Wednesday, October 28, 2020

STORY MAGIC Teacher and Library Resources

Are you reading STORY MAGIC in your classroom or book club? The STORY MAGIC Teacher Resources may help. 

The resources include:

  • A writing activity based on the concept of "story magic spells"
  • Other writing, research, and art activity ideas
  • Discussion questions
  • Reading comprehension questions
  • Vocabulary questions

I hope you find these resources helpful. You can download the STORY MAGIC Teacher Resources here. 

I've also recorded a short video called Story Magic and the Writing Process. In it, I talk about Story Magic and provide three writing tips related to the book. 

Feel free to show this video to your class or book club. If you would like me to present on this topic (or another topic) contact me using the contact form at the bottom of this page. If you're using mobile, you may need to switch to the web version to use the contact form. You can also check out the page on school events and resources.

Here is the transcript for the video on Story Magic and the Writing Process:

Hello. I’m Laurel Gale and today I want to talk Story Magic and the writing process. I have three writing tips to share with you today, but before I dive into those, I want to take a moment to tell you about my book, Story Magic.

Story Magic is about a girl named Kaya. She lives in a world where there are these invisible creatures called listeners. Listeners have magical abilities, and they like stories. People have figured out that if they tell a listener a story, and the listener likes the story, the listener will grant magic to the storyteller. This is called story magic. But there’s a catch. Only members of the Story Magicians Guild are allowed to practice story magic, and girls are never allowed to join. Kaya’s older brother teaches her a little magic anyway, and then he goes missing, and Kaya thinks it might be her fault, so she goes on a big dangerous mission to rescue him.

[“Gale crafts a heartwarming tale around a courageous heroine and an unshakeable truth: Stories have a magic all their own and the people who tell them can change the world. Readers will love Kaya’s growth from an uncertain novice to a confident, caring storytelling and magician.” – Sarah McGuire, author of The Flight of Swan.]

[Tip One] In Story Magic, before Kaya starts telling her own stories, she listens to her brother’s stories. This is my first tip for writers. If you want to be a writer, you should also be a reader. You don’t want to copy other people’s stories. Your stories should be your own. But you can learn from what other people have written. Read to enjoy books, but also read to learn. Analyze what you like and what you don’t like, what you think works and what you might do differently. Reading this way will help you grow as a writer.

[Tip Two] The next thing I want to talk about is practice. When Kaya first starts telling stories, she is really nervous. She makes a few mistakes, and the listeners do not like every story that she tells them. But she keeps practicing, and over time, her stories improve. When you first start writing stories, you might make some mistakes, and some of your stories might not come out exactly the way you want them. This is okay. If you keep practicing, your writing skills will improve, just like Kaya’s storytelling skills improve in Story Magic.

[Tip Three] The last thing I want to talk about is revision. Kaya tells stories orally. She does not write them down. This means that after she tells a story, it’s finished. She cannot go back and change what she has said. I think writers have a big advantage her. After we have finished writing a story, we absolutely can go back and make changes. Now sometimes, you might not want to because writing and revision can be hard, and you might be tempted to write something and then say you’re done. While this is understandable, I do not recommend this approach. First drafts can always be improved. When a writer writes a novel, that novel goes through many, many, many drafts before it is ready to be published. And this is a good thing. We want our novels to be the best they can be. When you write something, you should plan on doing revisions. It’s also a good idea to get feedback from other people as you work on these revisions. Sometimes, we’re just too close to our own writing to see what needs to be improved. Try to focus on big picture things, like plotting, pacing, and character development, but also focus on the little details, like grammar, word choice, and sentence structure. Revision is how we truly make our stories magical.