Recently I met a seasoned teacher and writer Suzy Kline. She is the author of over 130 books and has taught kids for over 25 years, so she comes with a great deal of experience under her belt. She was the guest speaker at the 18th Annual Conference on Literacy held at Mount Saint Mary College.

You (and your kids) may know Suzie for her Horrible Harry series, which is one of many she has written. She says her secret for developing story ideas is her very small notebook. (The one she showed me was smaller than the 4” x 5-1/2” one that I carry.) Every time she sees something of interest, she jots down just a few words in her little book. She calls this her “Seeds for Writing.”

Once she visited a school lunchroom and the kids all had their hands up. She asked one of the students why and the student said he wanted the ketchup lady to do a happy face on his plate. (That idea went into Suzie’s notebook.)

She said that kids first use the little books as diaries. And maybe for drawings. Then for story ideas. Suzie suggests getting the entire family involved. When her youngest daughter was a toddler and couldn’t yet write, they went on vacation. Her daughter put small sticks on a piece of paper. (Just like scrapbooking.) She asked her daughter what she was doing. The answer: “I am writing a story.”  Her husband didn’t like the “Seeds of Writing” project, but he agreed to play along. He wrote one sentence a day. It took him seven years to fill his book. His first book, Watch out for these Weirdos! has one sentence a page.

 I am always on the lookout for these small books. Many times I find them at dollar stores or Target. Try out Suzie’s “Seeds of Writing” suggestion. You never know where it may lead you.

 Come back and visit me for more of Suzie Kline’s best tips.

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