Dr Who - I am a Dalek
These are some writing activities that I have been doing with my 16 year old son, James, who struggles with dyslexia,
and my 10 year old daughter, Liz.
Throughout these activities it is presumed that you are familiar with the Dr Who TV series.
The focus of these activities is the "I am a Dalek" book. This is a short Dr Who story, written by Gareth Roberts. The first chapter
of this book can be found online on the BBC RaW website - and that is where we begin.
Go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/raw/gamesandquizzes/rawreader/
and open up the "RaW Reader". Choose "I am a Dalek" from the selection of books. Do not read the summary. Go straight to "Read the first chapter".
If you are able to read,
even if you find reading difficult, you should read the story. The chapter isn't very long
and it has been written in a way that is easy to read. If you find that you can't read
the text, there is an audio link on the page, where you can hear the chapter read aloud by
James and Liz both managed to read the text, then later, they listened to the author
* Do not read the summary until after you have finished all the activities (or it will spoil it for you).
First print out this Storyboard template, and make sure you have a pencil and rubber handy.
The chapter ends on a cliffhanger. What happens next? There are so many different possibilities. I know that you
are going to come up with ideas that I haven't thought of. Your challenge is to think of three possibilities for what
happens immediately after the end of Chapter One.
- You should only think about the next 5 minutes.
- Don't worry about how what happens next will impact on the rest of the story.
- Just concentrate on what would be the very next scene if this were an episode of Dr Who on television.
- Only write notes - up to a third of an A4 sheet for each idea.
- Keep things simple.
What happens next?
Now look at your three options, and choose your favourite. Or perhaps you could read them out to someone else, and have them choose for you.
Now use your storyboard template, and draw
this part of the story in 6 steps. Use speech bubbles, if you like, and you could maybe write notes under the pictures. The storyboard is still only a way
of making notes - so enjoy drawing and writing your story, but don't get too bogged down with making everything perfect.
First print out this script template, you will need a pencil and rubber, and two different coloured pens.
You know how in the Dr Who stories The Doctor always gets separated from his companions, and
how this always leads to trouble? Well for this next bit of our story, you need to choose to
be either with The Doctor or with Rose.
The writing we are going to do now, doesn't need to come immediately after the plot development in part 2.
It could do - if that's what you want - but it could also jump ahead to later in the story.
We are going to presume that at some point in the story Rose or The Doctor are going to investigate
the photograph that Rose saw in the paper. So where would they go to do that? Who would they talk to?
We used the options of a newspaper reporter, an archeologist, or a museum curator.
Imagine you are writing the script for the scene in which this meeting happens:
- You need to write a description of the place. Where are you? What does it look like? Sound like? What is happening around you?
- Next you need to describe your main character (The Doctor or Rose). What is s/he wearing?
- Now describe your guest character. What does s/he look like? What is s/he wearing? What sort of person is s/he?
- Finally the really interesting part - the dialogue - what do they say to each other?
Follow the instructions on the "script template", they will help you set this out correctly on the page. You can write on
the template in pencil - then write it up neatly later in pen. Using one colour pen for the descriptions, and another colour
for the dialogue.
Now you can really have some fun. We can tell from the title of the book that this story involves the Daleks. So in this activity we are going to meet at least one Dalek. Again, it doesn't need to come immediately after activity two in the plot line.
You are going to write a section of the book. A short chapter - about as long as 2 to 3 sides of A4 paper. You need to take into account:
- How the characters got to this place and into this situation? This should be explained in the introductory paragraph.
- Where are you? You need to describe the place.
- Which characters are in the scene? How did everyone get back together? Or did they get back together? Maybe it happens in this scene?
- What are the Daleks doing? Why are they there?
So how do your characters meet the Daleks - think of an interesting scene where you introduce the (real) Daleks for the first time in the story. What happens - be dramatic - this should be an exciting event in the book. Think of a good battle or car chase from one of your favourite films or books, how does the writer make it exciting? End at the point where your characters escape from the Daleks.
Write in pencil, correcting spellings etc as you go along, then write it up in pen later. You can add some illustrations if you like.
* You do not have to bring the whole story to an end here - you just have to complete this part of the story.
* Do not write too much.
We conclude these activities by reading the rest of the book.
* Parents should read the book first to see if they think it is suitable reading for their child. Specially if being used for a 10 year old. The book isn't written for children. Having said that, reading it with my daughter in mind, I only found one line that worried me. You know your own child.
- So, what happens next in the book? Is it anything like your version? Which do you prefer?
- How does the fact that the characters get separated impact on the story? What happens when they get back together?
- How is the initial scene with the Daleks handled in the book? How has the author made it exciting? Is your version as exciting? Have you used any similar ideas in your writing?