Thursday, 6 March 2014

Tweeting Traditional Tales
One of the three Billy Goats
I started to teach creative writing and writing picture books around three years ago. During that time I've experimented with different ways to encourage students to practice their writing skills. One of the methods I've successfully used is to encourage students to recreate old stories by using tweets. If you've never heard of Twitter (and tweets) the idea is to create a message using just 140 characters, including the spaces. 

So rather than cover a topic I've decided to set a challenge for the visitors to The Picture Book Den. 

Next time you have ten minutes free choose a fairy tale and become one of the characters. Create a series of tweets that tell that characters side of the story.

To demonstrate what I mean here is my retelling of 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff' from the point of view of the troll. If you've never read the story then follow this link.    

Woken this morning by a small goat trying to cross my bridge without paying a toll #angrytroll

This morning caught a second goat trying to sneak across my bridge without paying toll. Can't believe how rude goats can be. #angrytroll

Discovered a third goat attempting to cross bridge without paying toll. He even head butted me! #angrytroll

How do these goats expect me to stay in business? No toll, no bridge, no way to cross river to eat delicious grass! #angrytroll

Reluctant sale of bridge, been in family for generations. License to charge toll. High daily foot fall.  #businessforsale  

Note: Using a hash tag before a term allows other Twitter users to find your tweets by using the same term.

I'm hoping if you give this a go you can see how you can have fun with a well-known story, make it your own and practice your craft. This process may not lead to a published book but it does give you the opportunity to exercise your writing muscle in a fun way.

If anyone does give it a go please do share your results here. 



P.S. Follow me on Twitter and I promise to follow back @lynnegarner

P.P.S. The goat used to illustrate this piece is a free download (which I've rendered) from my website Anansi Spider Stories - if you have kids then please visit there are loads of free colouring pages you can download.    


Abie Longstaff said...

I love this Lynne! It's such a great idea and it really forces you to think from one character's perspective :)

Michelle Robinson said...

What a fun idea - and a good way to force yourself to keep it snappy. I can see it becoming a bit addictive, though - I'd have to limit my amount of tweets as well as characters!

Paeony Lewis said...

Lynne, what an intriguing and contemporary way of getting to what matters in a story, whilst also making it interesting.

Anonymous said...

This post is all kinds of fun. What a great activity to do with kids!

Jane Clarke said...

That's really fun, Lynne! Will be trying this out in school.

cat jones said...

What a fantastic idea. I'm definitely going to try it as a writing exercise. Cheers!

Moira Butterfield said...

Great idea, Lynne! I'm definitely going to try it!

cat jones said...

I gave it a go, though not on Twitter, yet...

So insulted. Went to market today and my owner sold me for one penny! New owner has silly name. The lad is called Dick Whittington. #Dickwhittington’scat

Exhausted! Spent night catching rodents. Slept all day on Dick’s bed. Dick is treating me well, so far! #Dickwhittington’scat

Can’t believe Dick has given me away. We were getting on so well. Now at sea on big ship full of rodents. Seasick. Vomitted lots. #Dickwhittington’scat

Exhausted! Up all night. Caught 258 rats. Captain and sailors spoiling me. I wonder if Dick misses me? #Dickwhittington’scat

Given away AGAIN! New owner a king. Palace full of rats. Dick getting casket full of gold and jewels in exchange for me! I’m worth it. #Dickwhittington’scat