I'm back from some early summer traveling and now leading a morning activity at my school's middle school summer camp called "Games for the Imaginative Mind." We may get into some game design and such or some writing later this week or next week, but the kids mostly want to play in a game. I have four boys and two girls, and I started them out nominating ideas for genres and settings.
One lad, who also likes to write, came up with high fantasy and zombie apocalypse right off the bat. There was an extended discussion of location, elements, and possible characters, and then I opened it up for a vote. The quietest participant, one of the girls, nominated zombie apocalypse, and everyone agreed that this idea interested them the most. We settled on World War II Sicily for our location, and they set to work on characters.
I said characters could be anyone form anywhere in the world that fit the early forties. We ended up with a local mafia don, his main lieutenant, a Canadian doctor, a Belgian pastry chef, a local auto enthusiast, and an expat Japanese baseball star. Wow. Thrown together by wartime circumstance, they find themselves together in Licata, on the southern coast of Sicily, on Wednesday, August 4, 1943. The last elements of the Third Infantry pull out for the north suddenly, leaving the locals to get back to their normal lives. The doctor has a badly mauled toddler and his mother at her home, and the Don seems to be in the first moments of a turf war with his old rivals. Where did that little kid go?
It's fun. They're creating up a storm, co-leading the game with me in wonderful ways. As one of them said early on, "We could write this as a book by the end of the week!" It does all lead me to take a look at how to add more of this kind of thing to my school-year writing program.
Definitely, to be continued!