“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” – Phillip Pullman


What could be more fun than taking a tin full of treasures to inspire young writers? This week I am honoured to participate in Story Avenue along with groups of Grade 5 and Grade 6 students in Edmonton. Thank you to Young Alberta Book Society and the Edmonton Public Schools for making this happen.  This year I am bringing my Random Things collection.

This collection was inspired by my tween daughter. She’s been a collector from the time she was old enough to bring rocks in from the yard. A decade later she can now boast collections that include rocks, shells, button buddies, coins and yes, random things. That inspired me to begin my own collection of random things. My daughter’s collection has all been collected from things she spies in random places wherever she goes. Mine, however, has been collected inside our house, which is pretty much one large random things collection anyway! That’s life with artists and collectors.

After some brainstorming with one of the objects, students will have the opportunity to twist the lens on their imaginations and create a history for it.  Where was it found? How did it get there? What are all the possible uses for this object?

What if?

The object opens a portal to a new world?

It is a secret code that leads to…

It is extremely valuable and a museum wants to purchase it?

It bestows a super power on the person holding it?

It has the ability to be used for good or evil?

Is a missing piece to a mystery?

Is one of two pieces and the character must find the other piece in order for the magic to work? Or for the riddle to  be solved?

The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. I believe there are many stories hidden inside this crazy collection and I can’t wait until the students begin digging them out.

Next week I’m going to get back to the discussion about Outlining a novel, but for this week, I get to share my passion for creating stories with future Creatives!


Published by Lois Donovan

Author of historical time travels, THE JOURNAL and WINDS OF L'ACADIE, Lois is in demand as a speaker/presenter at literary conferences and young writers' conferences and teachers conventions. Lois grew up primarily in Riverview, New Brunswick, but has called Calgary home for many years. Currently, Lois enjoys life in Calgary with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law.

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