Lisa Bullard
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children's fiction and picture books | writing books | children's nonfiction books
You Can Write a Story!
You Can Write a Story! a story-writing recipe for kids
illustrated by Deborah Haley Melmon
published by Two-Can Publishing
ISBN 978-1-58728-587-5

This easy-to-follow story-writing recipe will take you step-by-step through the creative process. Learn how to mix ingredients like characters, settings and action. Stir them up to create conflict. Cook up a beginning, a middle, and an ending to your story. And finally, treat yourself and your friends to a feast of the imagination.


It’s a recipe that can be used again and again!


“Bullard takes a clever approach to teaching children the basic steps in story composition by treating the process as a cooking exercise. She begins with the ‘basic ingredients’ of character, setting, and action, and then takes readers through the various ways they can add ‘flavorings’ to their stories, including ‘spicy settings,’ ‘tempting titles,’ and the all-important ‘taste test’ (revising). Each chapter includes a brainstorming exercise as well as a ‘practice with me’ section. The clear, engaging text speaks directly to a child: ‘Tip: Write the kind of story that you would most like to read.’ Melmon’s cartoon illustrations are bright, amusing, and strategically placed to add interest without being distracting. Budding authors will enjoy this book on their own, and it will be a boon to teachers or librarians trying to generate interest in creative writing.” —Grace Oliff, Hillsdale, NJ, School Library Journal

“Author Lisa Bullard has taught thousands of students about story-writing as part of a ‘Writers & Artists in the Schools’ program; now, she shares her secrets with young readers everywhere in You Can Write a Story!, a spiral-bound how-to writing guide for novice writers in the style of a cookbook, peppered with useful tips and charming color illustrations by artist Deborah Haley Melmon. ‘It is a great idea to put a problem into the beginning. Starting with a problem makes the reader pay attention. Here’s how my story might start with a problem: ‘Pete the polar bear didn't have any friends. The Arctic animals laughed at him because he was purple.’ Step-by-step instructions, and an example story seen through to completion form the heart of this creative guide, enthusiastically recommended for elementary, grade-school, and public libraries.” —Midwest Book Review

a peek at the book
You Can WRite a Story!
You Can Write a Story! by Lisa Bullard and illustrated by Deborah Haley Melmon. Text copyright © 2007 by Lisa Bullard. Illustrations copyright © 2007 by Deborah Haley Melmon. reprinted with the permission of Two-Can Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission from the author or illustrator.
Using You Can Write a Story! in Your Classroom
“We really enjoyed ‘cooking’ during our writing times and, while I’m not sure of the quality of our ‘baked goods,’ the process was fun!! Here’s a bit about what we did.
“I had each of the students bring an apron to school to use during writing
class. Before we started writing each day, they had to gather their ‘cooking’ supplies including the apron, sharp pencils and the papers we were working with. We used a different color paper for each of the steps, so our character interviews were on one color, our setting descriptions using our senses were on another color, etc. The students loved that I gave them freedom to make up whatever, so we had cows playing golf, chipmunks blasting into outer space, and a variety of animals playing soccer on the moon! The hardest part for my kids was to take all the brainstorming activities and turn them into an actual story; they kept just wanting to copy from what they had already written. So, that’s what I'll work on next time!
“Thanks so much for the great ideas! We had a fun time doing it!”

Have you used my book You Can Write a Story! with your students?

Send me your comments and helpful hints, and I'll post the most intriguing of them for other teachers to share. If I post your comment, as my thank-you I will send you a free autographed copy of one of my books. Contact me.

classroom activities and writing prompts

Here's an at-home or in-the-classroom activity to make your own Story Wheel, as seen in the Alphabet Forest at the Minnesota State Fair.

If you visited me at the Fair, and you'd like more Story Wheel sheets to write your own stories, you can download them here.

Across-the-curriculum suggestions for using You Can Write a Story! in your classroom.

Click here to download a free, classroom-tested writing activity to use with your students!

Lisa Bullard
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