Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Weekly MUSE: Abominable Snowman


The Abominable Snowman (from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer)
Photo by: pocolover1957
Here in Indiana, there is SNOW in our forecast. And when I think of SNOW, I always think of...

Snowball Fights!

Snow Forts!

And…. Snowmen!

But there is one Snowman that I think of in particular. THE ADBOMINABLE SNOWMAN!!!

Creative Writers, put on your snowshoes and get out your binoculars! We are headed to the Himalaya Mountains in search of the WEEKLY MUSE: The Abominable Snowman, also known as the SNOW YETI!

The Himalaya Mountains are an Asian mountain range that is home to the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest.

The people of Nepal and Tibet (two Himalayan regions) have reported seeing a massive ape-like creature they call a Snow Yeti or Abominable Snowman. This creature is similar to the American Sasquatch or Bigfoot!
 

These creatures are considered to be cryptids. Cryptids are animals that scientists have not proven to exist. But many people still believe they are REAL.

Why? Because there are unexplainable footprints or sightings of these animals.

Imagine that you are a Himalayan mountain climber. While you are climbing, you see large footprints. Later, off in the distance, you see a hairy, biped (walks on two legs) creature that is taller than the average human. It runs away – never to be seen again. What would you think?

As soon as you reach the foot of the mountain, you shout to the villagers, “I SAW THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN!!!” And they say you are crazy, except a few locals who believe in this cryptid creature.

Recently, scientists have uncovered some evidence that may explain the sightings of the Snow Yeti or Abominable Snowman. Take a look at this video and see for yourself?
 

Could the Abominable Snowman really be a GIANT POLAR BEAR???

Regardless, the stories of the Abominable Snowman are still exciting and fun to fantasize. Take a look at a few very popular Abominable Snowman characters thought-up by storytellers.

The Abominable Snowman in the classic movie Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is probably the most recognizable. Take a look at a puppet show adapted from the movie.
 
My personal favorite is the Looney Tunes Abominable Snowman. Be prepared to LAUGH-OUT-LOUD!
Now, it is your turn to create your own Abominable Snowman character!

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 lived next to the woods. What if your main character and his/her friends began a snowball fight after a snow storm. What if gigantic snowballs came flying from the woods? Does an Abominable Snowman want to play?

WHAT IF your main character built an Abominable Snowman out of snow? What if it came to life?

WHAT IF your main character went to school after Holiday Break to find that his/her teacher was replaced with an Abominable Snowman?

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

The word of the day is “abominable”. Here is the definition: repugnantly hateful; detestable; loathsome.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Are YOU my mother?


Dear Creative Writers,

Do you recognize the above book?

While a mother bird flies off in search of food for her soon-to-hatch chick, her baby hatches and leaves the nest early. The baby bird roams around looking for his mother, asking different animals, "Are you my mother."

Here is a video recording of this classic story.


Come to find out, there is some truth to this little birdy's quest. Within moments of hatching, the baby bird needs to bond with its mother. And if the mother isn't around, the baby bird may bond with another creature, bird or not. Take a look at this baby turkey's situation.

What a warm and touching video!

Here is your Creative Writing Challenge:

Can you write the rest of this story? We already have the beginning (a baby turkey identifies a human as his mother). But we need a middle and an end. (All stories must have all THREE, you know.)

Also, all stories must have a conflict that the main character must solve. What is the conflict in this story? And who is your main character? The baby turkey? What if the baby turkey's real mother suddenly shows up? What happens then?

The story is YOURS, and I can't wait to see what you come up with!

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Write a Cinnamon Toast Crunch Commercial!


 
 
Dear Creative Writers,
 
Commercials are "mini-stories". The writer of the commercial creates a problem and shows how the "product" solves this problem.
 
Take a look at these commercials for Cinnamon Toast Crunch. What is the "problem" in these stories, and why should this convince us to buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
 
 
 


 
 
So, what do you think?
 
Here is my opinion: We all get hungry! Cinnamon Toast Crunch is so irresistible that the little squares will eat each other. If they are that satisfying, maybe we should eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch the next time we are in the mood for cereal. Problem solved!




