Imagine the Bones: A Ghost Story Writing Workshop

I present my novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, along with a writing workshop where students explore the power of the imagination. They pay visualization games,  learn about the basic structure of a ghost story (the “bones”), and write their own spooky tales. 

Grades 4 to 6

60 students maximum

Students will need writing materials and paper

To book a presentation at your school, contact me here.


Language Arts:

Speaking and Listening

Reading and Writing

Writing and Representing


I introduce the subject of ghosts and the role that imagination plays in writing. Students play the Radio Game and listen to a dramatic reading from my novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story. Then we have a discussion about what they saw and experienced during the performance. This leads to a conversation about the role of the imagination in listening, reading and writing.

The students learn the basic elements (the “bones”) that form the structure of a ghost story: Suspense, Climax, Atmosphere, Repetition, Explanation and Details (SCARED). I use examples to demonstrate how each element works to make the narrative more effective (i.e.: scary!) and share some technical tricks. Then I lead students in imagination exercises where they shut their eyes and visualize each element of their own ghost stories. They open their eyes and write down what they imagined in either point form or sentences. When the “bones” of the stories are complete, everyone tells their story to a partner. These stories can be developed later in class as either a piece of writing or an oral presentation.

I tell a traditional Newfoundland ghost story and ask students to identify the structural elements to review what they’ve learned. Then I introduce my other books and answer questions.