I’ve heard it. I work with kids: “But I like my story the way it is. I don’t want to change it!” (And to tell you the truth, I may hear that even more from grownups than from kids!)
But the reason I love revision is that it allows me to write badly. Which, frankly, is the only reason I can write at all. If I have permission to write badly, then I can feel superior to all that badness by revising it.


So when I was at Snohomish Parent Partnership last month, I made sure to come armed with a REALLY BAD story. Here it is:

Dragon’s Orb

By Brandy Nuwrite


Once upon a time, a girl named Fireda found a dragon that had been attacking her village. She told the dragon to stop attacking her village, but the dragon didn’t want to.
Fireda used her magic orb to get the dragon to do what she wanted.
Then the dragon took the orb away and Fireda couldn’t find it. She was really mad. She then walked toward the cave that the dragon was staying in and secretly went inside. Then the dragon breathed fire on her, but Fireda used her magic shield to protect herself.
Machifa came and tried to find Fireda, but he could not find her. He thought about it and in his mind he said, “Where is Fireda?”
“I’m in here,” Fireda said.
“Where?” said Machifa.
The dragon didn’t like it that they were talking to each other because he wanted to keep Fireda prisoner.
One week later, Onchnu was riding up the mountain. He was all covered in vines so you couldn’t see him. He saw the cave. Then he went inside. Then he found Fireda and Machifa.
“Aha!” said Machifa, because he hated Onchnu since Onchnu was in love with Fireda.
He said that Fireda should come with him and then she did come with him, but the dragon tried to stop them.
Fortunately, they got away.


And here’s how the students of Snohomish Parent Partnership improved on it (note that each section of the story was written by a different group and no group knew what the others were writing.)

Dragon story
Dragon’s Orb

One cold and wet morning in northern Germany, Fireda was walking amongst her quaint village fetching some water from the town well. When she pulled the
bucket from the well, there was a blue and glittering orb, about the size of a baseball. Fireda did not know what it was. Then out of nowhere a dragon flew out of the sky and hit a nearby barn and ran up to her and took the orb.
She said, “Hey, that’s mine!” but the dragon said, “Yes! I’ve got
Then she said, “Give it back to me!” He said, “NO! I do not want to.”
As he started to fly away, she jumped on his back.

What is an orb? An orb is a golden glass ball that fits in the palm of your
hand, with a unique inscription. The inscription reveals numerous magical
powers that open portals to another world. If put into the wrong hands, all
mankind could be destroyed.
Fireda knew the power of the orb and combined it with her special abilities
to soften the dragon’s heart.

The tall green dragon shifted his triangle-shaped eyes and glared at
Fireda. He snatched her shiny blue orb from her hand. In the dark of the cave,
the dragon placed the orb high on his secret ledge. After the dragon fell
asleep, Fireda searched the dank cave for hours. She missed the secret ledge and
didn’t find her magic orb. By sunrise, Fireda was infuriated, enraged and

The dragon left footprints in the wet sand as he went to the cave, where he
fell asleep. Fireda, who felt scared inside, and began to turn pale, crept
toward the cave. She desperately wanted to get her orb back. As she entered the
cave, she accidentally kicked a rock, which echoed loudly, waking the dragon.
Her furious foe breathed fire on her, but Fireda used her magic shield to
protect herself.

Her friend Machifa came and tried desperately to find Fireda. He tried
vainly to find her. Machifa thought about where Fireda was and in his mind he
said, “Where is she?”
“I’m in the back of the cave,” Fireda exclaimed.
“Where?” Machifa asked.
The big, green dragon hated that they were talking because he wanted to
keep her prisoner.

One week later the traveling alpaca salesman Onchnu was riding his woolly
mammoth up a mountain on his way to a customer’s house, when he saw a cave and
went inside. In the cave he saw Machifa and Fireda eating a pizza.
“Aha!” said Machifa, as he pulled out his battle axe and ran towards
Onchnu yelled, “Waaaaiiiit,” as he ducked, barely dodging the blade of the

The red and orange fire-breathing dragon jumped over a cliff with lava. The
dragon spit fireballs and lava at Fireda, Machifa and Onchnu to try to stop
them. Fireda reached into her pocket and felt the magic orb. She ripped it from
the pocket and touched the dragon. The magic orb shrank the dragon and turned it
into a fly. Fireda, Machifa and Onchnu all took turns squishing the fly.

Why We LOVE Revision