 
 
Here is your creative writing challenge: Now that you have watched three examples of excellent commercial writing for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, can you create the fourth commercial?
 
Write a few paragraphs describing how these tasty squares will, once again, plot each other's demise.
 
With cinnamon on top,
 
Professor Watermelon 

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Weekly MUSE: Cinnamon


PUMPKIN PIE!!!
 
With Thanksgiving around the corner, pumpkin pie has been on my mind. In fact, I’ve already had a slice… or three.
So, what is it about pumpkin pie that drives people like me BONKERS? Is it the pumpkin? Is it the crust? Is it the whipped cream? The sugar? The spice?

SPICE! It’s the SPICE!
The beautiful mixture of ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon instantly transport me to a Winter Wonderland.

But I have a question. I know that ginger is a root, nutmeg is a seed, and cloves are a dried flower, but what is cinnamon? And where does it come from?
Looks like we’ve sniffed out our Weekly Muse!

CINNAMON!
Come to find out, cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree. But not any old tree!

There are two main types of cinnamon trees: the Ceylon cinnamon tree and the Cassia cinnamon tree.
 
Ceylon Cinnamon Tree
Photo by: Dave Cito
 
Ceylon (say-lon) cinnamon is considered the only TRUE cinnamon. This makes it more rare and expensive. Cassia cinnamon is the common cinnamon most people buy at the grocery store. Cassia cinnamon has a strong cinnamon taste, while Ceylon cinnamon is more mild with citrus notes.

The Ceylon cinnamon tree is native to Sri Lanka, a small island country off the southern coast of India. Sri Lanka produces about 90% of the world’s Ceylon cinnamon. Take a look at this video and watch how cinnamon is harvested.

Most Cassia cinnamon comes from Indonesia. Other types of cinnamon come from China and Vietnam.

Can you tell the difference between Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon?
Photo by: Cinnamon Vogue

Cinnamon is used in hundreds of recipes – some savory but mostly sweet.
For instance, have you ever had a cinnamon roll? What about an ooey-gooey Cinnabon? These are the most famous cinnamon rolls in the world. Take a look at this video and see why.

 
Cinnamon is also used to flavor many types of popular candy.
The Ferrara Candy Company has been making two of these popular candies for over 50 years.

The Atomic Fireball candies


The Atomic Fireball was first made in 1954. And boy do these little candies pack some heat! Have you ever had one?
 
 
Red Hots have been around since the 1930’s. These little cinnamon flavored candies are eaten by themselves or used in recipes. Some people put Red Hots in their applesauce.

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these what if questions will help you get started.
WHAT IF your story took place in the early 1800’s and your main character was boy or girl who traveled the countryside selling exotic Ceylon Cinnamon.

WHAT IF your main character concocted a new cinnamon roll recipe and the amazing scent of these treats attracted aliens from a faraway galaxy?
WHAT IF your story took place in the jungle, and people used cinnamon sticks as money instead of gold or paper currency.

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Help Wanted? Squirrels for Hire!


 
 
 
Dear Creative Writers,
 
 
Squirrels were one of Roald Dahl's muses when writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Take a look at the video and see how these incredible rodents separated the good nuts from the bad nuts.
 
Here is your Creative Writing Challenge: Can you think of a clever job for a squirrel like Roald Dahl did? Write a paragraph or two through the squirrel's perspective, explaining why he or she should get the job!
 
If for some reason you can't think of a clever job for a squirrel, I'll give you one. What if a squirrel wanted to be an electrician? Have your squirrel tell us why he/she should be hired.
 
Go nuts!
Professor Watermelon


Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Weekly MUSE: Squirrels


The lazy squirrel Tino and I saw on our walk!
While I was walking my dog this weekend, I noticed something. Usually the squirrels dart around like lunatics – dashing across the sidewalks and bolting up the trees. But lately the squirrels seem lazy and nonchalant. They wait till we are at least 10 feet away before moseying toward a tree.
Why? Don’t they know that dogs and squirrels don’t mix?  

