Monday, April 21, 2014

The Lighthouse's Keeper!

Hello Creative Writers,


Look at what I found in the MUSEBOX.



A LIGHTHOUSE! I think this little lighthouse could be the setting of your next story. What do you think? Here is your creative writing challenge:

Imagine that your main character is this lighthouse's keeper. Is the keeper a person? A wizard or witch? A mouse? A mouse wizard or witch? Heehee! A slug? A frog? An old lady or old man? You get the point... What does this lighthouse keeper want? Does the keeper have a secret? Is he/she hiding something in this lighthouse? What is it? Who wants it?

I think we are on to something? I look forward to seeing where your imagination takes us.

If you need a little inspiration, take a look at this video.

 

Wow! Maybe you can use some of that story to embellish your own!

Happy Writing,

Professor Watermelon

Friday, March 21, 2014

The MUSEBOX: Flamingos on a Stick

Photo by: Glor Barrett


Greetings Creative Writers!

Something arrived in the MUSEBOX this week, and I am incredibly excited to share it with you! What could it be?

My new book! FLAMINGOS ON A STICK! It's spookier and goofier than my last book, HERBERT! Take a look at the cover!

Flamingos on a Stick

I will tell you more about the book later, but I want to share with you my MUSE for this book. Can you imagine what it might be??? You got it! FLAMINGOS!

So, here is your CREATIVE WRITING CHALLENGE. Can you use FLAMINGOS for your creative writing MUSE? Let me help you get inspired. 

Watch a baby flamingo hatch from an egg. Is there a story here?


What about these DANCING flamingos? Is there a story here?


And if you are still stumped, take a look at how the creators of Sesame Street used a Flamingo as their MUSE. 

WOW, and opera singing FLAMINGO!

Now it is your turn to take an Ordinary Flamingo and make that flamingo EXTRAORDINARY! Create a main character. What does that main character want more than anything? Who is trying to keep the main character from getting what they want? 

The possibilities are endless! 

Happy Writing,

Professor Watermelon

Sunday, March 16, 2014

MUSEBOX: Beyond the RAINBOW


Greetings Creative Writers!

With all the St. Patty’s festivities going on, I’ve been thinking a lot about rainbows. They are mystical. They are enchanting. They are BEAUTIFUL! And I LOVE them!

Throughout history, these mysterious bands of color in the sky have AMUSED many writers and storytellers. We often wonder what is at the end of the rainbow or… what lies beyond it.

Take a look at Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz as she ponders this same question…


Dorothy soon finds out that the LAND OF OZ lies beyond the rainbow. I’m sure that you all know this classic story, right? Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh, my!

What about the story of Rainbow Brite? She lives in RAINBOW LAND. This enchanting setting exists at the END of the rainbow. Below is one of several Rainbow Brite stories.


That was fun, wasn’t it?

Here is YOUR creative writing challenge:

It is now your turn to create a setting that lies beyond the rainbow or at the end of one. Describe this place. How do you get there? Who lives there? People? Made-up creatures? Is there magic in this place? Who has the magic? Who wants the magic? Are there towns, villages, forests, lakes? How do the inhabitants get around? Boats? Cars? Dragons? Unicorns? What do they eat? How do they pay for things? What kinds of jobs do they have? What do they want?

While you are writing down all of these things, a main character will eventually POP into your imagination.
What does this main character want? Who is trying to keep him/her from getting it? And now you are on your way to creating your own RAINBOW inspired story.


Good luck, and HAPPY writing!

Professor Watermelon

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Young Authors write about LIONS!

My Creative Writers had lots of fun with last week's PICTURE THIS challenge. Take a look at some of the stories inspired by this photograph!

Photo by: Derek Keats





Random
By: Luke N.

I see a lion that isn't so silent as the other. One is asleep and the other is on guard for everything that passes by their turf. The lions are the last of their kind. 

Then, a purple lion steps onto their turf.  The awake lion is very curious, especially when a three ton purple with green dots Tyrannosaurus Rex runs by chewing gum. Another purple lion is riding on the big dinosaurs back! It was the weirdest scene the lion had ever seen - especially when a two thousand pound  polar bear walks by. It goes "BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!" as it stomps the day away!

Before the lion goes to sleep, he sees a parade of OREOS walk by. It is the Tribe of Ordorbeos! They walk by singing their song, " Oreo... Oreeeeo! Oreo... Oreeeo!

A parade of gum marches by and some hamburgers to top it off! The lion also sees a parade of chocolate covered lollipops run by to catch up. Then, they turn into strawberry flavored lollipops that walk on the moon.

The moon is a giant rock candy  that shines grey. The sun shines bright like a lemon drop.

