Tag Archives: castle

A Prompt Disguised as Architecture

CastleFind or print some graph paper, and design your dream home. Or a haunted house. Or the floor plan for a passenger spaceship. Imagine what life would be like if you lived there, and begin to build a plot and characters based on your sketch. Years ago, my son and I drew a floor plan for a castle, complete with surrounding farms and businesses (blacksmith, herbalist, etc.). This exercise in creativity became the launching pad for a story that we began, based on the life of one of the castle’s occupants. It was the first time I had ever witnessed my son enjoying the writing process, and I still have the floor plan and the story to this day. I blogged about it here.

Creative Writing and Castles

Ian and I have been working on a project for the last two days. Yesterday, he wanted to play Minecraft, but my husband was home and using the Xbox. So, in order to keep him occupied, I suggested that he draw up a house plan. Ian has always been really spatially aware, and in order to encourage him, I’ve invested in some house plan books, graph paper and architect’s stencils. We got out the graph paper and began drawing a floor-plan for a castle. A really huge castle with three stories, towers, and a dungeon that’s twice the size of the main floor. By the time we really got into it, we realized that the castle wasn’t enough. You see, there was the issue of the enormous kitchen and grand hall to deal with. The King was going to throw huge parties, and in order to do that, his property would have to be vast, complete with a forest, lake, village, a blacksmith, and farms to supply his larders. Before we knew it, the “map” took up four pieces of paper that we had to tape together. He insisted on a legend for his map, and we talked a bit about what sorts of shops and markets the village would need to support themselves and the royal family. After nearing completion, we realized that we couldn’t just abandon our project. No, there needed to be stories written about this place, and who was going to write them? US! This is the first time that I can remember that Ian picked up a pencil voluntarily and insisted on writing. We took turns writing a sentence or two each, and it was so much fun!