After pondering this conundrum for a while, I approached a hypothesis: These squirrels are moving slower because they are fatter. For the past couple of weeks they have been gorging themselves on acorns and other tree nuts to prepare for winter. This added body weight must be slowing them down.
Whether my hypothesis is right or wrong, we have found our Weekly Muse: SQUIRRELS!

Squirrels are rodents. In fact, a retired teacher friend of mine calls them “tree rats”. I think squirrels are way too cute to be compared to rats, but they are related.
All rodents are known for their ever-growing front chompers. That’s why they HAVE to chew on things to file down their teeth. Could you imagine if our teeth never stopped growing. YIKES!

There are over 200 species of squirrels, and they live all over the world except Australia. The smallest squirrel is the African pygmy squirrel which grows only five inches from nose to tail. The largest squirrel is the Indian giant squirrel, which grows up to three feet long. HOLY-MOLY! That’s a big squirrel!
 
Indian giant squirrel
Photo by: Kumar Viacom
 
There are three categories of squirrels: tree squirrels, ground squirrels and flying squirrels. Yes, I said FLYING squirrels. We’ll get to those in a moment.

Tree squirrels are the most commonly seen squirrels. These are the squirrels that Tino (my dog) and I see on our walks. They live in the trees but come down to the ground to find nuts.
Here in Indiana, there are two common species of tree squirrels: gray squirrels and fox squirrels.

Gray Squirrel
Photo by: Bobolink

Fox Squirrel
Photo by: Ingrid Taylar


Where I lived in Seattle, I would often see western gray squirrels, which look just like the gray squirrels in Indiana.
Take a look at this video to see how tree squirrels build their nests.


Ground squirrels live in the… you guessed it… the GROUND! These critters burrow dens and tunnel systems underground where they raise their young. Take a look at this video and see these small, yet brave little critters.



Flying Squirrels are the most fascinating! Unique flaps of skin connect their legs, which the squirrels use as gliders. See it for yourself!

 
Here is the most interesting fact I found. Across the world, squirrels cause thousands of power outages. How? Well, they snip power lines with those ever-growing chompers. But don’t feel too bad for those thousands of people who lose their electricity – the squirrel loses its life. ZAP!

Looks like we aren’t the only ones who use SQUIRRELS for a MUSE!

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 had a pet squirrel?

WHAT IF your main was a squirrel who had figured out a way to cut power lines without zapping himself? What if he taught other squirrels how to do it too? Uh-oh!
WHAT IF your main character was a flying squirrel SUPERHERO?

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Weekly MUSE: James Whitcomb Riley

Professor Watermelon with a statue of James Whitcomb Riley at the Riley Museum Home

Last week, I took you on an adventure through Crown Hill Cemetery. At the very top of Crown Hill is the grave of Indiana’s favorite poet, James Whitcomb Riley. He is also known as the Children’s Poet.

This week, I want to take you on another journey – a journey through the life of this fascinating man.

So, hold on to your top hats, and get ready for this week’s MUSE!

James Whitcomb Riley!

James Whitcomb Riley
 
I had the grand opportunity to visit the Riley Museum Home – the home where Mr. Riley lived the final 23 years of his life. He didn’t own the home but was an honored guest of the Nickum and Holstein families.

The James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home on Lockerbie Street in Indianapolis, IN
 
At the museum I learned all about this very intriguing man, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

James Whitcomb Riley was born on October, 7th 1849 in the small Indiana town of Greenfield.

He had a happy childhood, although he wasn’t very fond of school. Little James didn’t like math, history, or science. But he LOVED books and writing! Maybe that is because his mother (Elizabeth Riley) was also a poet and storyteller.
Elizabeth Riley would entertain her six children with fantastic fairytales and funny stories, which certainly inspired James Whitcomb Riley’s writing.

Reuben Riley (James’ father) was a lawyer and politician, and he was a great public speaker, too.

With parents like these, no wonder James Whitcomb Riley became one of the country’s most beloved orators. (An “orator” is a public speaker, especially one of great eloquence.)

James Whitcomb Riley dropped out of school by the age of sixteen and before he became a famous poet he had some very interesting jobs. He painted signs and houses, he traveled with a medicine show, and he worked for various newspapers.

