What does a big pink cotton drawstring bag printed with “Ellen’s Brain,” a hard hat, and a surprise “snake can” of cookies all have in common? They are all a part of the collection of props inside of author Ellen Potter’s toolbox of writing prompts!
During Ellen’s visit with IRW to Milbridge Elementary and Swan’s Island School, she shared what she found rewarding about being a writer, where she finds her stories (hint: everywhere) and how best to tap into one’s own creativity.
In group workshops, students had an opportunity to try their hand at creating a character, situation and challenge – based either in reality or as far and fantastical as their imaginations led them. They warmed up their creative brain muscles by sharing similies and discovering how adjectives can liven up and make storytelling more visual.
At both Milbridge and Swan’s Island, Ellen viewed student projects based on Olivia Kidney and SLOB, two of her middle-grade books, including drawings of fantasy apartment buildings to scene dioramas.
Swan’s Island was an especially meaningful visit because it was the island on which Ellen based her Piper Green and the Fairy Tree series. She even got to reconnect with one of the students that she had originally interviewed in order to develop her story and characters!
Ellen brought excitement and high energy to students at both of these schools and the students gave her inspiration for even more adventures and possible plots. Their projects and voracious workshop writing really showcased their imagination and creativity and added a “big smile!” into Ellen’s ever-growing toolkit.