with Bruce Van Patter 2010-2011 School Visits

My visit to Steubing Elementary!

This was my very first school visit in the great state of Texas! What a great day we had. Check out these stories:

The four ingredients: an evil scientist named Moochie Goochie Yellow T-shirt in his cave lab who wants a potion with a silly sidekick of an iron baby

The story: I shortened that long name to Mooch and decided he was a scientist who constantly mooched things off of people. Here he's trying to come up with a super-strength potion. But he's also babysitting his little nephew.

When his beaker of strength potion is missing, he sits down to ponder who might have taken it. I guess it's obvious who drank it!

Want to motivate young writers in your life?

This book can help!

I've collected 39 of my weekly emails to teachers on creative writing into one downloadable book. Kids Can Love to Write captures the essence of my approach to making writing fun for kids. Whether you have an enthused young writer or one that needs big motivation, this book will show you how to get the most out of their imaginative minds.

Find other creative writing helps at my store!


New on my site!

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



The four ingredients: a chicken named Tara at a barn looking for ?? up against a cow

The story: I can't remember what Tara was looking for (so if you remember, email me) but we decided she was so afraid of everything, people nicknamed her "Terror." She wanted to have a safe place to live, so she thought about moving into the barn.

But she keeps seeing a monster cow who scares her. Nobody else ever sees this cow, so all the other barnyard animals think she's just imagining.

There is an evil cow, but it's really just a barn cat who doesn't want a chicken moving into his barn!

Workshop stories

In this tale, a ranch girl really doesn't want to live on a ranch. She loves the excitement of the city. Only once was she there -- when she reported that she saw a strange dust monster in the desert. The TV station brought her into to interview her. She wants so badly to go back and realizes she has to find the dust monster to make herself famous.

But a boy on the ranch, who likes her, doesn't want her to leave, so he also is trying to find the dust monster -- and destroy it! That way he'll keep her around.


In this workshop, the kids gave me a very tricky thing to draw: a fish that looked liike an elf and an elf that looked like a fish.

Why? Because in our story, this elf on the right found a magic fish that helps him, but he doesn't take very good care of the little creature. So one time, near the river, the fish magically transforms them into each other!

But when the elf-turned-fish ends up in the river gorge where the evil rats live, he gets in big trouble. He realizes how much he needs his fishy friend and cries out for help.

Here comes the Fish-turned-elf to the rescue!


Sometimes when I'm coming up with a title, I nail it. Sometimes I just miss a great pun. A friend told me I should have named this Between a Rock and a HOT Place. That would have been better for this story of a dinosaur who collects rocks and paints faces on them to make them into friends. When his favorite one is missing, he suspects the king of the dragons took it!

So he accuses the dragon. But the dragon didn't take it, our hero just lost it when he was spying on the dragon. All this makes the dragon king quite angry!

I was all smiles all day, just because Steubing kids are so creative! What wonderful stories!

Now, don't let those stories go to waste, kids. You know you have good ideas. The next step is to put them down on paper. Sure, it takes work to get them right. Don't be afraid to revise, to correct, to keep at them until they're just the way you want them.

Remember, there is a great feeling that comes from having other people enjoy your ideas. Keep that goal in mind.

While you're here, check out the fun stuff on my site. If you're looking for an idea for a story, I have many ways to kick-start your imagination!

back to main page
programs Fun stuff for families schools reviews bio store
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 make them into a story!

click on the images to go to the writing activities