Story Start Mondays

Each Monday, I'll post a "story starter"—a paragraph, picture, or even a single sentence to kickstart your creative muse. Using the story starter as inspiration, write your own story, poem, essay—or ANYTHING, really.  Keep it for yourself, OR, email your writing to chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com and you'll be entered into a weekly draw to WIN a signed Chase Duffy book! Seriously!

MONDAY - May 22, 2017


In the classic movie Wizard of Oz, Dorothy finds her way home after clicking her ruby red shoes. In the young adult novel, Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard, a pit of great heels transport the protagonist into the past. Those are some powerful shoes!

If Chase found a pair of magical shoes, he'd wish for them to make him run faster, and for longer. What kinds of powers would YOUR magical shoes have? Write a descriptive paragraph about your shoes...or put them on and take us on a short adventure!


MONDAY - May 15, 2017


Chase Duffy bent into position. Ready. He inhaled a sharp breath. Set. The imaginary starting pistol fired. Go! Chase began running...

In the horizon, a spring storm brewed at the edge of his grandfather's canola field. Chase wasn't worried. He could run this trail in 10 minutes flat. He pumped his arms, steadied his breath, and powered toward the finish line, confident he could beat the storm.

Seconds later, the first splat of rain hit him in the eye. Another followed. And then another. Chase couldn't turn around—he was almost at the end. But his heart raced and a chill snaked in through to his bones. A rumble of thunder crackled in the dark sky overhead.

That's the last thing Chase remembered before lightening flashed and everything went dark—


MONDAY - April 24, 2017

If you live in Northern Alberta, the past couple of days of weather may have you scratching your head with confusion—heavy snow in April? Isn't it supposed to be Spring? Then again, most Canadians know not to put too much stock in the seasons. Remember that time it snowed in July? 

For this week's story starter, imagine you have a full day planned with Spring and Summer activities. Maybe you were going to have a picnic at the park. Or challenge your friends to a game of frisbee. But when you look out your window, it's snowing so much you can barely see through the blizzard. Revise your day's plan with the most creative activities you can think of, and write a journal entry that demonstrates your ability to adapt. 

MONDAY - April 10, 2017

Not participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge? You can still take part in this week's creative writing prompt! In celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, I am researching the A to Z of Canadian inventions and inventors—like Reginald Fessenden, who invented AM Radio. Scroll through my archived posts (from A-H) and write a short story, essay, article, or poem about a world where one of these inventions wasn't invented at all!

MONDAY - April 3, 2017


Even if you're not doing the A to Z Blogging Challenge (on your own, or as a class), the alphabet is a great way to brainstorm for stories. Consider the following exercises:
  1. "A" is for adventure! Can you come up with 26 "missions" for your character? Maybe "D" is for deep sea diving, or "T" is for time travel. 
  2. Naming characters is hard work! Go through the alphabet and think of 26 possible names. Vote as a class on one name, or assign one to each student for an alphabetical short story anthology. 
  3. Use the alphabet to come up with 26 writing tips. (Or, go back to Chase's November posts for the A to Z of writing!)

Wish you'd started the challenge? It's not too late! You can sign up here and then get started! be sure to comment on Chase's posts, so he can follow you back!

MONDAY - March 27, 2017


You may not yet be on Spring Break (depending on where you are in the world), but chances are high you've come down with a common affliction at this time of year: Spring Fever! 

Spring Fever is that time of year when you are easily distracted. The warmer weather is prompting you to go outside. Maybe dust off those running shoes and hit the trails, or challenge your friends to a game of hide and seek.

But what if Spring Fever was an actual illness. What would be the symptoms? How could it be cured? Write a short story in which you—or your friend—has come down with a bad case of Spring Fever, and it's up to YOU to find the cure. 


MONDAY - March 20, 2017

Even if it's not sunny in your part of the country. today marks the first day of Spring. Celebrate with one of these short writing prompts:
  • I know it's Spring when:
  • My favourite spring activity is:
  • If I were a little bug I would:
Don't forget to use sensory details—sight, sound, taste, texture, smell—to make your descriptive paragraph bloom! 


MONDAY - March 13, 2017

In the Superman Duffy comic, CLOUD 9, Chase meets a funny leprechaun who takes him to a "city in the clouds" for a lesson on climate change. St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner—which means leprechaun sightings will be on the rise! For this week's creative writing prompt, answer this question: If you met a leprechaun, where would you like him to take you?

MONDAY — March 6, 2017 

March is Women's History Month, a great time to learn about some of the women who have made a significant impact on our lives throughout history. Like Emily Carr, who was considered Canada's Van Gogh (you know, the famous painter?)

On the blog last week, I posted a quiz (don't worry, it's easy and the answers are at the bottom of the page) about some other great women from history. Research one of the women featured in the quiz and consider the following creative writing prompts:

1. What would a day in her life look like?
2. What might life be like in Canada without this person's contribution?
3. Write this famous Canadian's short biography.

What other ways can you celebrate Women's History Month? Don't forget to send me your writing—you could be published on the blog!

MONDAY - February 27, 2017


Amelia Duffy pressed her face up to the bathroom mirror, opened her mouth, and gasped. Her tooth was GONE! It must have fallen out while she was sleeping. She stuck out her tongue and peered into the back of her throat. What if she'd swallowed it? Then the Tooth Fairy wouldn't visit her at all!

Amelia ran back to her bedroom and dug through her blankets piled high at the foot of the bed. She looked under her pillows, beneath the mattress....she even thought she might find it in the laundry basket next to her bed. She was just about to give up, when she spotted a flash of white just about under the bed. Her tooth! 

Amelia cradled her tooth in the palm of her hand ALL day, dreaming of what the Tooth Fairy would bring that evening. Carefully, she placed it under her pillow, and fell asleep thinking about the new microscope she might be able to buy if she combined her allowance AND the Tooth Fairy money. But when Amelia woke up the following day, the Tooth Fairy hadn't left her money at all...

Write a short story about what Amelia finds under her pillow. 

MONDAY - February 20, 2017

Chase Duffy doesn't own any pets. Yet. He's working on it. As part of his mission to show his parents that he would make a great pet owner, Chase has decided to write about what it would be like to own a dog—big dog, little dog, Chase isn't fussy. How about you? Write about your dream pet—whether it's a dog, an iguana, or even a T-Rex. (That would be funny!) 