But during this time, Mr. Riley kept writing. Finally, in 1883, he published his first book of poetry. He soon found his fame and became what we call today a “rock star.”
James Whitcomb Riley traveled the country with other “rock stars” like Mark Twain.

I’m calling these men “rock stars” because in today’s terms, that is what they were. In the late 1800’s, radio and television had not been invented. People looked towards live theatre and books as their main source of entertainment. When a famous author or poet came to town, auditoriums would be sold out like a Justin Bieber concert today.
James Whitcomb Riley was one of these poets.

Some of Mr. Riley’s most famous poems are “The Raggedy Man”, “When the Frost is on the Punkin” and “Little Orphant Annie”.
That last poem probably sounds quite familiar, huh? Here is a recording of this famous poem. Somebody has taken a photograph of James Whitcomb Riley and animated his face. This is not his real voice (wink).



This poem has inspired comic strips, radio shows, musicals, and films. Take a look at the trailer for the 1982 film “Little Orphan Annie.”
 
 
Mr. Riley’s poem, “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie” inspired Johnny Gruelle to create the beloved stories of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Do you recognize her?

Raggedy Ann
Photo by: Chefrandon
 
James Whitcomb Riley LOVED children. He never had any children of his own, but he adored his nieces and nephews and the school children who would visit him for storytimes at his Lockerbie home. Here is an OLD reel of Mr. Riley welcoming some school children to his home – the same home that remains a museum today.



Did you see the dog? That was one of Mr. Riley’s closest companions. Guess what the dog’s name was… Lockerbie.
Shortly after Mr. Riley’s death in 1916, a group of prominent citizens who knew Mr. Riley started a memorial association in his honor. The Riley Children’s Foundation was born. In 1922, the foundation opened the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children. To this day, Riley Hospital is ranked one of the leading children’s hospitals in the world.

Every summer, the Riley Children’s Foundation also holds Camp Riley at Bradford Woods. Over 250 children with disabilities come to Camp Riley to participate in activities designed to empower their confidence.

No wonder James Whitcomb Riley is still revered today as the Children’s Poet. What an EXTRAORDINARY legacy to leave behind.

James Whitcomb Riley, the Children's Poet
 

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 Mr. Riley’s dog, Lockerbie? Could you write a story through Lockerbie’s perspective?

WHAT IF you wrote your own rendition of a little orphan named Annie? How would you make your story different?
WHAT IF your main character was boy or a girl who lived in present time, but he/she was given the top hat of James Whitcomb Riley? What if they wore the hat every day? What if the hat was enchanted?

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, October 28, 2013

Whose GRAVE is this?

 

 
 
Dear Creative Writers,
 
If you read the Weekly MUSE on Cemeteries, you know how much I enjoy imagining the life of the person buried under each tombstone. Here is your chance to do some imagining yourselves.
 
I found this very intriguing tombstone at Crown Hill Cemetery. The stone looks like the trunk of a tree, and if you look closely, you will see an anchor and some other maritime objects carved into the stone as well.
 
The person's name appears to be W.H. Wyings. He or she was born June 28, 1854 and died on May 8th, 1886.
 
Here is your challenge: Who do you think this person was? What was their personality? What did they want more than anything? Did they get it?
 
In a paragraph or two, try to bring this person back to life through your imagination.
 
Have fun!
 
Professor Watermelon
 
 
 
 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Weekly MUSE: Cemeteries


 
 