Wait! It was a lemon drop. The people of Notre Dame came holding jellybeans in their hands. 

The lion sighed and fell asleep. He awoke to find that he was swimming in a pool of jellybeans. They vanished.

The other lion woke up and said, "What did I miss?"


The Magic Place
By: Cooper F. 

I see two lions sitting near a field, and the male is alert and the female is napping. 

There is a forest near them. They go into the forest to go hunting, and the forest is really a portal that makes them a plant.

In the plant world, you can press a button and be changed into another plant.

Somehow there was a miniaturized mouse in a miniaturized hot air balloon, and they were not plants. The mouse told the lions, who were now plants, that he was the owner of the plant world. 

The mouse told them that if you come into the plant world from the top, you and your item that brought you there would be miniaturized and NOT turned into plants. 

The lions felt paralyzed. "But how did you set up this magical place?" said one of the lions.

"I saw the symbol for "pie" and pressed it," said the mouse. "That's how I got this rigged up."


What I See
By: Ben 

I see a lion and another lion. One is alert, and the other one is taking a nap.

The lion saw a ladybug in sunglasses and a jet-pack on, and he said, "I now own this 200,000 acres of land.

The lion refused, "No! This is my land, and I have a jaw and I'm not afraid to use it!"

The ladybug said, "Let's make a deal. You get 100,000 and I get the other 100,000 acres of land."

The lion agreed.

The ladybug wanted a motorcycle, so he said to the lion, "Can I have $20,000,000,000?"

The lion said, "No, you can't have $20,000,000,000 or whatever it costs.

"But I want a motorcycle SO badly," said the ladybug.

"Why didn't you say so," said the lion. "I have a motorcycle you can have. I rode it when I was young. It has flames!"

"Awesome," said the ladybug. "I also want a radio that has Justin Bieber songs on it, and a karaoke machine so I can sing to it."

"Man," the lion said. 

"Do not call me 'Man' again," said the ladybug.

So the ladybug got his stuff and left. They lived happily ever after.


The Death
By: Sydney S.

I'm Fero the Lion, and I have a wife named Taro. We are lions.

I want to tell you about the time I met humans. I was in the green grass, in the safari day dreaming when suddenly I was in a HUGE net. It was made of metal.

I was soon tossed into a truck - an ENORMOUS truck. It smelled like flowers. The ride was bumpy. I soon heard the radio and went to sleep.

I woke up in a place called Professor Watermelon's House and was underneath a pile of bookworms.

I then saw my wife, and we began to rip our way out. When we got out, I saw Professor Watermelon in his bed. He was writing a book called LIONESS IN THE SAFARI. We sat there for sixteen hours until Professor Watermelon said, "Don't cut me please! I just want to have you for pets. I want to write a book about you and teach you how to crochet a bookworm for my creative writers.

I felt his hand touch me. It felt cold and soft. I stood up and I said, "ROOOAAARRR! I will help you but only if you give me food and you don't kill us and you won't take our skins. DO YOU HEAR ME? ROOOAAARRR!"

"Yes, I promise," said Professor Watermelon. 

After that, we were best friends. We would play, run, eat, write, talk, sleep, nap, and watch TV together. We had SO much fun.

BUT on September 11, 2009 the twin towers fell, and they fell on us. I ran and ran and ran and ran until I found my wife, Taro. But when I get there, it was too late. She was dead. 

I went back to Africa and got killed by an alligator. So. that is my story, and I will have more.

My name is Faro, and I am a lion, "ROOOOOAAAAARRRRR!"



Monday, March 10, 2014

I See Two Lions!

Photo by: Derek Keats


Hello Creative Writers!

Welcome to a new "Picture This" challenge! There are three parts to this challenge.

1. Look at the photograph and write a description of what you see. For example, "Two lions are resting in the grass. One is napping and the other is alert."

2. Now it is time to use your imagination. Look at the photograph and embellish it by adding to the scene. For example, "Two lions are resting in the grass. One is napping and the other is alert. A small hot air balloon, piloted by a mouse is lowering to the ground."

3. Take your embellished photograph and create the STORY!

HAPPY WRITING!

Professor Watermelon  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Weekly MUSE: 2 Dollar Bills

The 2 dollar bill I found!


A few weeks ago, I visited St. Monica Catholic School in Indianapolis. I had a great time helping lots of children find their creative writing MUSE.

When I do school visits, I always send a book order form ahead of time. This way, parents can purchase signed copies of my books for their sons and daughters.

While opening payment envelopes, I encounter lots of 10 dollar, 5 dollar, and 1 dollar bills. I sometimes open envelops full of quarters, nickels, and dimes, too. But I have NEVER received the mysterious, elusive, often called a “phony” 2 dollar bill. Until now!

