A Neighborhood Full of Stories

Image courtesy of rosezombie:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Marcie Flinchum Atkins-

You know that place where you scraped your knee? The spot where you hide from your sister? The place where the leaves crackle when you walk across them? Your yard and neighborhood is more than just street signs and houses.

It’s full of stories.

A Story Generator

One way to generate ideas, especially ideas about your life, is to draw a map of your neighborhood. You can draw the houses and landmarks. That’s important, but this map must contain even more.

This map needs to have marks and notes on it for things that happened—the silly things (like the time you got shocked 42 times by the trampoline), the secret things (the place where you hide a box of items no one knows about), the tragic things (where you broke your arm).

Inside of many of these events lies a story.

One way to mine your life for these stories is to create as detailed a map as possible.

Sample Neighborhood Maps

Take a look at the neighborhood map I made of my yard and the surrounding neighbors’ yards.

Neighborhood map

Some famous authors have also made neighborhood maps from their childhood homes.

Writing Exercise
Take a blank piece of paper or a piece of graph paper. Draw the basic structures of your neighborhood. Maybe you’ll only include your yard. Or perhaps you want to include more of your neighborhood. Once you have the basic structure of the houses drawn then you can add the events that happened at each of those places. Try writing about one of these stories in your journal. 

Marcie Flinchum Atkins headshot


Marcie Flinchum Atkins writes in the wee hours of the morning (5:00 AM) and then goes off to school to teach fourth graders all day. Marcie writes picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, short stories, and poetry. Learn more about Marcie HERE and You can visit her YouTube channel and at www.marcieatkins.com.

IMPORTANT: Students, NEVER reveal personal information while commenting. NO last names or contact information. I will delete any comments that contain personal information or comments that are inappropriate or off-topic.

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