytelling skills—not just off the top of his head. He told me the other day, his classmates enjoy when he gives them information about obscure things. That’s my encyclopedic minded child. Perhaps one day, through the help of a good teacher in high school (CCHS), he’ll allow the rest of the world to see what a great storyteller he can be.

Happy b-day bay!

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