Like I mentioned in the video, some people think cemeteries are SPOOKY, especially around Halloween. After all, cemeteries are where we bury the dead. And when we think about the dead, sometimes we think about ghosts. BOO!
On the other hand, many people find cemeteries to be peaceful. I fall into this category.
First of all, I’m not afraid of ghosts (wink). And secondly, cemeteries are a place full of Imagination. When I walk through a cemetery, I like to read the names on the tombstones and wonder what that person was like. Were they kind? Were they mean? What did they do for a living? What did they want out of life? Did they get it? In other words, what was their life story?
Often, I leave a cemetery very inspired. I guess that would make cemeteries one of my FAVORITE muses. Let’s dig deep (pun intended) and see what we can uncover about these restful places.
The first interesting fact that I uncovered is that cemeteries and graveyards are not entirely the same. Some people use the words interchangeably, but they are two different kinds of burial places.
A cemetery is usually larger than a graveyard and better taken care of. Graveyards are often overgrown with weeds and dead trees. Often, small graveyards are found near old country churches.
Cemeteries often resemble city parks. The lawns are frequently mowed and the gardens of flowers, shrubs, and trees are maintained by a crew of paid workers.
As you can probably imagine, it often costs more to be buried in a cemetery rather than a graveyard. And just like the living can show how much money they have by the type of house they live in, the dead can show you how much money they HAD by the type of monument built for them.
This man must have had lots of money!

 
This man probably didn’t.

Photo by: Cindy Funk
 
In a cemetery, you will find a few different ways that people are entombed. They are not always buried in the ground like the two men above.
Sometimes people chose to have their remains placed inside the walls of  a mausoleum. Mausoleums can be large halls filled with hundreds of tombs, or they can be smaller buildings for the remains of one person or family.
 
Inside the Crown Hill Mausoleum
 
The family mausoleum of Colonel Eli Lilly  
Here is one of the most interesting tombs that I found inside Crown Hill Cemetery. This family’s remains are entombed in this hillside.
 
In the United States, there are two main types of cemeteries: governmental and non-governmental. Crown Hill Cemetery is the third largest non-governmental cemetery in the United States. Anyone who can afford a burial plot is allowed entombment at Crown Hill.
Governmental cemeteries (national cemeteries) are reserved for those who have served the government of the United States, mainly the armed forces. The most notable government cemetery is the Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C. This is the final resting place for President John F. Kennedy. Take a look at this video to learn more about this cemetery.
Cemeteries are great places for walking and exploring or sitting and reading. During my Crown Hill visit, I saw several people enjoying the landscape – some dogs, too.
Cemeteries can also be great settings for your stories. One of my favorite holiday movies takes place inside a cemetery. Have you heard of The Nightmare Before Christmas? Take a look at Jack Skellington in the Halloween Town Cemetery.
And if you want to read a great book with a cemetery setting, check out Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
 
 
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 lived inside a cemetery with his/her pet.
WHAT IF your main character lived next-door to a cemetery. What if he/she saw a strange green light moving around the cemetery one night?
WHAT IF your main character’s dad was a grave digger? What if his/her dad got sick and he/she had to dig graves instead.
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
The word of the day is “entombed”. Here is the definition: to be placed in a tomb, to be buried, or to be interred.


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Weekly MUSE: The Wicked Witch of the West



Every year around this time, I get the urge to watch my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. Why? Because of the Wicked Witch of the West – one of the most profound antagonists of all time!

She is evil. She is spooky. And since I’ve been on this roll lately – she is GREEN!
The Wicked Witch of the West made her first appearance over a hundred years ago in L. Frank Baum’s classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Since then, many authors, screenwriters, and directors have adapted this character into different roles.

L. Frank Baum’s wicked witch was a short and stubby old lady. She was ruler of the Winkies, and her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East was ruler over the Munchkins. The original Wicked Witch of the West was not green. She had only one eye, yet it was as powerful as a telescope. She could spy on anything and anyone. And instead of flying on a broom, she wielded an umbrella.

The original Wicked Witch of the West from l. Frank Baum's classic book.

While the original wicked witch’s appearance was quite different than subsequent roles, her intentions were quite the same. She wanted revenge on Dorothy for flattening her sister with a falling house. And don’t forget the slippers – the silver slippers that is. Yes, in the original story, the slippers were silver. They had belonged to the Wicked Witch of the East, but since Dorothy had killed that witch, the shoes belonged to her. But the Wicked Witch of the West wanted those, too.

In the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is portrayed as a slender, boney featured old woman. She is dressed in a flowing black dress, and wears the classic black coned hat. And her skin is green. This witch flies on a broomstick, uses a crystal ball to spy on the world, and she coined the famous line, “I’ll get you my pretty! And your little dog, too!”

