Story Bite #6: On Telling Your Own Story

This is an interesting time for me because I’m about to see my very first middle grade book reach the world. As a result of that, a lot of people are asking me questions about myself and how I came to write this book. Writing about yourself is rather different than writing about someone fictional. So for this story bite, we’re going to explore how to tell our own stories, using adaptations of some of the questions I’ve been asked as an author.

As always, here’s a picture:

Here I am, age 18, at Avebury, a Neolithic stone circle in Wiltshire, England. (I probably shouldn’t be touching the ancient stone…) Photo: Patricia Harrison

But don’t use this one as your prompt. Find a picture of yourself. It can be from the distant past, or more recent past, or even from this year. Use that as a starting point.

Now think back to when that picture was taken, and what came before (or after, depending on how old that picture is), and ask yourself:

What is one of my earliest memories? Where was I? Who was with me? What happened? How did I feel?

What was a place I have loved? Where I was born, or where I grew up, or a place I visited? (Where we were born is a crucial part of our lives, but the places that mean the most to us are critical too, so if you wish, focus on them. And the places you love can be a whole country, a state, a town, a forest, a house, or a single room: Think broad, or close.) What did I love about it? The setting? The people? What happened when I was there?

What was my dream when I was younger—or what’s my dream now? What did/do I hope for in my life? Where did/do I want to see myself in ten years? What did/do I hope I’ve done by then?

Each one of these prompts could be its own story bite if you wish, or combine them to make a longer story. If you combine them, just remember to bridge them: Think of something from one that will connect to the next and convey it in a few words or one sentence.

I hope this more introspective story bite was fun!

Directions:

If you’d like to share your story bite with me, please submit it through your teacher or with your school email address or home email address and include: your first name, grade, school’s name (or “homeschooled”), town, and state.

Teachers: if your make story bites part of a lesson, please let me know how it went. And please share them! I’d love to see your students’ work.

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