Teaching your students to plan their stories before they write them will help them learn to write fiction. A story plan is a sketch used for planning purposes. One way to get started is for students to think of a real incident that they or someone they know has experienced. Base the story plan on that incident, but make the story more interesting or exciting.
Consider the following elements when you begin your story plan. You can skip around if you wish, but be sure to complete all the steps below.
Decide on the characters. Name the characters and describe their role in the story and their relationship to one another. For example: Marie Martin, heroine, secretary to the president of the bank. (If you are not ready to use names, just use descriptions: librarian, doctor, etc.)
Choose a setting. Decide when and where the events will take place. Be as specific as you can because that will help you when you begin your research. (For example: the South in the 60’s vs. Birmingham, Alabama in 1965.)
Decide on the main conflict in the story. What is the problem that your main character faces when the story begins? (For example: Marie Martin has been accused of stealing money from the bank?)
Decide on a series of events in the plot. Briefly describe what happens in a few sentences. (You can add to these, subtract from these, and rearrange these later.)
Determine the climax of the story. Describe the moment in the story after which nothing will be the same.
Determine the resolution of the story. What happens at the very end after the loose ends are tied up? Some writers determine the ending first and work backwards from there. Some writers think of the very last line in their story before they even create the plot.
Visit my store for a mini lesson and a story plan worksheet for students to use to create a story plan. I also have a creative writing lesson on Show: Don’t Tell that will help students as they begin to write their stories.
A story plan will provide a map for students and help insure that their creative ideas become stories.