Stories With Students: Jenny Writes a Cinderella Parody, and Parker Continues Writing About Pokemon

Jenny and I were studying 'The Raven' by Edgar Allan Poe, but we made a pivot.

Her school teacher had been the one to originally urge her in the direction of studying English poetry. I urge my students to bring anything to me that they want to learn. That's how we end up on such interesting subjects.

Robert Frost's 'The Road Not Taken' went well, and 'The Raven' was going well also. But Jenny's teacher made a new suggestion, that she work on writing a story. This came up in our conversation, so now we're doing it.

Jenny read Cinderella originally when she was 4, I assume in Chinese. She's been thinking about writing her own version of Cinderella for about a month. I asked her to tell me the basic version of Cinderella just to get a feel for what she felt was important in the story, but she's been thinking about this for too long already and here's what came out instead.



There was a boy called Kinderello. He lived happily with his mom and dad. His father always played water polo with him. But one day his father died. His mother married with another man, that man have two brothers who are really bad. In their home two brothers often ask Kinderello to do housework and did many things that which they should do. One day a coach hold a water polo game and Kinderello the two brothers knew that they ask their father to join the play. But their father only allowed the two brothers to join it. And ask Kinderello to do housework at that time. But on that day Kinderello got up early and did housework quickly so that he can go to the playground and when he arrived here the hot dog stores both saw him. She asked Kinderello if he wanted to join the play and Kinderello told her he wanted to join it but his father didn't allow him. So the woman turned him a water polo clothes and the hot so no one could know him. Then she told her you must came to home when the play finish. So he went to the play and he played water polo very well and won the game. The play finished he run to home quickly but he left a shoe on the bench because there are so many people celebrated with him the coach found the shoe and he use the show to find every door if there anyone has fit the shoe. When he arrived at Kinderello's home he let two brothers try it, but the show is too small for them. The father ask him to go to find another door but the coach said to Kinderello "Can you try on this show?" Kinderello said yes and the shoe is fits on his feet. So the coach let Kinderello to join their team and ask the two brothers who beat him to be the water boy.
The End.


Well... that's interesting. She said the name as Cinderella, but I tried to type it out exactly as she said it otherwise. She already had the main character as a boy. I helped her come up with some different options for the name. Kinderello was her decision, and it works so well. My sister reminded me yesterday that the cinder part of Cinderella comes from the fact that she was always covered in ashes, and her real name was Ella. In a similar vein kinder means kid in German, so the real name could be Ello and he happens to be a kid. It works well. They're similar but different. Autocorrect even wants to change Kinderello to Cinderella.

Next we started working on fleshing out the story. She wants to refine the language and exapand the story to make it more vivid. That's exactly what I want as well. Here's what we were able to get done.


Once upon a time there was a boy named Kinderello. He lived happily with his mom and dad. Every weekend he played water polo with his father. Once Kinderello went to school his father and mother went to work suddenly there was a car driving very quickly and nearly will hurt mom so the dad pulled her mom with his whole weight and his mom is okay but his dad was broked by the car. His mom took him to the hospital but it was no use his father can never play water polo with Kinderello again.


I'm excited about it, it's a fun adventure.

Parker is also doing well with his story. Originally we just wanted to read Pokemon stories online. That should have worked well, but the grammar, syntax, and punctuation of the stories on sites like Wattpad were atrocious. So I suggested that I would write a story for him to read. Here's what I wrote.



Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a King that could not be defeated. Because he could not be defeated there was no one that dared to challenge him.
He did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. He took things from people and they couldn't do anything about it. When he was walking through the city he would kick people to get them out of his way.

A boy was in his way one day, and he got kicked. Ash didn't like that very much. He went searching for a power that could defeat the King. See, the King's special power was that he had a Pokemon, a very powerful Pokemon named Charmander. Charmander breathed fire and would destroy anyone that he fought.

Ash went searching near and far. He searched across the city, then the farms, then the fields, then the mountains. Only when he came to the forest on the other side of the mountains did he find what he was looking for. He saw a yellow Pokemon that looked like it was powerful.

It was a great struggle, but eventually Ash captured the Pokemon and named him Pikachu.

With Pikachu Ash went back to the city and waited near the market. When the King came through Ash decided to challenge him in front of everyone. There was a magnificent battle. Charmander and Pikachu were both hurt. The King was angry, and because he was angry he made a mistake.

Pikachu won that day. The King had finally lost and left in disgrace. The people were free, and Ash was a hero.

The End.


I wrote it in a few minutes just because it would be easy, useful, and fun.

Parker really liked it. Then he really liked the idea of writing a story himself. We can do that. Parker's only 8, whereas Jenny is 14, but a short simple little story would work. Parker had other plans. Unfortunately I didn't fully think this through and I didn't put a limit on what we would write, so the story has no end because we aren't to the end yet. But we've already begun going back and rewriting it because getting to the end of the story was going to take a very long time with the way Parker wanted to tell it. We'll learn more about English in the revising process, so that's what we're doing. I also didn't record the different version. I've just been editing and rewriting the original version. That was a mistake. Parker, just like Jenny, makes a lot of the decisions. I just help guide him and explain different options to him. Here is where we are in his story.


Go! Pokemon!

One day Parker was walking on the street and someone was saying "Special news! Special news! Who wants to read the special news!" And Parker said "I want that special news." So he read the special news. It read "Jeff Catches Special Pokemon Named Pikachu!"

Parker knew the news and he walked and walked, but he didn't find Jeff home. So he went on a bus to another city, but there was no Jeff. So he went by ship to America and Parker found Jeff. When he got in Jeff's home Jeff was smiling at him and Jeff asked "What do you want?" Parker said "I want the Pikachu, pleeeease!" A sound came from under the table. Parker heard "Pika-chu!" Pikachu jumped out and used a thunder rod "Piii-kaaa-chuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" And Parker slept.

When he wakes up he's in the forest and Pikachu is standing on his head. And Pikachu is tickling Parker. And Parker laughs "haa-haa-haa." And a caterpillar jumped on the Pikachu and Parker said "No, it's a caterpillar!" When Parker stood up he saw the caterpillar is not a caterpillar, it's a special caterpillar named Caterpie. And Caterpie kicked Parker into a pond. And Parker was angry, so he caught Caterpie, and punished Caterpie. And Parker saw a boy. He said "I want to kill you and you Pokemon." Parker said, "You want to kill me! No way!" And Parker says "Go Pikachu!" "Thunder shock!" "Pikaaa-chuuuuuuuu!" And Pikachu the boy faints. And more boys came. And Pikachu used thunder shock to make they sleeps.

Parker runs, runs, and runs. "Oh no! A bulbasar!" And Parker says "Oh no! Run!" And more bulbasars came. So Parker said "Go Caterpie! Shoot them when them die!" Only one bulbasar are alive and Parker said "Go Pokeball, catch Bulbasar!" But Bulbasar run. And Parker cry. And Parker sleeps. And Pikachu kick Parker to a pool.

When Parker wake up he was get up with a Bulbasar! And Parker say "Go Pokeball, catch Bulbasar!" And Parker catch Bulbasar. And Parker punish Bulbasar.

And Parker go to a city. And someone say, "Do you want to use Pokemon to fight with me?" And Parker say, "No, my Pokemon still to need training." That person say, "Okay, I will wait when you ready." And Parker run.

Parker say "Pikachu you thunder rod to get some leaf to me." "Pika-chuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" And the leaf gone, Pikachu back. And Parker punish Pikachu. "Aaah, Pikachu." And Bulbasar get out and kicked Parker on the tree. And Bulbasar use jungle hammer. And Parker say "Pikachu, stop Bulbasar and use thunder shock." And Bulbasar stop.

And that person came and say "Are you ready?" And Parker say, "No." And Parker run away.

Parker run and run, run to a house, and that person is in that house. And that person say "Are you ready?" And Parker say "Nooo!" And Parker run.

And Parker run into a volcano. "Oh no! Run! Ahhh!" And a Charmander jump out. And Parker say "Pikachu you thunder rod." And Parker say "Go Pokeball, catch Charmander!" And Charmander beat the Pokeball to Parker's face. And Parker sleep.

When Parker wake up he's on a stone. And the stone is on lava. "Oh my gosh, ahh, help me!" And the stone broke. And Charmander jumped out and kicked Parker to another stone. Parker jumped to a another stone and kicked Charmander. And Charmander has some fireworks, and fireworks work. And Parker fly. And Charmander kicked Parker to a cave. And Parker say "You want to kick me into a cave!? You gonna die!" And Parker say "Go Pikachu, thunder rod!" And Pikachu say "Pi-kaa-chuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" And Charmander fly into lava and Charmander get out of the stone. And Charmander use brave fire. And Parker run and run. Brave fire doesn't hit Parker. And Parker say "Ha-ha-ha, go Pokeball, catch Charmander!" And Parker catch Charmander. Parker say "Oh yeah."

"Boooom!" The volcano blew up and Paker flew into the sky. "Ahhhh-ahhhhhh-ahhhhh!" And Parker get on a tree and someone is angry to Parker and that person is the Pokemon trainer. And the Pokemon trainer say "You are ready! Don't lie to me! Use your Pokemon versus my Pokemon. If you don't use your Pokemon versus my Pokemon..." Parker said "Nooo! I'm gonna die!" And that Pokemon trainer say "Go! Pikachu!" And Parker say "Go Pikachu." And Pikachu are fight. "Pii-kaa-chuuuuuuu!" "Ahh!" "Boom!" And Parker Pikachu win. Trainer Pikachu lost. And Pokemon trainer say "You are so lucky this time. You are gonna lost! Haaa!" And the trainer say "Go! Bulbasar!" And Parker say "Oh no, go Charmander." And Charmander defeated Bulbasar. And the trainer say "You are so lucky, ehh." And the trainer cry. "Ehhhh-ehhhh-ehhhh." And Parker is gone by water.

Parker get to a new place and there was a children say "Come on let's versus." "boom" "Ahhh!" Parker fly. And Parker get on the ground and the child say "Go! Evee!" And Parker say "Go! Pikachu!"

Pikachu and Evee had a fight. Pikachu kick Evee to sky. Evee kick Pikachu to a house. Pikachu use thunder rod and Evee fly and get to jungle. So Parker win. "Yay!"

Trainer say "You are not win, I have more Pokemon." The trainer say "Goooo! Bulbasar,kill,him" And Bulbasar use jungle hammer throw Parker to a tree and Parker try "Wehhhh, wehhhh, ehhhh, ehhh." And Bulbasar came use junlge hammer and Parker get in the pool. Parker is angry and Parker say "Pikachu, thunderrrrr rodddd!" And Bulbasar fly. Bulbasar fell asleep. And Parker laughed "Ha-ha-ha, I win, yay!" And Pokemon jump out kick Parker into sky and Parker get into the pool. Parker is angry. Parker pull a gun on his hand and shoot "boom-boom-boom-boom." And that Pokemon run "Ahhh-ahhh. Who can help me?" "That is a cat, ahhh, nooo, a cat!" That is a Mew, but Parker don't know, and Parker called Mew cat. Mew stop run and Parker fly. Mew use replace and Parker get in the pool. Parker is angry, he said "Go Pikachu! Thunderrrr rodddddd!" But it doesn't work. Pikachu fly and Pikachu get in the pool. Parker say "Go Bulbasar! Use jungle hammer." But it doesn't work too. And Bulbasar fly and get in the pool. And Parker cry, "Goo Charmander, breathing fire." It work, it work! And Parker say "Go Pokeball catch Mew." And Parker catch Mew. And Parker sleep.

Parker sleep, sleep, sleep a one hour. And Mew will wake up Parker. "Waaa-waaa-waaaa. What happened? Why I'm flying?" And Mew stop Parker get in pool. "Ow, so hurt bob-bob." And Parker get out. "Stop it, stop ittt!" And Mew stop.


As you can see, hopefully, I try pretty hard to keep an authentic voice and style. I don't rewrite the story myself, I try to guide them to understand where and why changes need to be made and what they're options are. Parker's mother even stepped in and made Parker's story less violent, which was interesting. His struggle with moral issues is very revealing about the nature, need for, and value of narratives. It was also interesting that at first he was telling the story in first person present tense but then thought that third person past tense would be better.

It's been an extremely interesting process. I'm curious to see what happens next.


I've written two fictional pieces that I like so far.

"The City of Peace" - A future history science fiction utopia/dystopia action adventure in a framed story of a father telling his son a story about the child's grandfather.

"The Birth of Hanniba'al" - A dark, somewhat alternative, historical origin story for the Carthage General Hannibal.

Here are three of my most popular posts.

"The Making of a Great First Line in Fiction"

"A Letter to My Niece in 2034"

"The Most Important Question in Philosophy - Part 4 of 4"

You can find more of what I'm doing here:

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