As an alternative, try one of these other creative writing prompts in celebration of Love Your Pet Day—which is today!

1. Write a short story from the viewpoint of one of your pets. How cute would a "fish tale" be if the tale actually came from the fish's mouth?
2. Write a conversation between you and your pet—assuming your pet can talk, of course. What would you say to each other? What does your pet's voice sound like?
3. What if dogs acted like cats and cats acted like dogs? Write about a world in which this is the case. 
4. Pretend YOU are your pet. Write about your typical day and how you might change it up.
5. What if you had a pet like your favourite cartoon character. Who would it be? What kind of adventures would you have?

MONDAY - February 13, 2017

Do you like your name? Does it suit you? Or have you always thought you'd be better suited to a better name? Like, maybe you have three bearded dragons (just for example!)and you wish people would call you Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons (from the TV show and books Game of Thrones)

Well, if you've always wished of having a different name, today is your chance. It's officially Get A Different Name Day—and even if you can't change your name for real, you can write about why you'd want to. Like your name just as it is? That's okay too! Write about why you love your name and what it means to you. 

MONDAY - February 6, 2017


What's YOUR dream? In honour of Black History Month, spend some time this week writing about your wish for the future. Why is this YOUR dream? Write a descriptive paragraph about your dream, or map out the steps you will need to achieve this dream. 

MONDAY - January 30, 2017


This past Saturday marked the start of Chinese New Year ~ The Year of the Rooster ~ and people around the world celebrated with elaborate parades, games, and traditional foods. Did you? Write a short story, paragraph, or essay about someone who is witnessing this celebration for the first time. What are some of the things you might include? 

MONDAY - January 23, 2017

Did you know that handwriting fires up your creativity more than typing on a computer? It's true! J.K. Rowling—the author of the Harry Potter series—is rumoured to have written a good portion of her books by hand! Want to give it a try?

There's no better time—today is National Handwriting Day! Consider these creative writing prompts to get you started: 
  • If you could write a letter to anyone in the world—alive, or not—who would it be? What questions would you ask him or her? How would you describe life today versus what it was like when she / he was alive?
  • Haven't started a diary? Today is a great time to begin journalling—by hand! If you're not sure where to start, why not jot down your hopes and dreams for the year? 
  • Scroll through the story starters on this blog, choose one, and begin your story...by hand. Let the words flow. 
What other ways can you celebrate National Handwriting Day? Email me at chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com with your completed writing projects and not only could you be PUBLISHED on the blog, you could WIN a set of the comics. 


MONDAY - January 16, 2017


Once upon a time in a deep dark cave, there lived a dragon called...er...well actually, Chase isn't sure what the dragon's name is, because he's too scared to go near it. And he should be. Rumour says, when THIS dragon breathes...GLITTER comes out of it's mouth. Glitter! Can you imagine? Anyway, in order to save his sister, Amelia—who got trapped chasing a monarch butterfly INTO the cave—Chase must face the Glitter Dragon and ask for his sister back—by name. How will he do it? And what is the dragon's name? You write the story. 

MONDAY - January 9, 2017

Every story requires a plot. But no matter how thrilling the adventure or heartwarming the romance, your reader will only connect with it if they have someone to care for—a character they can root for, sympathize with, or even dislike...as long as they're relatable. 

But getting to know your characters can be an exercise in futility. In honour of Peculiar People Day tomorrow (yep, it's a real thing), challenge yourself to really get to know your character, quirks and all, by taking them on a character date. No, you won't have to shell out any cash, but you will need to hone your listening skills. What can you learn about someone in the following scenarios?

1. Take your character out to "lunch." Look up the menu at a popular restaurant and imagine you and your character are ordering from the menu. What items would he/she choose? How would he/she react if the order was made wrong? Or what if he/she found a hair in the soup? Does your character slurp their drink? Scrape their fork across the plate? Does he/she have any allergies? 

2. Take over their Facebook account for the day. You don't have to really start a new Facebook page for your character (though, it could be fun), but consider the kinds of posts he/she would make. Is your character the Facebooker that "likes" everything? What kinds of pictures does he/she post? How many selfies are on the page? What is his/her profile pic? How many friends does he/she have? Create a day's worth of status updates—would they be happy? Positive? Complaining? Does he/she have either of their parents on their page? Which friend does he/she interact with the most? 

Completed one of the above exercises? Share your character sketches with me at chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com and you could WIN a set of the Superman Duffy edu-comics! 


MONDAY - January 2, 2017



Happy New Year! Kick off your most creative year yet with a writing prompt that explores the "art of making resolutions." Write down the top five creative things you resolve to do for 2017 (it can be as simple as "Read 10 Books" or as complicated as "Take an Art Class")—and then make sure to journal your progress throughout the year!

Here are Chase's 5 Creative Resolutions:
1. Write two short stories.
2. Read 25 books and blog about them. 
3. Put together a scrapbook of photos that tell a story.
4. Take a drawing class (maybe from SupermanDuffy illustrator, James Grasdal!).
5. Learn about art forms in different cultures. 

Share your 2017 creative resolutions and you could WIN a complete set of the SupermanDuffy comics. Send them in to chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com by February 1, 2017 to be entered into a draw. 

MONDAY - December 12, 2016


The weather throughout most of Alberta—and Canada!—is frightful. What would happen if you were locked in your house for one week. You have food and water, but no TV, and no Internet. Describe the activities that would keep you busy. 

MONDAY - December 5, 2016

When Chase Duffy committed to a month's worth of Random Acts of Kindness to celebrate the holiday season, he didn't know what the trickle down effect could be. But when he bought hot chocolate for Gordon "Lightning" Smith—his arch nemesis on the track—the strangest, most amazing thing happened...

MONDAY - November 28, 2016

It's official! Your WINTER RESORT FOR MOUNTAIN ANIMALS is OPEN for business, and business is already very good. Describe three of the furry guests and your "hibernation cabin" and some of their favourite activities. Is everyone managing to get along? Give us a snapshot of a "day in the life of a resort owner," including the kinds of food on the menu. Don't forget the hot chocolate!

