Fishtrap Story Lab inspires youth throughout Wallowa County to share their stories creatively, confidently, and playfully. Beginning with a focus on narrative craft, the program provides students with a host of multimedia tools—from video and animation equipment to music production software and beyond—to hone their skills as writers and producers. Story Lab emboldens students to explore themselves and the places they inhabit, encouraging personal growth and thoughtful participation in community conversation. The result is a generative program as rich and lively as Wallowa County itself.

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Wind whipped through his hair as he looked down into the crescent valley. His cloak slipped against his legs in the wind. In his right hand, a gnarled oak branch, in his left the ire-stone. Below, a crater descended into darkness.

The pit was almost a mile wide, and shaped like a dragon’s tooth. They say that the land split open here in the beginning when magic entered the upper world. Lucas knew that the answers were down there... whatever they were. He had been traveling for six months to this remote spot in the Tageedi badlands. Rocks, mountains, and pits of fire as far as the eye could see.

Lire, the wolf-headed man that had joined him stood nearby. Quiet and grim, Lire was the perfect companion. Subtle and steady on mountain trails but fierce in battle. A saber hung at his side. The two companions had no flat place to lie and rest so they went about getting rope to descend.

Some say the trip down takes six days, so the lines were double strong and enchanted by the wave people that Lucas had grown to love. They could support enough weight to lower a horse, but Lucas and Lire each took two. They secured the lines around boulders on the side of Karak-huts, in the southern forests. Lire used his wild magic to disguise the ropes and mask their scent so they wouldn’t be discovered by some hungry troll or pack of wayward troglodytes.

Lucas swung his legs over the edge and secured his belt to the rope. Lire did the same, eyes warily on the horizon. In the next few hours, they scrambled down a few hundred feet over rough scrub clinging to the steep rocky walls of the chasm. Their hands were raw and dirty by the time they took a rest. There was no point trying to sleep this early. That only seemed possible in such uncomfortable circumstances if exhaustion was imminent. The loud echoes sent out by the explorers seemed to be swallowed by the darkness below.

Foster Hobbs

Writing Exercise: World Building. Another mainstay in a fiction writer’s tool kit is the ability to create a world. Writers often ask themselves questions about in regards to place, culture, physiology, psychology, sociology, biology, etc. while building a world. Classic and contemporary books like “The Wizard of Oz” “Hunger Games” and “Alice in Wonderland” all rely on world building.

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