Clue Jr: Discovering Hints of Stories
Last week, Cammie Finch-—-one of our fabulous volunteers–—led a workshop called Clue Jr: Discovering Hints of Stories. For two hours, our writing lab was transformed into a detective agency full of young writer-detectives who investigated clues from the streets of Ann Arbor. After collecting evidence, each student wrote a story about one artifact—from a mysterious plastic swimming pool to a green rock with googly eyes.
After the workshop, we had the chance to speak with one clever detective by the name of Madhav. A three-year veteran at 826michigan, Madhav has a bit more writing experience than the average nine year old. He recently wrote a memoir at school, which he liked because he was an expert on the subject.
At the Clue Jr. workshop, Madhav got the chance to work with a new genre of writing: mystery. When asked how mystery writing is different from regular fiction writing, he said that mysteries need suspense and mystical characters. His mystery, entitled “The Case of the Gravel Pool,” contains vampires, for example. Madhav’s favorite thing about last week’s workshop was that it allowed for creativity and fantastical elements in his writing.
In fact, Madhav’s favorite thing about 826michigan is that he can use his imagination as much as he wants to. “You don’t have as much pressure,” Madhav said when comparing 826 to other writing work. “I feel more freedom to do things completely out of this world.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be 826michigan without a question about robots, so I asked Madhav what kind of robot he would like to invent. His answer? An ice cream-making robot: one that exclusively makes cookies and cream ice cream. Below is the mystery story that Madhav composed during the Clue Jr. workshop:
The Case of the Gravel Pool
One day I was walking down the alley. I was seeing graffiti and strange words all over the brick walls. There was trash. Then I suddenly saw a pool of mixed water and gravel. “Eew!” I shouted. It was gross. There were slabs of concrete and wood. I thought it was construction. I also thought it was stinky. The environment around me was noisy, full of cars. There was a Michigan football game. I heard chainsaws. I thought, Why would a person want to keep water and gravel in a plastic pool? It was weird. They were probably preserving it for later. My mind said, Potters live here. I saw a glass window. Yup. A coincidence. I saw a pottery wheel, but the house seemed lonely and quiet. I was becoming suspicious about the house. I could see the basement. A vampire was sleeping. “Aagh,” I screamed. Whew. I went on with my stroll. I saw a man with a bandana and slabs of wood, concrete, and gravel in a bag. I thought, This could be the person. And I was becoming curious who this guy was. He was near the bank Chase, and I asked him what his name was. He ran away. I pursued him. He ran to the police. The police caught him. I wondered why he was caught.