MONDAY - November 21, 2016


Albertans have been lucky this fall, with minimal snowfall and tolerable temperatures. But according to the Farmer's Almanac—a trusted weather predictor—the white stuff is coming....this week. To get ready for snow, choose one of the following story starters to write about: 
  • If I was in charge of the world's greatest snow fort, I would:
  • What would happen if it was winter all year long?
  • Describe how to build the perfect snowman.
  • The first time I saw snow, I:
  • The best family tradition in winter is:


MONDAY - November 14, 2016

Haven't signed up for NanoWriMo yet? It's not too late! (And, if you're like Chase Duffy, you thrive on deadlines...) Here's a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing—just in case the right idea hasn't inspired you yet:

Christmas is around the corner and Chase is busy writing his wish list for Santa. It hasn't been a perfect year, but he's pretty sure he'll land on Santa's "nice" list (though he's not sure his sister, Amelia, will have as much luck.) To secure his spot, Chase decides to write a letter confessing to Santa about a time in the last year when, maybe, he wasn't as "good" as he should have been. 

What would YOUR confession letter to Santa look like? Write a humorous account of a time when Santa might consider sliding you over to the "naughty" side. (P.S. You can make it up—this is fiction!) 

MONDAY - November 7, 2016

Even though Canadians can't vote in the upcoming U.S. election, Chase has been talking about it a lot of class—the results will create ripple effects around the world, no matter who wins a seat in the Oval Office. Fill in the blank for today's writing prompt:

If I were a world (or school) leader...

MONDAY - October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween! Scare up some great writing with one of these creative story prompts inspired by the spookiest night of the year:
  • The mad scientist was creating a new monster that could...
  • I got an eerie feeling when I heard...
  • The Halloween pumpkin turned into a...
  • The large cauldron of purple liquid started to boil when...
MONDAY - August 22, 2016

Ready to go back to school? Here are some fun writing prompts to get the jump on those predictable "what I did this summer" assignments:

  • Something I did this summer that I'll never do again:
  • On the night before school started, I found a secret letter tucked under my bed. It said...
  • Here's how I changed this summer: 
  • After watching the Olympics, here are my school year goals: 
Choose one writing prompt, complete it, and send your words to chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com to WIN a complete set of the Superman Duffy comics for your school. For real!


MONDAY - July 25, 2016

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the Olympics—the location, the food, the melding of cultures and emphasis on sport. But at the heart of the Games are the athletes, the amazing individuals who push themselves throughout their lives so they might reach the pinnacle of their fields. For many, these athletes are heroes.

But what does that mean? There’s no question that these athletes are a symbol of dedication and perseverance. That they’re motivating and inspiring. Olympic athletes demonstrate what can happen when you never stop giving up on your dreams.

Is that what makes a hero?

For today’s writing prompt, select an athlete to follow during the Olympics and learn about their hopes and dreams and their journey to the Games. Now, reflect on this question with a short written response: When is a sports figure also a hero?


MONDAY — July 18, 2016 

If you've been following the blog, you know I'm counting down to the Olympics. And in last week's Friday post, I talked about culture—specifically, how at Rio 2016 thousands of athletes from different cultures will come together at the Olympic Village. Can you image what that will look like? 

For today's story starter, answer this question: Describe a time in which a cultural difference created a misunderstanding or impacted you in a specific way.


You may write in paragraph, short story, essay, or poetry form. Don't forget to share!

MONDAY — July 11, 2016


The countdown to the 2016 Summer Olympics continues with a writing prompt designed to put YOU in the shoes of an athlete!

Research some of the first Olympic sports from way back in Ancient Greece, more than 3,000 years ago. (This site is a fantastic resource.) Now, pretend you are one of the athletes competing in the original games, and write your autobiography. It can be a few paragraphs or pages—you decide!—but be sure to include some of your athletic accomplishments, and some insight into your life beyond the Olympics. Can't wait to read them!

MONDAY — June 27, 2016

It's Superman's birthday Thursday, and in celebration, today's writing prompt puts YOU in the role of a superhero!

Superman can leap over tall buildings. Aquaman rules the water, and Spiderman wraps the bad guys up in his elaborate web. If you could be a superhero, what would you call yourself, and what kind of superhuman powers would you have?

MONDAY — June 20, 2016


A dragon, a knight, a castle, oh my! What is going on in this picture?


MONDAY — June 13, 2016

STOP! Pick up the book you're reading RIGHT NOW (or the one on your bedside table or in your backpack) and turn to page 25. Choose one FANTASTIC sentence from the page and copy it into your notebook. This is your Monday writing prompt...

Using the same setting and characters from the book, write "what happens next"—not from memory (if you've already read past page 25), but from your imagination. Consider characters traits, and details about the location of the story. Don't be afraid to really dive into the scene! 

No book on the go? Choose one of your past favourites. Same rules apply. 

MONDAY — June 6, 2016

It's no secret that Chase Duffy can run really fast—his friends even call him Superman! Of course, Chase doesn't have real super powers. But what if he did? 

What if YOU did?

In today's story starter, imagine you could have ANY super power in the world. What would you choose? How would you use this super power to help people?

MONDAY — May 30, 2016

Everyone knows that Chase Superman Duffy wants to be a runner—that's even how he got his nickname, from being the fastest kid in his class.

So OBVIOUSLY Chase is counting down to the Olympics, where he will watch his Canadian idols compete for Gold, and dream about standing on that podium one day.

But of course, not everyone is sports-inclined. In today's story starter, pretend you've won an Olympic medal for the event of YOUR choice—it doesn't even have to be a sport. Maybe you've won an Olympic medal in reading!

Now, write your acceptance speech. Be sure to thank all those who have helped you achieve your dream, share what it took to get you there, and tell us how you will celebrate this Olympic moment. And hey...congrats! You deserve it!


MONDAY — May 23, 2016

There's a dinosaur in my backyard.

I rub my eyes and blink three times, but the T-Rex is still there. Staring at me through my bedroom window with big eyes, big teeth, and big nostrils that are steaming up the glass. I'm trying not to scream, but the truth is, I'm terrified.

Not just for myself, even though I'm pretty sure this dinosaur wants to eat me. But for the entire planet, because if there's a T-Rex in MY backyard, he probably isn't the only one. Like, there could be a Brontosaurus in YOUR backyard.

And we all know what happened to the dinosaurs...right?

MONDAY — May 16, 2016

On a visit to the local zoo, you and your dad take a break near the gorilla area. You watch amazed at the animal's movements, stunned at how closely they resemble that of a human. One gorilla takes a particular interest in you and shuffles closer to the separation glass. He sits. Waves. You can hardly contain your excitement. This gorilla really likes you. And that's when you hear him say...


