with Bruce Van Patter 2010-2011 School Visits

My visit to Lake School!

The Assembly Stories

The four ingredients: a kid with eyebrow wings in a barn looking for a magic sword helped by a girl who is really fussy about make-up

The story: our hero works on a farm. One day, he finds a strange sword hidden in a corner of the barn. The sword has magical powers and changes his eyebrows into wings. When the farmer finds him flying around, he knows that the kid has found his secret sword, something he has stolen from a mighty wizard. The farmer wants to become a wizard himself.

So the farmer hides the sword again. Now, our flying hero wants to find it and return it, so he asks a neighbor girl to help him. They go into a forbidden room in the barn where she pulls it out of the hay. George, the boy, warns her. Just then the angry farmer rushes in.

So is finding a sword in a haystack as hard as finding a needle?


The four ingredients: a spy guy named Austin in a mall looking for a giant, magic pickle up against a little guy with a giant brain

The story: Austin is trying to figure out what Doctor Brainiac is up to. He knows the little guy must be up to some evil plot. When Austin finds him trying on clothes on a strange guy, he knows something must be wrong, but what?

I have no idea why Dr. Brainiac wants a giant pickle. Or why he's giving him cool clothes and bling.

Coming up with a plot that makes sense is quite a pickle, isn't it?

The workshop tales

This story started with a drawing of a really strong kid. We decided that he likes to go around helping people, but because he's not very careful about how he helps, everyone thinks he's a bully and mean. But he doesn't mind. He just tries to be like his hero, Billy the Bunny -- an action rabbit on a kids cartoon show.

One day, our hero gets a note that says, "I know your secret!" He wonders what that could mean.

He goes to meet the mysterious note-writer. It's a mean kid who has a trained attack-rabbit. Our hero isn't scared, though. He loves bunnies.


This doodle on the right gave us a surprised girl with some kind of weird thing on her head. By the time we were finished brainstorming, we have an adventure girl who is jealous of other photographers in her school who get more attention than her.

So she sets out to find something truly amazing to capture in a picture. While fishing on the sea shore, she finds a strange crystal. She wonders where it might come from.

After much searching, she discovers a cave which is filled with amazing, shiny crystals. But even more importantly, the cave is the creation of an alien lizard who needs just one more thing to turn the cave into a powerful machine that will transform people into crystals. He needs her gem. When he grabs it and puts it partway into its place in the wall, the girl starts to turn into a crystal, but she quickly thinks to take the picture. The reflection of the flash makes the lizard drop the crystal and gives the girl a chance to escape!


Finally, in this story, we had a great doodle of a guy with a plant for hair. Tha helped us dream up a story about a guy who tried to win a science fair with a lotion that made his hair into a plant.

What he didn't know was his rival, another kid who wants to win the fair, put extra growing agents into the potion, so that the hair is growing out of control!

Our hero sets out on a quest to find the antidote.

That quest leads him to follow his rival, who is also trying to find the antidote. Why? Because the troublemaker wants to win the science fair by curing Plant Guy's hair problem. But when the troublemaker falls into quicksand trying to get the special berries, Plant Guy is there to help.

But will he help? Or will he be mean and "leaf" him to his doom?

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New on my site!

I love random connections! Here's a page that will create random What If Questions to help you start stories!


Hey, kids. What a great day we had inventing stories. You are so creative! Who knew you had such wacky, interesting ideas inside of you?

Well, I did. That's why I told you that you were creative at the start of our assembly. And you proved me right.

So now that you know that you have great story ideas, what are you going to do with them? Don't let them go to waste, gathering dust in your brains. Put them down on paper and share them with others. Remember, the more other people enjoy your imagination, the more you're going to want to use it!

Feel free to roam around on the site and find fun ways to get your creative juices flowing!

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Pick the ingredients to stories and click through to see how I've started them. Then you finish the story!

Make a character out of some funny people I've drawn for you!
Over a hundred million wacky headlines wait for you to use them to make your own story!

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