Since playing around with “Samorost” last week, my head has been full of ideas and possibilities for using it as a stimulus for developing setting and character descriptions in my students’ narrative writing.
Here is how Ewan MacIntosh describes it: “just full of potential for some creative writing – the art in the landscapes is surreal and beautiful, with all kinds of nooks and crannies for our imaginations to rumble in.”
Each step of the game provides a detailed and unusual setting that is explored and used to move onto the next stage. The scenes are visually rich and provide a common starting point that the class can share to practice their descriptive writing.
Descriptions of any sort seem quite hard for my students to write – they consist of basic details of what can be seen, without any emotional connection to either character or setting. I’m hoping that the beautiful, fantastic and surreal Samorost environments and creatures will provide an engaging and tangible starting place to build up experiences, ideas and some background knowledge about writing descriptions.
My students need to use details and sense impressions to bring places and people alive. At the moment both people and places in their stories are “flat” and perhaps “cartoony” – characters are either happy or sad, good or bad; stories take place in a school or in a shopping centre or at home. Word choice and sentence structure are basic and rushed, or overlooked completely.
I’ll plan writing lessons around these ideas and will post student responses and writing samples as we go.