MONDAY — May 9, 2016

Chase found the leather-bound journal on the bus.

"What's this?" he said aloud, flipping through the book to find a name or an address. As someone who kept his own very private journal, Chase knew the owner would want it back. But he didn't see anything but drawings. INCREDIBLE drawings. People, places, nature, monsters. Anything and everything.

The hair on the back of Chase's neck stood on end. As beautiful as the drawings were, there's was something eerie about them, almost as though....

MONDAY — May 2, 2016

Chase Duffy sat straighter in his desk and tried to focus, but he hadn't slept much the night before—and the teacher's voice was almost putting him to sleep. He had to wake up! His eyes felt droopy.He rolled his neck from side to side. Stretched his arms into the air.

"Pssst."

The harsh whisper startled Chase.

"Pssst."

Chase was about to turn his head to see who was whispering in his ear when the voice said, "Keep your head facing the front. Just listen."

"What do you want?" Chase whispered, loud enough to catch his teacher's eye. She gave him a warning look.

"I'm about to tell you something...but you have to keep it a secret...."

What is the secret? Write a paragraph (or more!) of dialogue between Chase and this mystery character.



MONDAY — April 25, 2016

Use this image as a visual creative story starter. What is happening here? Who are the characters? Describe the scene. Don't forget to include sensory detail—use all senses where possible.



MONDAY — April 18, 2016

BOOM! The sound echoed in the inky still of night. Huge vines wrapped around trees, with leaves so thick they blocked moon's light. Small animals rustled through the heavy brush, sending goosebumps along Chase Duffy's arms. His eyes searched for the source of the sound—but he saw nothing. If only Chase had known the danger before stepping into the forest...

MONDAY — April 11, 2016

Chase Duffy rubbed his eyes and squinted out his bedroom window. Blinked. Then rubbed them again. It didn't make sense—there's no way it could be—and yet, in the middle of his backyard, midway up the old Oak tree that had been there forever, stood a giant treehouse. The siding was made of light wood, like cedar, and a ladder led to a balcony where a gleaming red door beckoned Chase to explore. He rubbed his eyes one last time, and then slid out the door and crept around to the backyard. If someone was in that treehouse, he intended to find out who...and why.

MONDAY — April 4, 2016

Even if you're not doing the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, that doesn't mean you can't use the same concept to kickstart your creative writing. Using the alphabet is a great way to brainstorm on anything from character names to writing themes.

What lists can you and your class brainstorm—from A to Z?

MONDAY — March 28, 2016

Already dreading the "What I did on Spring Break" essay your teacher is sure to give you when you head back to class? Here's a tip: Start writing it now.

With embellishments.

Instead of what you actually did on your Spring Break, describe your dream adventure—in the form of a short story. Don't be afraid to let your imagination run wild!

MONDAY — March 21, 2016




Based on the above image, describe what the hero of your story sees, smells, tastes, hears and feels. Do screams of joy whip through the carnival grounds? Or is there an series silence, as though the fair has been abandoned? Is one light on the Zipper sign flickering? What smells better, the mini donuts or the popcorn? Use all five senses to bring this scene to life.


MONDAY — March 14, 2016

The itsy bitsy spider crawled up...Chase's eyeballs nearly popped out of his head. This was no itsy bitty spider. Was it just him or were spiders getting bigger these days. Chase grabbed a handful of Kleenex and tip-toed over to the wall. He was just about to squish the arachnid when his sister's shout made him jump a foot into the air. "You can't KILL it! It's SAVE A SPIDER DAY."

Chase swallowed the lump in his throat. "If I can't get rid of it, what am I supposed to do with it?"

Amelia lifted her eyebrow. "I have an idea..."

MONDAY — March 7, 2016

Chase Duffy stared out his bedroom window, his jaw slack, eyes wide in shock. He'd expected March to come in like a lion, and knew there would be more days of bad weather before spring finally arrived. He expected to run inside for a little longer. And assumed that it was too early to put away his winter coat. But this?

Chase swallowed hard and pulled the curtains closed. No way Chase could have predicted this.


MONDAY — February 29, 2016

Chase spent all weekend working on a "dark" retelling of a fairy tale for his class assignment. Last year, he changed the ending of Snow White, and the year before that, he tackled Cinderella. But neither of those retellings had the "grim" factor he was looking for, so this time, Chase decided to rewrite Rapunzel. And by the time he finished his story, when lady Rapunzel let down her hair...they slithered to the ground in the form of snakes! <shudder>

For today's creative story spark, why not brainstorm alternative endings for some of your favourite fairy tales? What would happen if an eighth dwarf joined Snow White's crew? Or if the wolf was the least of Red Riding Hood's problems?

MONDAY — February 22, 2016

Chase laced up his runners and kneeled into starting position. Ready.

He exhaled. Set. In his mind, he imagined the starting pistol going off, signalling the beginning of his track and field race.

Go!

Except this time, Chase wasn't trying to beat his arch nemesis Gordon "Lightning" Smith around the track. Chase was trying out for the long jump team this year, and with his grandfather's help, he'd built a dirt pit at the end of the path just before the watershed on the edge of Grandpa's farm.

Chase pumped his arms, running faster and faster. This was a "Leap" year, and Chase planned to jump his way into first place. His legs felt like pinwheels beneath him, propelling forward. He saw the dirt pit, bent his knees ever so slightly, and leaped. He soared higher and higher and higher until...


MONDAY — February 15, 2016

"All aboard!" Chase's dad called out through the open window of the family minivan. "The bus leaves in two minutes. I repeat, two minutes."

Chase's heart rate spiked. This Family Day, his parents were taking him to the Drumheller dinosaur museum—no way he would miss that! He stuffed a flashlight, small digital camera, bottle of water, and a granola bar into his backpack and slung it over his shoulder. Whatever adventure awaited, he'd be prepared.

The minivan rolled along the highway, past the snow capped fields. Chase played "I spy" with his sister, noting the farm buildings that had become familiar along this road. He'd almost grown tired of the game when Amelia's voice rose with excitement just as they passed into Drumheller. She tugged on his shirt sleeve. "Chase, I spy with my little eye something that is BIG."

That could be anything, Chase thought. "Is it brown?"

