Big Sharks, Little Girls & Aliens

Last summer, my son participated in a creative writing course. One of his assignments was to incorporate three random things into a story. My son wanted us to do the activity again this weekend.

He went to work creating a batch of genres. I cut them out and put them in a hat. He then wrote down random characters and put those in a separate hat. The last batch we needed was location. After he was done, we each took turns picking from the different hats.

Now, this is about the time when you get a little nervous because you just allowed a 9-year-old boy with a beautiful imagination to pick all the random topics. Here were the results:

My picks: Fantasy, a big shark, skydiving in New York

My husband’s picks: Horror, an alien, driving a car in a jungle

My son’s picks: Action, a girl toddler, on a spaceship

We each went to work.

Instead of a short story, my husband opted to write a song and play it on his guitar. After he shared his creation with us, I (of course) requested an encore. I really, really wanted to capture the moment on film. My husband (being the humble man that he is) declined. But let me tell you, the tune would have you shaking in your alien boots. 😉

My son’s story was about a little girl who crawled aboard a spaceship. The main trial she seemed to face was this tendency to faint at the sight of green aliens.

My story? Well, let’s just say there is a reason The Scenic Route is not filled with fantasy and fiction writing. It certainly took me way out of my comfort zone. But I did get the opportunity to write about a shark and frog skydiving duo who liked singing Elvis songs.

You ain’t nothing but a hound dog cryin’ all the time….

It was awful!

And that’s the amazing thing about creating. Sometimes it does turn out awful and ugly but there is something beautiful about the act of trying and the act of doing.

Next time you and your family are stuck inside on a cold or rainy day…create something.

Create something silly and awful. It’s fun.

Question:  Have you ever created something awful and ugly but had fun doing it?


16 thoughts on “Big Sharks, Little Girls & Aliens

  1. Debra

    I think that is fun and haven’t don’t that in a while. I have put random things together before and it turned out to be a murder mystery short story called Family heirloom The three words were Red dress, necklace and answering machine. It was in a magazine sponsoring a writing contest many moons ago. But I haven’t been able to do that since.

  2. Gary Howell

    My wife and I did this, not too long ago, and it was fun. She came up with some odd writing prompts and we each wrote a short story based on the prompts. In the end we read our short stories to one another and had a good laugh.

    1. Eileen Post author

      David, I have to point out that I’ve shared the “highlight” reel with you. We miss these opportunities way too often.

  3. Heather Goyette

    Great idea! I’ll have to do this with my family. But, as you said, I am a bit scared about the direction of the stories will take!

  4. Anastacia

    I love it! I am going to do that with my family sometime. That sounds like fun!
    We’re actually doing something tomorrow that will probably be awful and ugly.

    We homeschool and my husband started an art class with our children. We watch an artist’s video and draw whatever he suggests.

    This week we are suppose to draw eye balls out of the cheapest material we can find. So we’re going to be pulling out the ketchup, mustard, and mayonaise and drawing eye balls on trash.

    I’m looking forward to trying out your writing idea. That would be fun and less messy. LOL

  5. Anne Peterson

    Have you ever created something awful and ugly but had fun doing it?

    No. If I created something awful and ugly that would not be fun to me. But, now that I am a grandma, I’m sure it will be possible AND fun.

    Nice idea with words. I’m not the “messy art” type. I’m afraid to say my kids growing up never had finger paints. What a terrible mom.

    Once when I was a pre-school teacher we did finger painting with chocolate pudding on the table. It was awful and ugly and I did not have fun.

    1. Eileen Post author

      Oh boy, thank you for your honesty, Anne. I remember the first time I put finger paints in front of my son. He chose the one finger approach before diving in. It’s like his little mind was sitting there thinking…”this seems so wrong” Yep, take full advantage of those grandma privileges!

    1. Eileen Post author

      It was! By the way, still thoroughly enjoying your 21 Days of Wonder challenge. Love checking in first thing each morning to see what’s next!


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