Writing Summer Camp With Jennifer Serravallo (Week 1)

Monday, July 2, 2018

     This summer, the wonderful Jennifer Serravallo is hosting a #WritingSummerCamp via Facebook.  Each week is devoted to a different genre of writing, and each day she teaches us a mini lesson from her The Writing Strategies Book before she challenges us to write for 10 minutes to try it out.  By the end of the week, we have a finished piece!  

     Last week, she helped us write a narrative story.  Each day she took us through the process wheel (found on page 13 in her book).   

The strategies she had us try last week were:
3.24 Wonder, "What if?..." (Generating and Collecting Ideas)
  • This is a great strategy for writing blurbs of possible stories.  

5.8 Uh-Oh...  UH-OH... Phew.  (Choosing and Rehearsing)
  • LOVED this one.  It's her take on the story arc.

6.32 Writing Through a Mask (Rehearsing/ Developing)
  • OK, maybe this one was my favorite.  It challenged me to think a bit differently about my story, and the point of view that I tend to write.  Forcing myself to rehearse it from different points of view helped me quite a bit as an author.

10.12 Moving Quickly (or Slowly) Through Time (Drafting)
  • I loved her use of mentor text with this one!

9.31 Considering Sentence Length (Revision)
  • I found her modeling of this strategy using her own writing to be especially effective.

Symphony Share (Publishing)
  • Check out the sentences shared on the Facebook group.  They were great!

     What a week!  I really liked all of the strategies.  To be honest, I struggled a bit with ideas on Monday.  I tend to have trouble writing fiction.  But, these strategies helped me!  By the end of the week, I was an author.  Not a great one, but an author nonetheless.  :)

     If you want to join this week, she is guiding us through poetry!  Just go to The Reading and Writing Strategies Book Community on Facebook and follow along.  All the videos are recorded, so you can go at your own pace.  :)

     Here is my story...

Lifeguard Sealy

The waves were crashing all around me in the giant wave pool at the Dells.  I was standing with both feet on the ground, yet the rubber souls of my pool shoes did little to keep me secured in my spot.  Every time a wave came, I would be gently pushed deeper in as I shrieked with joy. I’d then wipe my goggles clean and wait for the next one, each time a little farther from the shore.  

    Each time a little farther from Sealy.

    Sealy, my stuffed arctic seal, was watching me from our table.  I didn’t hide him in the bags with our clothes and sandals. Instead, I made a low tower of towels and put him on top, giving him a view of me splashing around, as if he were a lifeguard on duty.  I just wished he could swim with me, too, like he does everything else. Plushies and pools just don’t mix.

    After I had splashed around for a long time, I remembered Sealy again.  I glanced across the room towards his post, but didn’t see him on the towels.  I moved my goggles to the top of my head, thinking perhaps it was the foggy plastic keeping me from seeing him.  It wasn’t. Sealy was gone.

   I ran through the waves towards the table, sobbing and shouting his name.  Sometimes I forget that stuffed animals can’t really hear us. I still tried.  Tears streamed down my face, and it was hard to tell what was water dripping from the waves, and what was spilling from my eyes.  A difference seemed to be the taste of salt on my lips, and the feeling of panic that now filled me. I just can’t lose my seal.

    I looked in the swim bag.
    I looked under the table.
    I looked on the ground under the tables around us.

    No Sealy.

    I asked my brother to help me look.  My seal wasn’t by the slides, or the rafts, or the beach chairs.  I sat down on a chair, put my head in my hands, and sobbed. My best friend was lost.

    Suddenly, my mom appeared above me.  Under her arm was a little white face wearing a pair of my spare goggles.  He glanced down at me, as did she.

    “Sealy!” I shrieked with joy, and my mom looked at me with a confused expression as I reached for him.

    “Did you think Sealy was lost?  I’m sorry, Keira, but he was sitting on our table, and lots of little kids seemed to think that he was their new friend.  We can’t leave him out like that. So, I put on your extra goggles, and we walked around watching you together. We can't replace Sealy.  We need to be more careful.”

    My mom dried my tears, and I sat with Sealy for a while, snuggling his little plastic nose against mine.  Relief washed over me like a wave in the pool, and the water seemed to call me again. I looked back at my mom, straightened Sealy’s goggles, and handed him back to her.  

    “Sealy wants to watch me go down the waterslide.  Make sure he seems me splash into the water!”

    I ran off, happy to be reunited with my best friend again.  He’ll make a better lifeguard in the safe hands of my mom, anyway.