Amelia shook her head, her eyes wide. "Nope. It's...green...ish. And TALL."

Chase turned his neck to follow his sister's gaze. A lump formed in the back of his throat. "I spy with my little eye, something...."

What did Chase and his sister spy?


MONDAY — February 8, 2016

Southern Alberta is known to get a bit windy—but when Chase and his sister head out to the park to celebrate Fly a Kite Day, "wind warning" takes on a whole new meaning and a visit to their cousin's house takes a drastic turn. Of course, Chase isn't the type to run FROM adventure.

Write a short story in which Chase and his sister are whisked away by the wind. Where do they wind up? What is the first thing they see?

MONDAY — February 1, 2016

This is it—one of the most important weeks of the year. If the groundhog sees his shadow tomorrow, then it's six more weeks of winter! Chase is on pins and needles. He needs spring to arrive early so he can start track and field training early. But when he wakes up, something has happened to the groundhog...what happened? And what does this mean for Groundhog Day?

MONDAY — January 25, 2016

Chase Duffy likes to run. He's good at running—in fact, his Track and Field coach says he has a shot at going pro someday.

Every morning in the Spring, Chase laces up his kicks and heads out for practice, always aiming for his personal best.

But something different happens today—the very opposite of normal....


MONDAY — January 18, 2016

At the airport, a mysterious stranger offers Chase a dollar to carry a package onto the plane. It's nothing illegal or dangerous she assures him, and it's already passed through security. Chase isn't sure, but then he realizes the woman looks like she is about to cry. He could use the extra money, and why not be kind? What could possibly go wrong?


MONDAY — January 11, 2016

At a Chinese restaurant, Chase opens a fortune cookie and reads the following message: The next person you meet will tell you how to make your dreams come true.

Describe their meeting—and the advice this mysterious stranger gives.

MONDAY — January 4, 2016 

Amelia Duffy isn't afraid of bugs. She won't run squealing from a spider (well, maybe a tarantula). But the "monster" under her bed? Yeah—he (or she) kind of gives her the heebie jeebies.

She long ago stopped believing in the power of Windex ("spray it under you bed," her dad used to say—it never works) and leaving a night light on wasn't quite doing the trick. She could feel the monster's presence.

"Write the monster a letter, politely asking it to leave," her brother Chase suggested.

Amelia thought about it for a long time. What could it hurt? She pulled out a fresh sheet of stationary—one of the pages with monarch butterflies all over it—and began to write:

Dear, Monster Under the Bed:

What FRIENDLY words did Amelia use to chase the monster under her bed away? Finish writing her letter.

MONDAY — December 28, 2015 

Pop. Pop. Pop. Chase ran to the window and peered into the darkness. Pop. Pop. Pop. That sound...fireworks? He glanced at the clock. It was too early for New Year's Eve fireworks—a whole day too early. So, what was happening? Maybe that sound wasn't fireworks at all?

MONDAY — December 21, 2015 

Chase leans in for a closer look at the recipe card, squints one eye. Some of the lettering is blurry, but he THINKS he's supposed to put two teaspoons of baking powder into his cookie dough. He carefully measures out the powder and adds it to the bowl. Snap-crackle-pop. Chase's eyes widen. The mixture is bubbling over! He throws a dish towel over it, but the dough keeps rising and rising until...

MONDAY — December 14, 2015 

There is more to Christmas than presents and chocolate -- like, spending time with family and friends. Write a one page description of a memory you've shared with a member of your family. Maybe it's fishing with your dad, or that epic BMX race with your cousin. Whatever your memory, use the five senses to bring it to life for your readers.

MONDAY — December 7, 2015 

After spending several hours researching his most anticipated books of 2016, Chase Duffy finally came up with a Christmas list for Santa—and there are some reads ahead.

Except...something went very wrong. He just received a note from Santa that said: List declined.

As it turns out, Chase has been blamed for something that put him on Santa's "naughty" list—and unless Chase can talk his way out of it, it's coal in his stocking this year.

Write Chase out of this predicament, but hurry—Christmas is just a few weeks away!


MONDAY — November 30, 2015 

Tomorrow is the first day of December and it's finally beginning to look a lot like winter. Describe the scene. (Don't forget to use sensory details like taste, touch, smell, and sound!)

MONDAY — November 23, 2015 

Amelia Duffy bundles up in her warmest coat, a pair of gloves, and a floppy toque that hangs over her eyes. If she could find her snowsuit, she'd wear that too—because SNOW is in the forecast and she's sure that when she steps outside, there will be a foot of it, at least.

But when she opens the door, there's still NO snow—and Christmas is just a month away. And with this uncharacteristically warm fall, she begins to wonder if she'll ever see snow again. Describe a Christmas morning in which there is no snow...

MONDAY — November 16, 2015 

The noon hour blast of the school bell announces the start of the annual Track and Field races. Chase Duffy has been practicing every day—he wants to WIN. He moves into starting position, readies his stance, and glances over at his competition, Gordon Lightning Smith. Except, the person next to him isn't Lightning at all—and Chase isn't sure ANY amount of practice could help him win against this competitor...

MONDAY — November 9, 2015 

Halloween may be over, but spooky things happen all the time—like this week's Friday the 13th. Whether you're writing something for NaNoWriMo, a classroom story, or just want to get your creative adrenaline pumping, one of these three superstitions is sure to do the trick:
  1. Chase reaches a dead end on his run and has to turn around—but now there's a giant ladder blocking the path. Going under it is bad luck. What does Chase do?
  2. Amelia loves bugs—ladybugs, Bertha worms, even spiders!—but there's something about that black cat that is giving her the heebie jeebies. How does she make sure it doesn't cross her path?
  3. Mirror, mirror on the wall, Lightning Smith thinks he's the fairest of them all. Until his image cracks the glass—that's seven years of bad luck, unless he does something to change his fate.
MONDAY — November 2, 2015 

Remembrance Day is just around the corner. Use this sentence to start your story honoring Canada: When I looked out the window on Remembrance Day, I could see the Canadian flag. I touch the poppy pinned to my jacket and it makes me think about...

MONDAY — October 26, 2015 

Chase Duffy LOVES Daylight Savings Time—especially in the autumn, when time falls back. But THIS year, Daylight Savings Time means more than just an extra hour of sleep. Write a short story about something that happens during Daylight Savings Time. What if you literally fell back in time? Where would you land? What would you do?

