"Flower (Verb)" by Zara Vale (Australia)
Issue 3.3 November 2021
Read the piece here.
Pre-Reading Quick Write
The author specifies in the title that “flower” is referring to the verb form, as in “to flower.” What other words can you think of that can be used as both a noun (a person, place, thing, or idea) and a verb (an action)? Make a list of the examples you can think of—or challenge a friend to see which one of you can think of more examples in five minutes. Then, play with the words on your list: write a sentence that uses the word twice, once as a verb and once as a noun; write a short free-verse poem that explores the meaning of the word; create a character sketch of a fictional character inspired by one or more of the words; or draw a cartoon with a caption that uses one of the words. As a class, you can display or compile your work as one unique and vibrant dictionary!
To what effect does the author use sentences of varying lengths in the story? For example, find instances of long sentences and short sentences and consider what each contributes to the story. How does the sequence, or layering, of these sentences create a particular effect on the mood, tone, or pace of the story?
Analyze the author’s choice of the second person narrative voice in this story. What might have been the pros or cons of a different perspective? What do you think are some good questions to consider when deciding on a perspective to use in a work of fiction?
Identify the verbs used in the story. How do the verbs contribute to the story? Consider their effect on the mood, the pace of the story, the setting, the reader’s understanding of the protagonist, and any other story elements that come to mind.
Fiction: Near the end of the story, Vale writes, “Who knew something in the cold heart of space could bloom so beautifully.” Inspired by this idea, write a science fiction story that incorporates this theme of incongruity—something being surprisingly out of place, but, in this case, also a welcomed presence and a small sign of hope.
If that prompt is too specific for your liking, consider some of the other concepts explored in “Flower (Verb)” to inspire your science fiction story:
a need for change
a turn of events prompted by extreme boredom
an invention that would change the world as you know it
a long journey
an unfamiliar place
We hope you and your students enjoy reading and discussing Write the World Review issue 3.3. We hope these writing prompts and discussion questions lead to fruitful discussion, thoughtful analysis, and creative writing in your class. Please reach out to our teacher liaison Lori Pelliccia (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your suggestions and feedback. We'd love to hear which activities you used in class and how we can best support you with our future writing projects and lesson plans. If you have a moment to provide some feedback on this survey we'd be very appreciative. We look forward to hearing from you, and we wish you and your students all the best in your reading and writing endeavors!