Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Generating stories

Ages ago, when we were new home educators, I bought a product called a story generator from Philip and Tacey. It hasn’t been used much as the words on it aren't very inspiring. The idea is to use the twelve sided die to generate features such as characters, location and time – and it gives you some objects, actions, adverbs, adjectives and so on - all from lists on a chart. I’ve often looked at it and wondered if I could use the idea to make something more appealing. So, this morning I made a Doctor Who themed story generator. It was great fun adding characters like Sycorax and Autons and objects like sonic screwdriver and Tardis. I think you could do various different versions – fantasy themed, animal ones – whatever appeals to people in your family. People don’t need to be able to read or write if you work collaboratively.

Leo and I both wrote stories. Here is his (with permission, of course) – exactly as he wrote it. This is all his spelling and punctuation but Leo writes in 99% capitals and I won’t type it that way or you may feel like I’m shouting.

The Tardis sparked and glowed when the Doctor used his sonic screw-driver to oil a switch on the console. VVVRRR!!! The Tardis flew through the vortex and landed in summer time of 2007. It was dawn in London. A huge space ship was hovering over London. It was the Sycorax. People screamed as a window on the space ship fell of the side of the ship and fell to the ground below. “Sycorax mighty, Sycorax strong, Sycorax rock!” a voice called out of the window hole and Captain Jack was thrown out of the window. The people fled to the forest. Captain Jack silently picked himself up and stumbled towards the Tardis. “Doctor!” he shouted. I am anxios about them. A lazer beam shot down and killed innocent people. The Doctor pulled Captain Jack inside the Tardis. “Now! All powered up! VROOM VVROUMPH! The Tardis went as it shot through the air and landed at the side of the forest near the main estate. “Now! Lets hide behind those bushes. Said The Doctor. OK! Said Jack. They ran to the nearest bush and hid. An army of Sycorax marched towards the forest. But then time suddenly sliped and the Doctor and Jack landed in the Tardis and the Tardis was sent back into the time vortex towards the moon.

I’m really impressed with the way Leo is now picking up punctuation. He has a good feel for what makes a sentence and is using full stops. There are some commas in this too and he doesn’t seem to be afflicted by my curse of over using them. He seems to be figuring out speech marks well – just sometimes forgetting to close them, which I remember doing. All his writing skills are the result of writing what he pleases when it pleases him and it does still amaze me how this is evolving.

So, I recommend story generators. They’re good for poems and plays too. All you need is a many sided die, or a spinner, and your imagination. Here's our Doctor Who one - feel free to give it a go.

Doctor Who story/poem/play generator

Characters
Slitheen
Captain Jack
The Master
Rose Tyler
Daleks
Cybermen
The Sycorax
The Lonely Assassins
Moxx of Balhoon
The Beast
Reapers
Autons

Settings
An abandoned planet
A network of caves
City
An aeroplane
Forest
Space station
Bedroom
Public toilet
Eye of a tornado
Factory
Theatre
Station

Time
The far future
The end of a great civilization
The present day
The second world war
Summer
Midnight
Last week
Christmas
At dawn
Dinner time
During a war
During a party

Actions
Leapt
Fled
Screamed
Gasped
Clambered
Skidded
Grabbed
Fumbled
Opened
Laughed
Smashed
Dazzled

Objects
Sonic screw driver
Silver box
Key
Tardis
Window
Pen
Book
Cupboard
Knife
Pocket
Mask
Feather

Some descriptive words
Astonished
Lonely
Fearful
Excited
Anxious
Delighted
Exhausted
Frozen
Shattered
Lost
Confused
Powerful

Slowly
Silently
Endlessly
Patiently
Aggressively
Roughly
Joyously
Quickly
Carefully
Viciously

Mighty
Stinking
Brittle
Shining
Loose
Green
Chilling
Mysterious
Gold
Black
Smooth
Tiny

Good luck!

4 comments:

Angela said...

I love the story and very impressed with the grasp of punctuation. I will definately be trying out the Doctor Who idea tomorrow with my son, hes a big fan of the series and im sure he'll love it! Thankyou

Anonymous said...

theo always wrote in CAPITALS AS WELL. and when he first started using a keyboard, he stuck caps lock on...go figure...

story generator sounds good.

love, fiona

peri said...

Great story - J and I enjoyed it very much. We also enjoyed using the Dr Who story generator - J wrote a story and made a comic using it :-D

Allie said...

Peri, I'm so glad J enjoyed using it. It took me ages to put it in this post because I inserted it as a table from word and it mucked up all the layout, so I'm glad it was worth it! Angela, I hope you enjoyed it too.

Fiona, I find that so amusing as you have a total aversion to typing capital letters. It must have been a kind of Jack Spratt situation.