MONDAY — October 19, 2015


 This abandoned amusement park pic is bound to inspire a spooktacular story, perfect for Halloween!

MONDAY — October 12, 2015 

Wow! Turns out the guy who discovered water on Mars was also a heavy metal guitarist. Sounds like a great character to me. This week, write about a) something to do with finding water on Mars or b) a character with diverse interests—like an astronaut who was a former band member. 

Send your story or character sketch to chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com and you'll automatically receive a FREE copy of Shiver Me Timbers, the latest Superman Duffy book, out next month!

MONDAY — October 5, 2015

Celebrate World Teacher Day today with a haiku about your favourite teacher. Here's one about Mrs. Kratky, Chase's Language Arts teacher. Remember the rules—5 syllables, 7 syllables, and then 5 again. No rhyming required!

Any length and style
Mrs. K loves good stories

She helps me write them

MONDAY — September 28, 2015

MONDAY — September 21, 2015

This week's story starter is probably the most inspiring yet—no joke! Print off a picture of your two favourite comic book characters (or grab a few comics from your bedroom for visual inspiration) and switch their superpowers. For example, maybe Superman turns green like the Hulk, and the Hulk can run faster than a speeding bullet. (That would be funny!) Now, begin your story at a point where each of them realizes their powers have been switched.

Send your stories to chase.superman.duffy@gmail.com and we'll publish them on the blog THIS Friday AND send you a free Chase Superman Duffy comic to celebrate NATIONAL COMIC BOOK DAY.


MONDAY — September 14, 2015

Chase Duffy smooths his hand over the fresh page of his new notebook. His heartbeat quickens and his mind starts working in overdrive. He has to be dreaming, because that's the only way to explain his Math teacher's strange assignment—to start a MATH JOURNAL. Chase swallows. He doesn't even like Math, let alone know how to write about it.

The pen dangles between his fingertips. His teacher's words come back to him: write about your problems with Math.

A smile forms in the corner of Chase's mouth. He begins to write a story about multiplication—about how no matter how many times he tries, he can't remember what nine times nine is... The words start slowly, but then they pick up speed and suddenly, the Number 81 becomes the hero of his story.

Describe Chase's epic journey with the Number 81, or choose your own Math problem to write about. Who knows, maybe you'll find a solution to an equation that's been bothering you for a long time.

MONDAY — August 31, 2015

Have you ever read a story and wished for a different ending? Then this week's story starter is PERFECT for you. Pick a book from your bookshelf and read the last chapter or few pages. Rewrite the ending. Not sure which book to choose? Gotta Jet leaves readers dangling (on purpose!) Get your copy by contacting www.learncanola.com!


MONDAY — August 24, 2015

Chase Duffy checks his reflection in the mirror. New hair cut? Check. New running shoes? Check. School supplies? Yup. So why is his heart like a drum beating a war chant? It's the first day of school—and while Chase is really looking forward to going back to class, he had the strangest dream and can't seem to shake it. He dreamt that...

MONDAY — August 17, 2015

In celebration of Bad Poetry Day, why not try your hand at writing a haiku? A haiku is a three-line poem—the first line contains five syllables, the second has seven, and the third, five. No rhyming needed! Here's an example:

When are poems bad?
Art is subjective, you say
Opinions required!

OK, your turn.

PS: For more examples of haikus, check out 5-7-5 Errand Boy.

MONDAY — August 10, 2015

When Chase stumbles upon an old bottle in his grandparents' attic, he doesn't expect to find a genie trapped inside. But when the genie says he'll grant Chase three wishes, Chase decides he has nothing to lose. He wishes first for a new running shoes—and is shocked when a pair of sweet new kicks land on his feet. Next, he wishes for a running companion...but that doesn't go quite as well. He'd hoped for a dog, and instead, the genie gives him a pet goldfish! When it's time for his third wish, Chase is a little more hesitant. He closes his eyes, takes in a deep breath and says, "Genie, I wish for..." What does Chase wish for? And what happens?

MONDAY — August 3, 2015

Chase is reading one of his very favourite books when he starts to feel faint. His head is light and airy, as if it's up in the clouds, and his heart beats like a war drum, warning that something ominous is about to happen. Everything goes black. When he opens his eyes, Chase realizes he's no longer at his grandparents' canola farm—somehow, he got sucked into the story he was reading. Literally. And his favourite book is a scary book indeed!

Choose one of your favourite books—maybe it's even one of the Chase "Superman" Duffy comics— and write what happens when YOU become part of the story...


MONDAY — July 27, 2015

Chase bends into starting position and laces up his kicks. Leans forward. Looks up and takes a deep breathe. In the distance, his grandfather works the canola field on his tractor. Today, Chase plans to run his personal best. Ready! Set! Er...go....?!

Something's not right.

Every week, Chase sprints the length of his grandpa's field, but for the past month, it's been too hot. Now, the yellow flowers are missing—and the field doesn't look anything like Chase remembers. It's not quite the apocalypse, but something very strange is going down at his grandparent's farm.

Describe what Chase sees.


MONDAY — July 20, 2015

Did you know that because the MOON has no atmosphere or wind, footprints will never disappear.

Although many humans have landed on the moon—including Neil Armstrong, the very first—NASA claims that no other life forms could survive life on the surface.

For this week's creative story starter, imagine you have just landed on the moon. You step out of your shuttle, and you're surrounded by footprints—

But none of these footprints look human at all...

MONDAY — July 13, 2015

After weeks of hot weather, it's finally cooled off enough for Chase to spend time indoors and do one of his favourite things—read a good book! He loves the story, the characters, the setting...It's an almost perfect book. Until he gets to the end. Despite great build-up, he doesn't feel satisfied.

Good news for Chase—he also likes to write. So he's decided to re-write the story ending, even if he's the only one that has ever read it. Your mission? Think of a book you've read where the last few pages didn't turn out exactly how you thought. Now, try and re-write them.

Oh! And if you have a copy of Gotta Jet!, maybe you want to finish THAT story and tell readers who YOU think should win the race.

MONDAY — July 6, 2015

Wahoo! This will be Chase's third trip to the Calgary Stampede—but this time when he visits the Alberta Canola Producers Booth in the Agrium building, he comes come face to face with a life-like statue of...himself!

Totally cool!