This version of the Wicked Witch of the West still wants revenge on Dorothy for killing her sister, but in this adaptation, the slippers are made of rubies.

MGM’s version of the Wicked Witch of the West has influenced the way we see witches in popular culture. From that point forward, the common representation of the witch has looked similar to this classic movie character. The green skinned, broom riding, boney featured old woman with the flowing black dress is the most common.

In 1978 another adaptation of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz hit the silver screen. This film was portrayed through the African American culture. The Wiz took place in Harlem and New York City. And the Wicked Witch of the West was a stout, whip wielding, gospel singing, large-and-in-charge woman who ran a sweatshop down in the sewers. She wore a large, puffy, beaded, orange and red baby doll dress – but don’t let that fool you. Her demeanor was similar to the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. Take a look!

 

So, what tied all of these characters together? They all had a band of FLYING MONKEYS! And they all wanted revenge on Dorothy. After all, isn’t that what an antagonist is supposed to do – get in the protagonist’s way?

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’s mother was the Wicked Witch of the West?

What if you told the story of the Wizard of Oz through the perspective of one of the winged monkeys?

What if the Wicked Witch of the West was the protagonist (hero of your story) instead of the villain? Oops. That has already been done. Refer to the famous musical “Wicked”. Take a look at this video clip of Glenda and Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West). 
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.

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

The word of the day is “adaptation”. Here is the definition: adjusting a story to make it new but keeping key elements the same, so that the original story can be recognized through the changes.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Weekly MUSE: Frankenstein


Frankenstein Movie Poster
 
October is my FAVORITE month. And Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday. And Frankenstein is one of my FAVORITE Halloween characters!
But why is this giant, green monster such a popular Halloween character? I decided I would do a little research and electrify you with some fun facts!

Ghouls and Goblins we have found out MUSE! FRANKENSTEIN!
To my astonishment, Frankenstein was not a giant. He was not green, and he was not a monster. Frankenstein was the scientist who created the monster. Victor Frankenstein is the protagonist of Mary Shelley’s classic horror book, Frankenstein, published in London in 1818.

Mary Shelley
 
During a vacation to Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Mary Shelley began writing what she thought would only be a short story. She used her surroundings as a setting and the concept if galvanism as a MUSE. Do you want to know what galvanism is??? Are you sure???

Galvanism was an experimental science used in the 1800’s. Scientists believed that if the right amount of electrical current was shocked into the brain of a dead body, the body could come back to life. Of course, this type of science proved to be unsuccessful in real life (as far as I know… wink).
But Mary Shelley’s protagonist was successful at galvanizing a corpse to life – the corpse is what we know as Frankenstein’s Monster. And this monster wreaks havoc throughout the pages of Shelley’s story. Unfortunately, the gory details are a little too much to share on this platform, phooey!

Over a hundred years later, Mary Shelley’s story had not died, Muah hahahaha! Universal Studios in Hollywood created a series of movies starring Frankenstein’s Monster.  Some of these films include: Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Son of Frankenstein.
But the most famous movie is probably Young Frankenstein directed by Mel Brooks in 1971. Take a look at the movie trailer.
 
With the popularity of these movies, Frankenstein’s monster became a huge icon of the horror genre. And this is when people began using the image and character of the monster as a Halloween icon as well. Frankenstein’s monster became known simply as “Frankenstein.”

So, look out for the giant, green monster on greeting cards, holiday decorations, and reruns of old movies. If you are lucky, Frankenstein might even ring your doorbell this Halloween demanding, “Trick or treat!”
 
With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these what if questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your protagonist used galvanism to bring a dead cockroach back to life? FRANKENROACH!

WHAT IF Frankenstein wanted a pet to keep him company? What would it be?

WHAT IF Frankenstein was your protagonist’s dad? What kind of life would your protagonist lead? What does your protagonist want more than anything? Does he/she just want normal dad without green skin and bolts in his head?

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
The word of the day is “genre”. Here is the definition: of or pertaining to a distinctive literary type. Examples: science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, horror, comedy, etc.