Friday 5 Chaperoning a field trip is like a well-told story.

1. Keep it interesting.

  • Kids will behave on a field trip when the place or the information they are learning is new and interesting. (We attended the historical society in our town and experienced life in the olden days.)
  • Readers will keep reading your book if it is interesting.

2. Keep it feeling new.

  • No matter how interesting the place, if the information being presented becomes repetitive, kids get bored and antsy. (By the 6th presentation, we should’ve made a Dunkin Donuts run #srsly.)
  • No matter how interesting your plotline, if nothing new happens or the character faces the same struggles too many times, readers get restless.

3. Keep it personal.

  • When kids make a personal connection through a personal story that is true, that is what they will remember. (Each child had the identity of someone in our town from two hundred years ago. Real people. And they learned about that person’s life.)
  • When a reader connects with a character through the external and internal conflict and theme, the story will stay with them.

4. Keep changing up the setting.

  • A change up in scenery does wonders for interest level. (After getting lectured in the school house and watching yarn spun into wool and then cooking by the hearth, the field games with a fresh breeze was a welcome relief for everyone.)
  • Create different settings within your story, such as not always being in the car or by the lockers or in the bedroom. Your reader will love you and not even know why.

5. Keep it powerful.

  • Rewarding a long day with surprises in a timely manner is what the kids remember. (One mom spent all morning making an awesome lunch for the kids with apple crisp for dessert. She made special sandwiches for the volunteers. I swear I’ve never had a better ham sandwich.)
  • End your story well without drawing it out too long and you will earn fans.

Where do you find comparisons to writing or a well told story?

26 Responses to Friday 5 Chaperoning a field trip is like a well-told story.

  1. Andrea May 27, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Ha! Very amusing, Laura. Thinking about field trip settings reminds me of being stuck on a stinky-smelling bus with a bunch of rowdy elementary students who are bouncing up and down while shrieking. Okay, to kid ears they were just talking — that’s why it’s so important to show the world of the novel through the eyes of the main character.

  2. christine danek May 27, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Love this. Great comparison.

    • Laura May 27, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      It was a long day. And I was extremely glad to get home and take a NAP! 🙂

  3. Stina Lindenblatt May 27, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Eeek! Why do I feel like I know what inspired some of this post (like setting). *chews nervously on fingernails*

  4. Sheri Larsen May 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Keeping it interesting and feeling new is paramount with kids. Heck, even with some adults. Love the tie-in with field trips. And, man, I’ve been on plenty of those. lol

  5. Becky Taylor May 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    As always, great tips Laura!

  6. Amie Kaufman May 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    You’re too clever for words, what a great comparison!

  7. Lydia K May 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    I wonder if dry, didactic lectures could use some help from the three-act structure…LOL

    • Laura May 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

      I think all lectures could use some story telling! 🙂 Thanks everyone for stopping by!

  8. Paul Greci May 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Excellent comparasion, Laura!! I look for these kind of analogies all the time but can’t produce one now. 🙂

  9. Karen Lange May 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    I love this! I’ve been on field trips with kids and can totally relate. Oh my, yes. I recently found inspiration from The Celebrity Apprentice, of all things. Who knew?

    Have a great weekend!

  10. Patti Nielson May 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    What a great analogy. I went on a field trip with my daughter’s class to the zoo yesterday, so I can totally relate about kids getting bored.

  11. Tana Adams May 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Yup! And it sounds a whole lot like being a mom!!

  12. Susan Kaye Quinn May 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Nice! I like the personal connection to people who lived long ago! I think personal connections – where we bond with characters – is vital.

  13. Lisa Green May 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    AWESOME! Do you ever run out of ideas?? So cool.

  14. Ansha Kotyk May 27, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Brilliant post. 🙂 As always. Not only did you show how to make a book better. You let tour guides know what they need to do to engage their audience!
    Former tour guide turned writer,

  15. Alicia Gregoire May 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    I have to say I love how you do these comparisons!

  16. Jen Daiker May 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    This is great. I love when I’m in the middle of writing a story and have a chance to learn some extra tips!!

    I just finished See Jane Write a book for chick lit writers and I’ve learned so much! It’s been incredible! I feel like I’m just ready to learn and perfect my craft!

    • Laura May 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      and yes, I do run out of ideas! 🙂 Thanks everyone. I thought this might kind of be a silly post, but I guess that’s allowed every once in a while. Right? 🙂

  17. Maria Toth May 27, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    O.K. This has got to be one of the best comparisons to writing that I’ve ever read or heard. Tres clever! And it comes at a perfect time as I’m doing final edits to my MG historical ficiton. Passing this on to both of my critique groups. Thanks bunches!

  18. Carolina Valdez Miller May 27, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    Super analogy, Laura!

    Did you recently go on a field trip? 😉

    I could see myself coming up with all these comparisons while chaperoning too.

  19. Marisa May 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Oh man, I definitely fail when it comes to repetition – I have a hard time trusting that I got my point across the first time. Hard to find balance, sometimes. But LOVE that you equated writing to keeping kids interested at a field trip! I used to be a summer camp counselor and keeping my group of kids entertained was a fun challenge (I had 15 3rd-5th graders in my group every field trip – 3 days a week!!)

  20. Patti Mallett May 29, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    Thanks, Laura. There is nothing silly about this post! As I was reading it, I was already planning to write this stuff down. (Bookmarked it for tomorrow.) These are such great reminders of things we need to keep in mind, at all times, when we are writing for young people. (I get bored easily myself, and need things to keep moving.)

  21. Jennifer Hoffine May 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Great comparisons! I like the idea of well-timed rewards, both as a writer and a parent.

  22. Elle Strauss May 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Great writing lessons from real life! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Margo Berendsen May 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Your reader will love you and not even know why – awesome! That’s something about setting I’ve never thought of before – duh! moment.

    I once compared giving presentations to telling a good story. Starting with a hook, using lots of visuals, making a personal connection like you mentioned above… all good stuff. the best presentations are really just good story telling!

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