Girl in a Box – A Story Prompt

I had a half sleeping dream last night, a blur of images that seemed perfectly odd and delicious…something that might make a great story, short or otherwise. The problem, then, is that I’m not sure where to go with it and I think that one or two of you guys might create something more interesting with this so….I’ve decided to throw the prompt out there! YAY!!

Here are the guidelines…

  1. If you choose to use this prompt and post a short story or excerpt…please link back to this post.
  2. Let me know that you’ve used the prompt and leave a link to your post so we can all go enjoy it!


Writing Prompt:

Jenny paused outside of the large glass windows of the first store she came to. Inside, there were enormous pastel colored triple helixes slowing twisting and turn all around each other as if they were suspended in an antigravity tank, or that video on DNA they’d watched in science class. This was clearly not your average mall. She was beginning to grow concerned about what would come next. Maybe, she mused, I don’t actually want to turn in my application to Girl in a Box!

Wired for Story Chat | Intro and Ch. 1

I have decided to do a series of videos dicussing each chapter in this book and how it affects what I, as an author, am writing. This is a nonfiction that connects Neurology with Writing and is not only important, but interesting and well written as well. I hope you enjoy this (long) video. I promise the rest will be shorter!

Please comment with any suggestions, ideas, constructive criticisms, etc.

New Possibilities

This morning I received an e-mail that threw my already happy mood into a tizzy! I can’t go into many details right now because, well, I don’t know them yet…but suffice it to say that one of my favorite projects might be getting a partner for the finishing touches!

Some of you have been with me for a while now and may remember mentions of a children’s picture book character that I have been working with off and on for a few years (the previous posts can be found here, here, and here). My mother will be illustrating and we are both excited about the endless possibilities that seem to be in store for our Lemur friend!

I will update as more news becomes available. Lord willing, we will know more and start getting details nailed down starting next week.

Remember to ‘like’ our Facebook page, Tyree Tomes, for the earliest updates and information on all of our books!


Leonard (the smaller Black and White Lemur stuffie), Silly (My daughter’s baby with the rainbow hair), and our new Lemur stuffie, I call him Louis but my daughter has dubbed him OoohOOh, AhAhAh UnckYa (Lemurs like to make low grunty noises when happy)

If you would like to see more of my work, check out my Author Page. You can also find my father, Dr. Wilson J Tyree, on his Author Page and he has free e-book give aways very frequently! Please remember to support your Indie Author friends (Like US!) by providing ratings and reviews in places like Amazon and Goodreads. Your reviews help fellow readers find what they’re looking for!

PHEW! One Down…

I want to thank everyone for showing such patience and restraint (Or just ignoring me) while I have been mostly absent from the blog the past several weeks. As I’ve mentioned once or twice, my students and I have been madly reviewing and preparing for the State Writing Test…which happened this morning.

I am incredibly proud of all the hard work and obvious thought that my kids have put in to preparing for, and partaking in, today’s test.

Now we are moving forward with

A) MORE SCIENCE! I am super excited to get into more hands on science work with these guys. Their curiosity and creativity pushes us all to new heights.


B) Publishing our own book of Short Stories, written by the Highland Park 5th Grade of 2015 and edited by Tyree Tomes. Its a great thing!

Thank you again, I hope to bring more non-school related posts to you soon! Have a Whimsical Wednesday!

Dream Dissertation

I have been diagnosed with strep throat and told to stay home and rest as much as possible until Monday (when I’ll be allowed to go back to my classroom). So this morning, just like yesterday morning, I silenced my 5:23 am alarm and went back to sleep. That’s when my ‘dissertation’ dream started up again.

Now I usually dream odd dreams with bright colors and friends. Sometimes I am a character that has been pushing at my mind, other times I’m just me working through daily issues or having a drink at the local coffee house while my friends and I geek out. But I do, rarely, have a dream in which I’ve followed my heart and returned to school. Though I have not yet even begun my Master’s program, last night’s dream had me dissertating on a doctoral level. The basis of my dissertation?

The impact of J. R. R. Tolkien vs. Albert Einstein in the evolution of Children’s Literature.

Let that soak in for a minute…my sub-concious is apparently much smarter than I am. J.R.R. Tolkien vs. Albert Einstein in Children’s Lit—there were Orcs and the 1st law of Motion being tossed around in the mix as if I was only talking about whether red or blue is better for kitchen cabinets.

ALAS! That’s all I can remember because I began to cough so hard that even dream Beth had trouble concentrating. Which is not good, she’s a lot meaner than I am when it comes to interrupted writing. I’m sure to be hearing about it during nap time!

Have you ever dreamed of writing? Or maybe pursuing your waking dreams? Tell me about it! I would LOVE to hear from you!

how much force would an orc carry in travel? These are the questions my sleep self asked...

how much force would an orc carry in travel? These are the questions my sleep self asked…

The PaperCut of DOOM! (bum ba BAAAAAH)

*Disclaimer: This is based on an actual discussion held today in my full of testosterone 2nd hour 5th grade Science classroom. I do not believe that I would have written this story without having had these boys ask this question…

“Mrs. Robbins,” Toby yelled, hopping up and down with one foot balanced in his seat and the other precariously hitting the floor/books/anything else in his way, “I have a question! MRS. ROBBINS! I HAVE TO ASK YOU SOMETHING!!!”

Sighing and shaking her head at their continued inability to follow procedures, Mrs. Robbins turned from passing out papers to stare down Toby and his two hangers-on, Bill and Hunter, who were following his lead with waving arms and blank faces. “Toby,” There it was, THE VOICE, the one that made her sound like her mother and scared the vast majority of her students. Somehow though, these three boys were oblivious to its power.