When I first saw it, I thought, “Is this real?”

I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve held a 2 dollar bill. And when this one mysteriously showed itself, it felt magical to hold it in my hands.

I still have not spent it! And I don’t think I want to. EVER! (Wink)

Maybe that’s why we hardly ever see 2 dollar bills. When one is caught, it’s rarely released. You think???
I don’t know, but I do know that we’ve found our MUSE!

$2 bills!

Apparently there are still 1.1 BILLION dollars in 2 dollar bills in circulation. (Or stuck inside greeting cards, billfolds, or old desk drawers.)

Here are some other fun facts about the 2 dollar bill:

The original 2 dollar bill, printed in 1862, featured Alexander Hamilton’s portrait. (Alexander Hamilton was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. He is now featured on the 10 dollar bill.)

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804)

In 1869, the portrait of Thomas Jefferson took the place of Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson has remained on the 2 dollar bill ever since.

EXCEPT…. for the 10 years that the 2 dollar bill was retired (1966-1976). The 2 dollar bill was reintroduced for the U.S. bicentennial celebration. At this time the picture on the back was also changed.
On the back of the previous 2 dollar bill, a picture of Monticello was featured. The bicentennial 2 dollar bill features a painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The original Jefferson 2 dollar bill!
The bicentennial 2 dollar bill, still printed today! 

Here’s a crazy fact! Some businesses do not accept 2 dollar bills, and legally, they don’t have.

In fact, people often think they are counterfeit (fake). A man in Baltimore, Maryland was held by police in a Best Buy store, when he paid with 64 two-dollar bills. Secret service was called and had to verify that the money was real.

So, maybe THAT is why people don’t spend their 2 dollar bills. Who wants the police called on them?

Before you get away and write interesting stories FULL of money, I thought you might like to see how money is made. Take a look!


Sorry, I couldn’t find a video featuring 2 dollar bills. I had to settle for the twenty!

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these what if questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character planted two cents and a tree grew that flowered with 2 dollar bills?

WHAT IF your story took place inside the Bureau of Engraving and Printing? Are your characters people? What if they are ants, mice or LEPRECHAUNS!

WHAT IF your main character found an old safe deserted in the woods? When he/she cracked it open, hundreds of Alexander Hamilton 2 dollar bills were inside!

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Weekly MUSE: Locomotives

Steam Locomotive
Photo by: Vestman

Last week we talked about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. This secret system of paths and stations helped Tubman free hundreds of African American slaves!

This week we are going to take a look at the not-so-secret railroad. In particular we are going to look at this railroad’s giant IRON HORSES we call LOCOMOTIVES!

All, aboard, Creative Writers! We’ve found our MUSE!

Unlike Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad, it’s NO secret when a 200 ton locomotive chugs down the railway. These beasts make no effort to roll through town silently.

Take a look at a steam locomotive in action below!


Like I mentioned above, what you just saw was a STEAM locomotive. The engine of this locomotive is powered by steam.

Here is how it works. In most steam engines, coal is fed to a boiler that heats water to make steam. This steam creates pressure, which is used to PUSH the pistons. The pistons PUSH and PULL the rods that make the wheels move, making the classic “chugga-chugga” sound.




How did I learn this? I read Brian Floca’s new book called LOCOMOTIVE. This book just won the Caldecott Medal for best illustrations.

George Stephenson  (1781-1848)

After further research, I learned that the first steam locomotive was invented by George Stephenson of Great Britain in 1820’s.


Stephenson's Rocket Train (first steam locomotive)

Locomotives were first used to transport coal from the coal mines. Later, locomotives were used to power passenger trains.

Pretty soon, traveling by train would become the most popular form of transportation. And this would last until the 1950’s and 60’s when it became popular to travel by AIRPLANE!

Diesel Locomotive
Photo by: Seth J.

Today, locomotives still exist, but most are powered by diesel fuel. These locomotives are still used to transport people across the country, but most are used to transport cargo.

Before I send you on your way to create your own fascinating stories about locomotives, can you think of any stories where locomotives are the MUSE?

What about this one???


That movie clip came from the POLAR EXPRESS. As you can see, the conductor is the captain of the train. The engineer takes the orders.

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these what if questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character was a kid and the youngest conductor on the railroad?

WHAT IF you your story’s setting was on a train powered by a steam locomotive? What if the main characters were not human?

WHAT IF the locomotive in your story was not taking the passengers to a normal destination like Seattle or Chicago? Instead, this locomotive was taking passengers to a magical place like Hogwarts or the North Pole. Use these destinations as examples, but create your own.

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon