Personal Mythology Semester Project Guide

(Special thanks to the Advanced Creative Writing teachers at Darby and to Mrs. Rosanna Johnson for the ideas and format of this project.)

You’ll need some type of folder to carry your items in for the next several weeks. Two pocket folders may work the best.

Part 1: Writing from pictures


1.       Bring in ten photographs from your life or the life of your family.

Ø       Each photograph should be distinctly different from the others.  They should come from different events, be of different people, and be taken during different time periods.

Ø       Each photo should give insight into you, your family, or someone important to you.

Ø       At least two of the photos should be older, from when you were young or from your parents’ lives. 

2.       For each photograph, write a scene (one or two paragraphs) describing in detail the event, people, or images present.

Ø       At least two of the scenes should focus on setting

Ø       At least two should focus on character.

Ø       At least two should focus on plot.

Ø       Label each scene by its type.

3.    Develop two of your scenes into FC form for your scrapbook, to be accompanied by their pictures.

4.    Remember: Keep all of the pictures and stories because they will be the groundwork the entire project. They will also go in your scrapbook.


Part 2: Tapping into memory.


1.       Make a list of ten memories (big and small) from your childhood.

2.       Pick five and write a paragraph for each describing the memory.

3.       Of those five, pick three to collect ideas for scrapbook pages, including pictures, collages, words, writings, etc.

4.       Of those three, pick one and develop:

Ø       A thorough characterization about each character. Focus on what they look like, their personalities, and their interests, etc.

Ø       Setting, focusing on imagery.


Ø       Put these ideas together. Create a short story capturing the significance of the event to be included in the final scrapbook with its accoutrements.

5.       Rewrite this story from another character’s point of view.  If there is only one character, write it from a third person narrator or from the point of view of a friend or by-stander telling a story.


Part 3: Interviewing and giving characters life


1.       Pick someone from your parents' or grandparents' generations to whom you are close or are just interested in.  You are going to need to have access to this person, so don’t pick someone who lives far away. This can be a relative or someone outside your family.

2.       Develop a list of at least 20 interview questions you could ask this person.  Among these questions should be a request to get a tour of their pictures.

3.       Set up a time to interview this person. Your need to either tape-record the interview (audio or video) or take detailed notes about their lives.  You may want to take some pictures while you are there.  All notes and pictures from this should be added to your scrapbook.

4.       Write a character sketch about this person.  Capture the following:

Ø       The person’s physical presence

Ø       A full sense of the person’s persona – the flavor and facts of their personality

Ø       A feel for their lives, the mood and events that make them who they are

5.       This character sketch in FC form along with your notes and any pictures will be included in your scrapbook.


Part 4: Capturing the “moments” of your life.


1.       Pick two of the following events/places to visit:

Ø       Cafeteria                                              

Ø       Dinner at home

Ø       Entrance of school when it ends and/or begins

Ø       Hallway between classes

Ø       Sports or music practice

Ø       Fast food restaurant

Ø       Study hall

Ø       The Mall

2.       Now pick two places on your own to visit, giving you a total of four.

At each of these places, take detailed notes of what you see, hear, taste, feel, and smell.  I suggest using places significant to you, especially in terms of creating a scrapbook.  Remember to keep all your notes.  They will go in your scrapbook.

3.       Find photographs in magazines, newspapers, etc. that capture these scenes and/or senses.

4.       Choose one of the four and write a personal narrative about your experience.  Use 1st person present tense.  This will go in your scrapbook.

5.       Choose another of the four and write a descriptive essay about it.  This will also go in your scrapbook.


v      Some activities may be subject to change depending on class studies.

v      If you have ideas for alternative ways to present various parts of this project – poetry for example – just ask!

v      The obvious theme in this project is family, but it could just as easily be school/high school.  Seniors – give this serious consideration: it could be a great way to document your senior year!

v      Consider also making this project digital!


Personal Mythology Scrapbook Final Product
Click HERE to see the rubric used to grade this.


Worth 100 points, your final product Due tba _____

Sketches of scrapbook layout – 25 points Due tba _____


Ø       should be creatively put together: either a separate non-lined notebook or a series of construction or art paper, neatly bound together.

Ø       should capture your life and the lives of those close to you via a conglomerate of photographs, drawings, collages, magazine cutouts, newspaper cutouts, and personal writings (formal and informal).

Ø       must include the items below from each of the groups of exercises though you will certainly wish to include other pieces and work as desired..

Ø       A Table of Contents for the scrapbook.

Ø       Two final copy scenes from the Writing from Pictures activities, including the pictures themselves.

Ø       Three RD or FC descriptive paragraphs from the Tapping into Memory activities, including pictures, collages, words, writings, etc.

Ø       Final Copy of Tapping into Memory Short Story with pictures, collages, words, writings, etc.

Ø       Character sketch in FC form along with your notes and any pictures.

Ø       Capturing the Moments of Your Life “Moment Notes” (total of four) with photos, cut-outs, etc.

Ø       Capturing the Moments of Your Life Personal Narrative FC, Descriptive Essay FC, and accompanying pictures & materials.

Ø       will represent your best writing with appropriate sensitivity to theme, audience, and purpose


Personal Mythology Timeline – subject to change as needs and experience dictate.


tba _______        Work on Part 1 – Writing from pictures

tba _______        Work on Part 2 –  Tapping into your memory  

tba _______        Work on Part 3 – Interviewing and giving characters life 

tba _______        Work on Part 4 – Capturing the moments of your life

tba _______        Finish writing;  put scrapbook together               

tba _______        Final project due

tba _______        Presentations to class


Personal Mythology Points Breakdown – subject to change as needs and experience  dictate.


Part 1 – Writing From Pictures

Due tba _____ 10 points: photos & folders 

Due tba _____ 50 points: 10 scenes – 5 points for each scenes 

Due tba _____ 50 points: FC scenes with RRDs & pictures (both FCs will be included in scrapbook with pictures) – 2 worth 25 points each 


Part 2 – Tapping into memory

Due tba _____ 25 points: 5 descriptive paragraphs (three will be included in scrapbook in RD or FC form) – 5 points each  (three of these to be included with pictures, collages, words, writings, etc. in scrapbook)

Due tba _____ 10 points: characterizations based on your one selected memory 

Due tba _____ 10 points: setting based on your one selected memory 

Due tba _____ 25 points: short story #1  RD with Prewriting due

Due tba _____ 25 points: non-selected short story (could be SS#1 or SS#2, different point of view) FC with RRD; completion only 

Due tba _____ 50 points: selected BEST short story FC with RRD  (Final Copy to be included with pictures, collages, words, writings, etc. in scrapbook) 


Part 3 – Interviewing and giving characters life

Due tba _____ 10 points: name of person and 20 questions

Due tba _____ 20  points: notes or tape of the interview

Due tba _____ 50 points: character sketch FC w/ RRD 


Part 4 - Capturing the “moments” of your life

Due tba _____ 10  points: visits with notes

Due tba _____ 25 points: FC of  Personal Narrative w/ RRD 

Due tba _____ 25 points: FC of Descriptive Essay w/ RRD