Except...he's almost positive the Chase statue winks at him. He rubs his eyes to clear out the cobwebs.

Maybe it's the bright sun, or the fact he didn't sleep the night before because he was so excited. But when he opens his eyes again, the statue does too.

In fact, Chase-statue seems to be copying Chase's every move. Hey! What's going on here?

MONDAY — June 29, 2015


In honour of WORLD CAMERA DAY, today's creative story starter is an image. Write a descriptive paragraph based on this spooktacular picture of an Alberta canola field.


MONDAY — June 22, 2015



Chase Duffy peers out his bedroom window—his shoulders slump, his mouth turns down into a frown. It's the second official day of summer and it's raining. Hard. So much for his after school picnic idea. And, it looks like he's walking to school instead of riding his bike. Boring!

But when Chase steps outside, he realizes it's not only, but windy too. Really windy! He pushes open his umbrella just as a gust of cool air blows toward him. Next thing he knows, he's swept up, up, up off the ground until his house is a speck below him. Chase's heart races and then almost stops as he realizes he's headed straight toward....


MONDAY — June 15, 2015



Did you know that this year marks the 150th Anniversary of Alice in Wonderland? When Alice went down the rabbit hole, she went on a great adventure. Choose one (or more!) of the characters from the Chase Superman Duffy comics. What would Chase see if he fell down the rabbit hole? Amelia? What about Grandpa?

MONDAY — June 8, 2015

In honour of Best Friend Day, Chase is writing about one of the adventures he and his friend Sophie have had together—like in the Chase Superman Duffy book, AMELIA XERCES DUFFY, when Sophie, Chase, and his little sister Amelia are transported to a canola jungle where they face some bugs of unusual size.

Who is your best friend? Think about some of the most fun or crazy things the two of you have done together and write a short story about what happened. Don't forget to include the five senses!

MONDAY — June 1, 2015

Chase and his grandfather are kicking off Fishing Week with an annual trip to a local lake for a couple hours of early morning bonding time. The water ripples with an occasional bug touching down on the surface, and the sun has yet to rise. It's quiet—so quiet that when a frog croaks from the nearby brushes, Chase nearly jumps out of his seat.

With their rods baited, Chase and his grandfather cast into the water, set their fishing poles on handmade holding sticks, and wait.

And wait.

Chase has almost given up when the tip of his rod plunges downward. With Superman reflexes, he grabs his fishing pole and sets the hook. He starts reeling in, faster and faster—but it's like nothing is happening. This lake is stocked with trout, the largest being only about five pounds. But whatever is on the end of Chase's rod is much bigger than that...


MONDAY — May 25, 2015

Chase peeked out his bedroom window and squinted into the sunlight. There in the far distance, he saw it—the giant Ferris Wheel in the mall parking lot just down the street. The carnival had come to town! He imagined himself screaming as the roller coaster swooped downward, like it might hit the ground. Or maybe up high on the Zipper, looking over his yard before the massive arms of his favourite ride swung around. Chase squeezed his eyes shut. He wished he could already be there.

At the strong scent of cotton candy, Chase opened his eyes. His stomach cartwheeled as he looked down, realizing exactly where he was. Somehow, he's transported to the top of the Ferris Wheel—and it seemed to be broken. Chase clung to the safety bar, and the girl in the seat below started to scream...

MONDAY — May 18, 2015

This year, Lewis Carroll's classic story, Alice in Wonderland celebrates its 150th anniversary. Chaces are, you'll see hundreds of re-tellings (different versions of the story) featuring some...or all of the characters from the original tale. For today's story starter, take one of the characters from the Chase "Superman" Duffy series down the rabbit hole. What kind of adventure could Chase, Amelia, or Lightning have? Maybe Grandpa follows the white rabbit to Wonderland? The possibilities are endless!

MONDAY — May 11, 2015

Sometimes, all it takes is a FIRST LINE to get your creative juices moving. Which one of these five—starring characters from the Chase Superman Duffy comic series will YOU begin with?
  1. Chase knew what he’d done as soon as the door closed, and Mrs. Kratky’s stare zeroed in on the piece of paper in his hand.
  2. The bug was big—the biggest Amelia had ever seen—and she couldn’t help but admit, she was scared.
  3. Gordon “Lightening” Smith enjoyed playing practical jokes. But this time, he’d taken things too far.
  4. Grandpa Duffy remembered the day like it was yesterday. 
  5. The clock struck noon. Everyone in the class turned to stare at Chase.


MONDAY — APRIL 27, 2015

The sun had not yet crested the horizon, and the air cooled Chase Duffy's skin as he dragged his red wagon filled with newspapers down the street. It was the first day of his new paper route, and he could barely keep his eyes open. Five in the morning was WAY too early to get out of bed. But if he didn't keep going, he'd lose his job—and then he wouldn't be able to buy what he had his eyes on. He could picture it now...

MONDAY — APRIL 20, 2015

Chase Duffy was exhausted. Not only had he suffered through hours of shopping for "bedding plants" for his mom's garden, but now, he was back at the greenhouse with his grandmother carrying around trays of annuals and perennials and whatever else she could get her hands on.

He'd been biting his tongue all morning—after all, she'd made him a smoothie and he didn't really mind helping his family—but it was all the SAME plants. Well...almost. The tall, leafy plant in the corner didn't look familiar at all...and with it's wide toothy grin, it didn't look entirely friendly either. Chase crept over for a closer look, and gasped....

MONDAY — APRIL 13, 2015

Beeep. Beep. Beep. Chase reaches up from under the warm blankets to turn off his alarm. It's 7 a.m.—time to get up for school. He drags himself out of bed and pads down the hall to the bathroom. The scent of fresh baked blueberry muffins floats from the kitchen.

Chase flicks on the bright bathroom light. It's the first day back to school after Spring Break—he can't be late. But he's been staying up late and getting back into routine is going to take a day or two. Still groggy, he splashes cool water over his face, and looks up into the mirror. Chase blinks once. Twice. And once more for good luck. But it's no use.

Chase cannot see his reflection in the mirror. Is he invisible?

MONDAY — APRIL 6, 2015

Chase had always wanted a pet of his own. But his parents always told him he was too young. Imagine his surprise, then, when after school one day, Chase’s mom said, “Chase, we’re going to have a puppy to look after for a week!”