“So like, in this movie I was watching last night, hahaha, so they like used a piece of paper to make a throwing star and like, huhuhu, killed a bad guy with it,” Toby rushed to get all of his words in before Mrs. Robbins went ballistic. “Could that like, hahaha, could I like make one of those?”

“I suggest that you don’t try,” Mrs. Robbin’s had now switched tactics and her deadly calm and soft voice made even the two non-speaking buffoons back off and go to work on their papers.

“But like, I made one. See?” Toby held up a poorly folded paper star and proceeded to laughingly jab it at his own throat. “OUCH! Mrs. Robbins, I cut myself!”

“Its just a little paper cut,” Mrs. Robbins said stoically, “I told you to stop.”

“Yes ma’am,” Suitably sobered, Toby returned to his own work, rubbing sub consciously at his sore neck.

The next day, the red place on Toby’s neck had not gone away but instead was looking a mite bit angry. By week’s end, the paper cut had become infected and by the next Monday, Toby was admitted to the hospital. With proper care he was released by Wednesday, just in time for a pop quiz!

The moral of the story? Teacher probably does know best!

Getting to the “Bones” of Writing

Being home with a sick family today has given me the gift of a little extra time. As both my daughter and father are sleeping at the moment, I’m taking the time to look through my tentative lesson plans and see what interesting ideas pop up and, surprise surprise, I almost immediately had an epiphany.

As we get down to the real meat of writing in the coming nine weeks, my students will need to tap in to prior knowledge in order to really understand how written pieces come together, so that they can write their own (amazing!) pieces. Since we’re in the middle of October, what better way to could there be to start this discussion than to incorporate Science (anatomy), Art, and Writing in a hands on class discussion about the “Bones of a Story”?

Give each student a copy of a paper skeleton pattern (such as this one I found on Pinterest)

Introduce the basics of the skeleton they’re holding, i.e. the arms, legs, skull, spine, etc. and relate it to writing by way of a transition sentence such as “Just as Our Bodies need a Skeleton to build muscles upon, every written piece needs its author to provide similar bones to build words on.”

Then have an ‘open discussion’ (class discussion) about what the ‘bones’ of a good story might be. Tell the students that throughout the discussion they should choose the ‘story bones’ that sound the most important to them, and write them on one of the skeleton’s pieces. At the end of the discussion each student will cut out and assemble their newly formed ‘writer’s skeleton’.

I will be using this in conjunction with an anchor chart of a (Haunted House!) so that all of our thoughts on the bare bones of writing will be recorded, whether or not the students include everything on their skeletons. At the end of the class, we’ll hang their works of art on the back wall with the filled in anchor chart…with 4 classes of 5th graders this should decorate my classroom for Halloween without too much effort!

Though I teach fifth grade, this is a lesson that can be transferred to almost any age group (Even pre-k and kindergarten!) and any subject without too much effort. The best thing about it, in my opinion, is the great opportunity for you, the teacher, to HAVE FUN WITH IT! When you have fun with learning, the students will too. Enthusiasm, much like the cold, is contagious!

I hope that you have fun if you choose to use this idea, and would love to hear how the kids like it!

Have a wonderful weekend!

**My beginning speech to get minds rolling in this activity will be something similar to “Welcome to Ms. Tyree’s House of Horror’ibly Great Writing! Today we will be discussing the basic parts, or BONES, of a good story. Just like our bodies needs the skeletal system to build up into a person, every story needs it’s own basic (skeletal) structure. 

Each of you should have a set of pages in front of you (the jointed skeleton pattern). Turn those over and take a look. See how those will fit together to form an articulated skeleton?    As we discuss the ‘bones’ of a good story today, I want you to choose your favorite options for a writing skeleton, and put each one of them on one of the bones in front of you. (It does not have to be EVERYTHING that we talk about, JUST THE ONES THAT YOU FEEL STRONGEST ABOUT!) 

Any questions? If not, lets go ahead and start with what you think are the basic bones of a story. (At this point I will be opening the floor up for students to begin interacting with me. Depending on the mood, attitude, and behavior in each particular class that day, they may be allowed to come up and write their choices on the board OR I may do all the writing)

Looking for Ugly Bugs….OR, Ms. Tyree it’s staring at me!

Yesterday my science classes went on an ugly bug walk. Along the way we discovered many things about ourselves and each other. My prissy princesses ran amuck to grab the ugliest, nastiest bugs they could find while some of my more snips and snails type boys squealed and ran from a locust. I, on the other hand, caught a golf ball. His is name is Frederick Marie and my Dad made fast friends with him 😉

During the last class hour a woman came from the newspaper to snap a few pictures and copy down a line or two about just exactly what it was I had them doing (for the record, there will be microscopes and a contest involved!). I figured we would wind up in the middle of the Sunday paper so it was much to my surprise, and many others’ delight, that we were a featured front page story in today’s paper. The students are thrilled with it and I am super proud of them!

Maybe some day my picture in the paper will look like I’m smart…

For now though, I have to go…the praying mantis keeps looking at me and I’m having flash backs to season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! *shudders*





Cellular Writing

This week in my classes we are discussing genres (in writing) and cell structure (in science). At some point this afternoon, after school had finished for the day, it occurred to me that both cells and writing have similar make ups.

The cell wall, or the main level of classification (fiction or nonfiction) encompasses the entire cell/work. Within the protection of this wall we can find the nucleus, mitochondria, so on and so forth. In writing, these pieces become the characters, the theme, and the settings. The nucleus could be seen as the sub-genre (I.e. Realistic fiction) with the internal DNA settings including major plot points.

To that end, I am including my weak artistic endeavor in an attempt to show what I’ve been trying to tell. That’s what writers are supposed to do, right? Show, don’t tell!