Creative Writing Exercises Inspired by Kelsey Gallant's Books!
Kelsey Gallant is a Blobfish Books author who writes realistic fiction for kids ages 9-15. Browse the catalogue below for creative writing exercises inspired by the processes she used to write each of her books. Each creative writing exercise contains 3-4 writing prompts, which are intended to be done in order, as a set. You do not need to have read the book in order to participate in the writing exercises, but reading the book ahead of time may give you a fuller understanding of Kelsey’s explanations.
I DIDN'T PLAN THIS
Summary of Book: Meet Allisen Zepetto, a sixth-grader about to make her debut at a brand-new school... with her eight-year-old sister in her class! Throughout the year, Allisen finds herself in all sorts of new situations, including babysitting her siblings in New York City, taking part in the worst school play in the history of the world, and putting up with an annoying new boy who won't leave her alone. Whether she's celebrating the adoption of a new pet or bemoaning a family vacation gone wrong, all of her thoughts and experiences are written down in her trusty journal—the very book you're looking at right now.
Writing Prompt Focus: Developing characters and plot
Recommended Audience: These writing exercises, together with the book and author’s story, are recommended for grades 4-6. The book is intended for ages 9-12 and can be enjoyed by both girls and boys. The prompts themselves can be used for younger writers as well.
Potential Objectionable Material in Book: N/A
Summary of Book: Alanna is about to start seventh grade at a brand-new school, but she isn’t worried. She’ll be with Daniel—her best friend and next-door neighbor since the day she was born. Maybe this will be the year that she and Daniel start dating. At school, however, Daniel starts making new friends, joining after-school clubs, and having less and less time to spend with Alanna. Meanwhile, Alanna and Daniel’s one mutual friend, Madalaine, seems a little too interested in Daniel. All Alanna wants is for things to go back to how they used to be. But is it possible that some changes can be for the better?
Writing Prompt Focus: Quick writing, first drafts, getting your ideas on the page without worrying about perfection
Recommended Audience: These writing exercises, together with the book and author’s story, are recommended for grades 5-7. The book is intended for ages 10-13. Due to subject matter, it might be more appealing to girls than to boys, but boys can enjoy it too.
Potential Objectionable Material in Book: a lot of talk about crushes and middle schoolers “dating” each other. One sweet kiss at the end, and one almost-kiss.
Summary of Book: Eleven-year-old Lynn Waley has always loved racquetball. So when she finds out that she's going to be living wtih her grandparents in New York City and playing racquetball every day, she should be excited, right?
It isn't all it's cracked up to be. On top of worrying about her older brother in the military, and dealing with memories of her dog and little sister, both of whom she lost within the last year, Lynn has to spend time with Jerr, the most annoying boy she's ever met... and perhaps the only person who understands what she's going through.
Writing Prompt Focus: Writing excerpts rather than starting from the beginning, recognizing when research is needed and where answers can be found
Recommended Audience: These writing exercises, together with the book and author’s story, are recommended for high achievers in grades 5-7. The book itself is geared toward readers ages 10-13, and can be enjoyed by both boys and girls.
Potential Objectionable Material in Book: a brief flashback to the moment when the main character’s dog died. Some talk of child abuse and neglect experienced by major secondary characters.
Summary of Book: Fifteen-year-olds Mariana and Elyse Kaywood may look identical, but they have nothing at all in common—until they both find themselves falling for the same boy during a vacation at the beach. While exuberant Mariana is trying desperately not to let her biggest secret become known, clinically depressed Elyse is striving to create a life for herself, even if that means latching onto happiness in a way that feels like playing with fire. As the summer progresses, both Mariana and Elyse need to decide what’s important… and how much they’re willing to risk to obtain it.
Writing Prompt Focus: Writing stories with unexpected twists
Recommended Audience: These writing exercises, together with the book and author’s story, are recommended for high achievers in grades 7-10. The book is geared toward readers ages 12-15, and might be more appealing to girls than to boys due to subject matter.
Potential Objectionable Material in Book: A developing romantic relationship that consists mainly of flirting and dates, with several thoughts of kissing but only one actual kiss. One instance in which the protagonist thinks, “I wonder if we’ll go beyond kissing” (they do not). One use of the word "sucks" and several uses of the word "crap." In a fit of rage, a character repeatedly pounds on someone’s legs with her fists. A protagonist is depressed and often thinks self-deprecating thoughts.