How to write a good drama logbook

I also write--again, not always well. This is not an advertisement for my own stuff, but maybe it is. Go start a darn notebook and share your crazy ideas with your kids once you realize how much fun it is to keep one, how much fun it is to ramble some days, how much fun it is to let your thoughts become decoration on what was once a blank notebook page.

How to write a good drama logbook

Randall Ethan Hope, Captain. The captain writes about loading supplies onto the ship at the start of the voyage, and the fine crew that has been assembled by first mate Mr.

how to write a good drama logbook

He notes that many of the men are avid readers, musicians, and storytellers, and as the voyage is under way, they are able to entertain themselves wonderfully. The captain records the sighting of an uncharted island and decides to disembark with his crew to look for fruit and fresh water. Then he records their sojourn into the island's interior.

He describes lush vegetation that bears no fruit, bitter water, and an overpowering sickly sweet smell. He also describes an object the crew found and brought aboard: As the crew sets sail again, the captain describes their fascination with the stone.

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All they seem to do is sit and stare into it. He believes they may have contracted some sort of fever from the stone, and he plans to throw it overboard.

The next day he wakes to find that the crew members have locked themselves into the hold with the stone. He pounds on the door of the hold until finally it swings open. He is horrified to find that each member of his crew has turned into an ape.

The next entry records that the storm has passed, though both masts and the ship's rudder are lost.

Teacher's Guide for The Wretched Stone by Chris Van Allsburg

The mysterious stone has gone dark. The men are still apes. As the boat drifts and waits for rescue, the captain discovers that playing the violin and reading to the crew has a positive effect. Discovering that the stone has begun to glow again, he covers it up.

He soon reports that the men have returned to normal; those among them who knew how to read return most quickly to their natural forms. The final entries record that the captain and crew have been rescued. The captain decides to burn the boat and sink it and the stone to the bottom of the sea and not to talk about the strange events with anyone.

Instead of being written like a traditional narrative, the story is laid out in the form of entries into the captain's logbook. Readers experience the drama of the crew's transformation through the confused and terrified eyes of the captain himself.

Frequently bought together I also write--again, not always well. I share what I've published with my students, but I also share what I've written at all steps of my own writing process, asking for their input.
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It is fun to look at how Chris Van Allsburg dates the captain's entries and how the tone of the entries changes to reflect the captain's changing circumstances and mood as the stone begins to affect the crew.

The content of the story is unusual, as well. We are never told what the stone is, how it came to be, or why it has such an extraordinary power over those who spend time with it.

Why is it that crew members that know how to read are more quickly transformed back into humans? It is a rock, approximately two feet across. It is roughly textured, gray in color, but a portion of it is flat and smooth as glass.

From this surface comes a glowing light that is quite beautiful and pleasing to look at. The crew members first stop reading, playing music, dancing, and working, and then finally become monkeys that simply gather around the stone and stare. The eerie light reflects off the blank faces of the monkeys like the flickering light from a television.

Whether the stone is an exact metaphor for television or simply invented to describe how people can be lured away from the creative activities that bring joy and energy to life, The Wretched Stone provides an excellent forum for discussing these ideas with young people.

Fritz appears as just a tail near the leg of a sailor-turned-ape in the hold of the ship. Summary of Teaching Ideas The unusual structure of the book provides a wonderful opportunity to teach young writers about how a story can be told through letters, journal entries, or, as is the case in The Wretched Stone, entries in a logbook.

If you are studying historical fiction in writing workshop, or if you are studying any historical period in social studies, you can use this book as a model for children who are writing historical journal entries for example, children studying the American pioneers' westward journey on the Oregon Trail might write a series of journal entries describing the trip.

Writing in journal or letter form gives us an unusual understanding of the character's voice. When we write in the third person, we are often describing our characters from the outside. Writing journal entries immediately helps the writer get into the mind of the character.

When we write in letter form, not only are we inside the mind of the character, but we are also aiming that character's emotion and thought at another specific character. Guiding Questions for a Wretched Stone Read-aloud What do you notice about how the story is being told? What is different about reading journal entries as opposed to hearing the story told in the third person?

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What do you think this stone is? Does the description remind you of anything?Editorial Reviews. Markham's West with the Night was originally published in the early s and disappeared, only to be rediscovered and reprinted in the s when it became a smash hit.

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