First prepare your environment and materials: Mind Mapping paper spread out on the floor or tables and plenty of good-quality coloured pens. There are seven major stages in the story-telling process.
.X, Thinking of an idea
Each member of the family does an individual brainstorm on ideas for a super-creative fairytale. The ideas might take the form of suggested titles (the more fantastic the better ...) or perhaps central characters (animal, vegetable, extraterrestrial or even human!).
Each person reads out his or her ideas and a vote is taken on which titles or characters to use for today's group story. It may be difficult to choose, but you can always keep the others and use them for another day's story-telling.
Taking a new sheet of paper, everyone draws the chosen central image or character and spends about 20 minutes doing a quick-fire Mind Map burst of the first ideas that come to mind for making the story original, gripping and extraordinary.
Reconstruction and revision
Each family member now selects Basic Ordering Ideas, preferably including some or all of the following:
• Language level
These form the major branches on the reconstructed and revised Mind Maps. Younger members may need a little help here from parents ... Just explain that characters are 'the people in the story', plots are 'what happens in the story', and so on. These Mind Maps should be filled with images and colour, and should take between thirty or forty minutes to draw.
By this time you'll all be ready for a break! Play games, rest, have a drink, and maybe a snack, and then spend about 30 minutes looking at and discussing each other's Mind Maps. This will probably be very amusing as well as surprising - people often find members of their family far more imaginative than they ever imagined! But remember that it's essential to be totally positive about everyone's ideas. Any criticism or discouragement at this stage will drastically reduce that individual's confidence and enjoyment.
Elect a scribe, or, alternatively, each member can take it in turns to draw part of the giant Mind Map. Begin with a multi-coloured, multi-dimensional central image, then select and combine the best Basic Ordering Ideas to make a complete outline for a story. Have as many concepts as you wish radiating out from each of the major branches.
Sitting in a circle round the completed Mind Map, each member takes it in turn to tell part of the story. The story can be passed on at any point but it should ideally be left slightly 'up in the air', leaving the next person to think of an imaginative, fantastic or witty continuation.
Each member should aim to make the story more bizarre and imaginative with every turn. This will encourage the group mind to use the Mind Map as a foundation on which to build a really inventive tower of fantasy. It's a good idea to record this story-telling stage on tape.
I Creating the second group Mind Map
After another short break, you can play back or re-tell the story, while creating a final and more beautiful Mind Map. This final Mind Map can be done either as a group exercise or individually. For the better stories, it is an especially good idea to transcribe the complete text, using a large type, and keeping to a maximum often lines per page. Opposite each page of type should be a blank page, and on each blank page a different member of the family can draw illustrations appropriate to the text. In this way the family creates a superb library of fairytale books and in the process of becoming authors also learns a large number of skills that can be transferred to the school situation. The Mind Maps and illustrations can be used as decorations for the walls in the children's bedrooms (indeed they often end up decorating the entire house!).
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