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I had the most amazing experience with oldest beastie on our recent family road trip. We travel this same route every year to visit family. That Man and I drive overnight allowing the wee beasties to sleep the majority of the trip. Something I remember from many childhood trips. In the non-sleeping moments we have a DVD player set up and it works beautifully. Usually. This trip the DVD player broke down about an hour into the trip.

Complete parental unit fail. I hadn’t prepared any of the non-technology activities I normally do. So no coloring books, drawing pads, colored pencils or crayons, games that can be played independently, or the cookie sheets for them to use as tables. Sigh. “Are we there yet?” started about an hour after the DVD player broke.

What’s a kid to do when technology (and parents) fail? In true writer fashion…write a story!

Oldest beastie set up a game of “pick my story” where he would tell a part of a story then pause at key moments (hook, inciting incident, etc.) and give the other beasties three choices. He’d then adjust the story based on the answer and continue to the next key moment.

First off, he impressed me with his improvisation and pulling the bored wee beasties into something creative.

After the game was done — youngest beasties got bored with it — the process morphed into the two oldest creating characters, building a world, and brainstorming a plot. Something along the lines of ET meets Transformers but hey the kid has to start somewhere.


My ears perked up. My middle-schooler had an amazing grasp of what was needed to build a story. Much better than I remember having at his age but then I did come to a love of reading late in life so perhaps teachers attempted to drill it into me and I just promptly forgot.

I was drawn into the conversation when oldest started asking next oldest what was happening during the “rising action.” Where the two were getting twisted was what that exactly covers. Oldest was using it to cover everything that happens after the intro and set up in Act One through to the climax in Act Three. Which it is but that makes for a rather challenging plot development.

What followed was an amazing conversation on plot and structure.

Yep, proud mama moment. I hope the beasties finish their story…who knows, maybe one (or both) is the next JK Rowling.