LESSON 3.1
Old vs. New Ideas

Grades 1-6

Audience

You should always write for adults, but not just your family. It is much better to talk to people we know than to write for them.

Adults are busy. They don’t have much time. We want a story they will like so we aren’t wasting their time.

Old Ideas

Ideas are “Old” if—

  • The audience probably knows a lot about them

OR

  • The audience probably is not interested in them.

New Ideas

Ideas are “New” if—

  • The audience probably does not know much about them

AND

  • The audience probably is interested in them.

 TROUT SHOUT!

An Old Idea is one an adult stranger probably

knows a lot about OR probably isn’t interested in.

A New Idea is one an adult stranger probably

doesn’t know much about AND is probably interested in.

Task 3.1.1 – Individual or Small Group

Is the following Old or New?

  1. a pool table
  2. a pool table in which you must shoot through water and fish
  3. a bed
  4. a bed in which you sleep upside down on the ceiling
  5. a genius vacuum cleaner
  6. a bald-headed man
  7. a pet tarantula
  8. a rabbit whose ears are microphones
  9. a walking chair
  10. an airplane
  11. a giraffe
  12. gum that makes you chew it
  13. a bald eagle
  14. eyebrows that move around your face
  15. a cat on a roof

I Is Always Old

The word I is Old information.

That’s because the reader does not know you and therefore does not care about you.

For example, pretend I said, “I took the garbage out last night.’

Is that an Old idea or a New idea?

It’s an Old idea. You did not know I took the garbage out last night, but you don’t care.

Descriptive Words Do Not Make an Old New

Just adding descriptive words to an Old idea does not usually make it New.

If you decorate your old bike with streamers and bells, it may look different, but it’s still the same bike.

A dragon                                             Old
A fire-breathing dragon                      Old
A purple, fire-breathing dragon          Old

You might say, “I’ve never heard of a purple, fire-breathing dragon.” However, it’s still a dragon.

On the other hand: A dragon trying to give its treasure away.           New

The Old/New Formula

A formula will help you:

O         +          O         equals              Poor idea
O         +          N         equals              Good idea

O = Old idea
N = New idea

For example:

WHAT STATEMENT

LH

VP

RH

I

had a problem with

a dog

OLD

 

OLD

OLD + OLD = POOR SUBJECT

WHAT STATEMENT

LH

VP

RH

I

had a problem with

a talking dog

OLD

 

NEW

OLD + NEW = GOOD SUBJECT

Task 3.1.2 – Individual or Small Group

Determine the formula for the following:

  1. I had a problem with a mosquito the size of a house.
  2. I had a problem with a moose that thought it was a dog.
  3. I had a problem with King Kong.
  4. I had a problem with an alien.
  5. I had a problem with a mean old man.
  6. I had a problem with an Egyptian mummy.
  7. I had a problem with an Egyptian wildcat.
  8. I had a problem with a poison apple.
  9. I had a problem with a pirate.
  10. I had a problem with a pirate ship.
  11. I had a problem with a ghost.
  12. I had a problem with a window in my neighbor’s house.
  13. I had a problem with a zebra.
  14. I had a problem with an invisible football.
  15. I had a problem with skis that wanted to ski uphill.
  16. I had a problem with my teacher.
  17. I had a problem with my cousin Bill.
  18. I had a problem with an overweight bulldog.
  19. I had a problem with a bull fly that could keyboard.
  20. I had a problem with a vacuum cleaner that sucked up time.