Chase was excited! Imagine having a puppy, he thought. He would be able to feed it and walk it, and maybe it would even sleep with him at night. Chase couldn’t think of anything more amazing.

If only he’d known how much trouble one little puppy could be.


MONDAY — MARCH 30, 2015

Amelia Duffy held her basket tight in her little hands as she crept through the grass at her grandparents farm, collecting the little eggs left behind by the Easter Bunny. So far, she'd found only ten...two less than her brother, Chase.

She was JUST thinking about how she could collect more eggs than Chase when she spotted a small set of animal tracks in Grandma's flower bed. Could they be from the Easter bunny? Amelia decided to find out.


MONDAY — MARCH 23, 2015

Chase Duffy couldn't find his shoes. He looked in his bedroom closet. He searched the front foyer. He even checked under his bed. But his well-worn kicks were NOWHERE to be found. And THAT was bad. Very bad.

"Why don't you wear your cousin's shoes?" Chase's mother said, when he explained what had happened. "You have the same size feet. Mark left them here last time they visited."

Chase scrunched up his nose. He couldn't go to track and field practice in someone else's shoes. Could he? The more Chase thought about it, the more he realized, he didn't have a choice.

After breakfast, Chase slipped on his cousin's running shoes. His feet tingled. A weird feeling turned his stomach upside down, not nervous, but something different—as though putting on someone else's shoes had somehow...changed him?


MONDAY — MARCH 16, 2015

Chase Duffy kneeled into starting position. Ready... Set.... Go! He took off like a rocket, running toward his grandfather’s canola field with a bust of speed. He was out late, maybe too late for a run, but he needed to ramp up his training if he wanted to make the school track team this year.

Besides, running often gave him the best story ideas. This coming Friday marked International Space Day, and he was ready to start writing about aliens, spaceships, and—

Wait? What was that in the sky? Not a plane or a bird. Not a helicopter. Chase squinted into the twilight. The giant unidentified flying object hovered above him.

MONDAY — MARCH 9, 2015



Chase Duffy kneeled into the starting position. The scent of fresh rain tickled his nose. Ready. The sun peeked over the clouds. Set. An imaginary pistol shot into the air. Go!
Chase took off.

Across the horizon, his grandfather’s canola field stretched as far as the eye could see. Chase ran toward it, breathing in the scent of wet grass and moist soil. A rainbow arced to his left, the bright colours dipping behind the clouds and arching toward the ground, pointing to something…something GOLD? 

MONDAY — MARCH 2, 2015

Chase pushed open the attic door and peered inside the cramped space. Darkness surrounded him, and the scent of "old stuff” tickled his nostrils. He flicked on his flashlight. Dust spiralled around him as he waved the light from side to side, searching.

There was old stuff everywhere—picture frames, statues, dusty china, books, magazines and overflowing boxes. He sighed. There was no way he’d find anything in this mess. But then—Chase's light flickered across something gold in the back of the attic, something that looked suspiciously like a treasure chest.

MONDAY — FEB 23, 2015

Once upon a time in a land, far, far, away, a fair prince ruled the Canola Kingdom. His name was Chase Duffy and all of his adoring subjects found him to be brave, and wise, and above all—fast. Very fast.

One day, Chase was patrolling the fields of his kingdom when he stumbled upon a stranger in his land. A great terror rose within his heart, because he had never before seen such a creature. For this was the mighty…

MONDAY — FEB 16, 2015

The smell of Mom’s delicious chocolate chip pancakes snakes from the kitchen into Chase’s bedroom. He can hear the shower running, and over the sound of trickling water, the off-beat tune of his Dad’s singing. Chase smiles. It’s finally Family Day. He leaps out of bed and dodges to the bathroom to wash his face and get ready for the day. But when he dries off his eyes and looks in the mirror, the reflection staring back at his is definitely not familiar. Chase swallows. How will he ever explain this to his parents?


MONDAY — FEB 9, 2015

Gordon “Lightning” Smith could tell that it was going to be one of those days. Nothing had seemed to go right—and it was only morning! He was mindlessly sitting at his desk when all of a sudden the classroom door swung open. Mrs. Kratky’s mouth dropped, someone behind him gasped. There, right before his eyes was a...


MONDAY — FEB 2, 2015



It started out just like any other school day. Chase finished the last slurp of his Strawberry Breakfast Shake (it’s delicious AND nutritious!) and hugged his mom goodbye. But as he grabbed his coat and ran out of the door, Chase couldn’t believe his eyes. He'd forgotten today was Groundhog Day and something BIG was happening right in front of his house...


MONDAY — JAN 26, 2015



Using these question prompts, write a short story based on your answers. You don’t have to use them all…but, we’d start with the ogre, because…well, OGRES!

You wake up to find a scary ogre in your bedroom. Which Chase Superman Duffy character of you choose to help you fight him off?

Having defeated the ogre, you're now late for the bus. Would you rather ride a dragon or a unicorn to school? Why?

After getting to class late, your teacher asks you why you don’t have your homework completed. What excuse do you give her?

It’s been the worst day ever,so far, and all you want to do is escape—anywhere. Where’s your favourite place to go?



MONDAY — JAN 19, 2015


Chase and his sister Amelia are snowboarding with their parents in the Rocky Mountains. It’s early spring, and the snow on the upper slopes has begun to melt—fast!

As they traverse the mountain, they hear a low rumbling in the distance. Chase sees a small cabin nearby, and he and his family are able to make it over to the building just as the rumbling increases to a deafening roar, and snow crashes down all around them. Chase finds the cabin door, but isn’t able to open it. It might be locked! The windows are covered with snow.

Chase hears his sister crying, but he cant see what’s wrong. Actually, he can’t see anything anymore because the snow is blinding.

What happens next?


MONDAY — JAN 12, 2015

So here I am, microphone in hand, ready to sing for a crowded auditorium of fans. The cameras are on me, the room has fallen silent with anticipation, and my heart is beating so loud, I'm sure it will pop right out of my chest. How did this happen? How did I — Amelia Xerces Duffy — go from Junior entomologist to overnight superstar? Good question. Let me tell you about the crazies day of my life...


MONDAY — JAN 5, 2015


The worst storm the city had ever seen blew across the landscape. Everybody—including the entire Duffy family—was snowed in. School was cancelled. Chase's parents didn't go to work. And, it was way too cold to run. It seemed like the perfect evening to read a book. Until—

The power went out.