Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?"

When I was a little girl, we played 20 questions. Sometimes I needed to play 50 questions because it took me so long to guess. The first questions I would ask were: Is it an animal? Is it a vegetable? Is it a mineral? Many times after 20 questions, if I hadn't guessed, I'd say, "I give up." The leader of the game told me the answer and took another turn. Each time, I thought that I should have guessed it.

In writing a story, you want to pose questions to the readers. You are the leader of this "story" game. The answers must be shown to the readers before the end of the book. They can't be left in the dark. The reader must be able to figure out the answers to all the questions you the author chooses to pose by our statements, situations, and actions presented in it.

Delila searched her cabin for _______.

Steven always wanted a _______.

_____________ stared Linette in the face.

You can learn things about writing and about survival by studying different animals, plants, and minerals. Native Indians studied different animals to learn ways to survive. These lessons are called "medicine." Medicine in the Native American tradition is "anything that brings personal power, strength, and understanding." Sometimes you can choose an animal; other times an animal chooses you.

Lessons I've learned from:

Three animals:

· Turtles - It's hard to hurt their feelings because of their strong outer shell.

· Deer - They are fearless. Even though they are afraid, they stay calm.

· Butterflies - They relax and enjoy the stage of life they're in.

What about you? What animals can you learn a lesson from?

Three plants:

· Peace Lily - It blossoms in the middle of a crowd. (It won't bloom if it has too much room in the pot.)

· Kudzu vine - It's good to be able to thrive in many environments. Be flexible. But don't make a nuisance out of yourself.

· Poinsettia - It's important not to have too much light for a Poinsettia to bloom. In Charlotte, NC a nursery that depended upon selling hundreds of poinsettia plants had a problem. It was the second week in December and none of them were blooming. One of the workers noticed that Duke Power had installed a new street light next door. It never did get dark. Poinsettias bloom when there are more hours of darkness than light. The owner called Duke Power and asked them to turn off the street light. Have you guessed what happened? You are right. The poinsettia plants bloomed. The owner sold them to happy customers. And all ended on a happy note.

Three minerals:

· Clay - white clay from North Carolina is used to mold into wonderful useful and beautiful ceramic items.

· Stones - My favorites are small polished stones that are smooth to touch and fun to collect. I love that a man chose a rock to remind him to be grateful for all that he has. He called it a "Gratitude Rock." These small polished stones make a great "Gratitude Rock" to carry with you every day.

· Sea shells - They are beautiful shapes, colors, and sizes. Interesting animals live inside them in the ocean.

When you're writing include an animal, vegetable, or mineral that has special significance to you. It'll bring life to a character and add emotion to your story. They may pose a way for you to put a few questions in your story.

Thanks for reading my blog post. I love having you here with me. Please write and tell me about your favorite animals, vegetables, or minerals and the story to go along with them.


  1. Joan,
    This post made me think of books that contain one or more of these three categories in their titles. I thought of Stone Fox and Stone Soup right away. I imagine there are countless more. I've also read a book called Brave as a Mountain Lion about a Native American boy who was afraid to be on stage in a spelling bee. He ovecame his fears by taking on qualities of animals. Can you think of others?

  2. Dear Linda,
    Thanks for writing and sharing the titles of books that have animal, vegetable, or mineral in them. What about: The Veggie Tales and Charlotte's Web. I'm sure the list could go on and on. Enjoy your day.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. I think I've learned from my dogs. They are loyal, trusting but quick studies. They also forgive and love unconditionally. Great post!

  4. Dear Kandie,
    Thanks for writing. Thanks for saying it was a great post. I enjoyed hearing that you learned from your dogs to be loyal, trusting, and to forgive and love unconditionally. Isn't it amazing what we can learn from animals? Celebrate you and your dogs companionship today!
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards