The Writer's Den

UCLA's creative writing student group

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Here’s some Santa love.

A few weeks ago, our 10 min. prompt during our meeting was “Santa.” I was able to keep a few of the responses (written on a lovely pile of empty student evaluation forms left in the room) just for you all!

Unlike our usual freewrites, some of us doodled…



And did…whatever this is…


And look…we even wrote a bit. How rare.


Happy Holidays.

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Learning Plot with the WD, Part 2

We ended up teaching plot to our high school class a week after our middle school teams, so I took the results from Columbus and reworked the lesson plan before Friday. Normally we start our classes with a freewrite, then teach the lesson and finish off with an activity. However, our first quarter with Wooden has shown us we need to adapt our traditional routine to better fit this group of students, so we tried Kate’s suggestion doing an activity first and teaching the lesson second.

I think it worked.

First, the starting activity: Each student drew three cards—one each for character, setting, and a story starter—and had 30 minutes to write or plan a short story based on the cards.

Second, the lesson: we drew a plot mountain on the board and explained its different components. (I even made a fancy little graphic for this week’s lesson plan because I was avoiding finals.) Continue reading


Learning Plot with the WD


Anthony started us off on drawing this plot mountain on Harry Potter…Hristiana couldn’t take it anymore and finished with the second half. That’s a turban on Voldemort.

Happy end of the 9th week, people.


And in the morning class, one of our volunteers Cameron offers his account:

Volunteering today with the Writer’s Den at 8:00AM, we’re talking with 7th graders about plot structure and development. We’re talking about the traditional Plot Mountain and have drawn and labelled a diagram on the board. Because vocabulary words tied to a picture doesn’t make a great lesson, we begin dissecting the well-known tale of Little Red Riding Hood, connecting plot points within the story to those on our diagram. All is going smoothly until we begin discussing the Climax, during which Sophie says that the Wolf remarks “What big teeth you have!” Which of course is not his line. So, naturally, just piping in to not really interrupt the lesson, I say “no, that’s what she said…” Talking about Red Riding Hood, of course. I realized too late what I had done as everyone in the class looked at us. Silence for the first time since walking in the door. The other volunteers were looking at me. Sophie, under her breath, tells me to “keep it PG” before the kids erupt in laughter.Later as I am circling the room helping with the writing activity a kid asks me if “that’s what she said” can be a plot point for his story.

I said no.