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Creative writing structure

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This is a deck to help parents teach primary school kids creative writing skills

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Creative writing structure

  1. CREATIVE WRITING TEMPLATES A practical tool for primary- school students Selena Sol presents….. selena@selenasol.com http://www.linkedin.com/pub/eric-tachibana/0/33/b53 http://www.slideshare.net/selenasol
  2. Using Composition Templates to Facilitate Creative Writing A tool for primary school students Selena Sol | selena@selenasol.com | http://www.slideshare.net/selenasol/ Creative writing can be pretty intimidating to primary school students. They might be asked a very broad question like, “What did you do on your summer vacation?” and be staring at a blank word document for many hours thinking/worrying about what to write. But it need not be so scary! In this deck, I propose 4 easy-to-use templates for common primary school writing questions that can quell some of the anxiety. With a good structure and a series of fill-in-the-blanks, a child can easily plan out the skeleton of any standard school-type of writing and then tackle the work in less intimidating chunks.
  3. There are at least 4 generic types (archetypes) of creative writing forms ARCHETYPE DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE Narrative Tell a story What did you do on your school holidays? Descriptive Describe or explain something Describe the way your room looks at home? Positional Take a position on something What is your favorite color? Persuasive Take a position and try to convince someone else to share it Who is the most powerful Avenger?
  4. Each type of writing uses a specific structure. The nice thing about a structure is that if you don’t know what to write, just fill in the blanks NARRATIVE DESCRIPTIVE POSITIONAL PERSUASIVE To be continued….
  5. Type 1: The Narrative Structure
  6. You love to read stories! You should also love to write stories! What did you do on your summer vacation? What did you do on your summer vacation? You are a famous detective. You have just been hired to find out why the school lunches tasted awful last week. How do you solve the case? Write a story about what happens. Use your imagination! You are a famous detective. You have just been hired to find out why the school lunches tasted awful last week. How do you solve the case? Write a story about what happens. Use your imagination! Suppose you woke up and found out that you had become a super hero for a day. What happened? What powers did you have? What did you do? Write a story about your day. Be creative! Suppose you woke up and found out that you had become a super hero for a day. What happened? What powers did you have? What did you do? Write a story about your day. Be creative! Imagine that the grocery store is a town where different foods live. Write a story about a day in Grocery Town when one of the foods does something that changed the lives of all the foods in the town. What did the food do? What happened to it and to the other foods afterward? Imagine that the grocery store is a town where different foods live. Write a story about a day in Grocery Town when one of the foods does something that changed the lives of all the foods in the town. What did the food do? What happened to it and to the other foods afterward?
  7. Many stories follow a very simple pattern.
  8. It all begins with Act 1 where the author gets the reader interested in the characters and excited about the story 1. Introduce characters & context ACT 1 The Setup 2.TheHook!W hatsets storyinmotion M AK E AU D IEN C E IN TER ESTED
  9. In Act 2, the hero is faced with a series of obstacles that force her to grow and discover something meaningful. 1. Introduce characters & context ACT 1 The Setup 2.TheHook!W hatsets storyinmotion 3.Facingaseriesof obstacles 4. The Low Point! ACT 2 Conflict ACT 3 Enlightenment M AK E AU D IEN C E IN TER ESTED MAKEAUDIENCEANXIOUS 5.Thecomeback! MAKEAUDIENCEROOT 6. Moment of Enlightenment
  10. 5.Thecomeback! MAKEAUDIENCEROOT In Act 3, the hero’s new wisdom is tested (just to be sure). Of course, the hero rises to the challenge and everyone is happy 1. Introduce characters & context ACT 1 The Setup 2.TheHook!W hatsets storyinmotion 3.Facingaseriesof obstacles 4. The Low Point! 6. Moment of Enlightenment ACT 2 Conflict ACT 3 Enlightenment M AK E AU D IEN C E IN TER ESTED MAKEAUDIENCEANXIOUS 7.Onelasttest 8.Victoryatlast! MAKEAUDIENCECHEER
  11. The whole story looks like this! 1. Introduce characters & context ACT 1 The Setup 2.TheHook!W hatsets storyinmotion 3.Facingaseriesof obstacles 4. The Low Point! 5.Thecomeback! 6. Moment of Enlightenment 7.Onelasttest 8.Victoryatlast! ACT 2 Conflict ACT 3 Enlightenment M AK E AU D IEN C E IN TER ESTED MAKEAUDIENCEANXIOUS MAKEAUDIENCEROOT MAKEAUDIENCECHEER
  12. OK, I know what you are asking. There are thousands of different stories out there. Aren’t they all different? !
  13. As it turns out, this one structure works for probably 80% of the stories you’ll come across (maybe 99% in primary & secondary school) STORYTELLING STAGE THE 3 LITTLE PIGS MULAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context Meet the pig family • Shan Yu crosses the great wall • Emporer sends general to fight and sends shifu to find conscripts • Mulan introduced as loveable oddball who cannot get a man because she is too boyish THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion Mother pig sends brothers out into the world to setup their own homes • Shifu comes to enlist father, but Mulan steps in because father is sickly, but does it against his wishes • Mushu enters as mentor THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles The pigs work hard to build their 3 types of homes • Many hijinks trying to maintain ruse • Warrior training - Climbing the pole with weights! THE LOW POINT The big bad wolf blows down the first 2 houses and the 3 pigs run to the safety of the last house • Village destroyed • Battle at the snowy pass ending with discovery of Mulan as a girl THE COMEBACK The wolf tries and tries, but cannot blow down the brick house • Mulan and Mushu in the snow coming to terms THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment The pigs celebrate that the brick house is the best and it is worth it to build for quality • Mulan enters capital city as a herself. No need for deception! She can be brave and be herself! THE TEST The wolf tries to come down the chimney • Battle at the castle where the boys dress like girls. Mulan proves herself in battle again, but as herself THE VICTORY The pigs start a fire and the wolf runs away with a burning tail! • Mulan gets gift from emperor and gives to father • Captain comes to marry Mulan
  14. Try mapping some of your storybooks and favorite movies using the structure. You’ll be amazed at how many work! ACTIVITY TIME!!!!!!STORYTELLING STAGE THE INTRO Introduce characters & context THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles THE LOW POINT THE COMEBACK THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment THE TEST THE VICTORY Advanced Writer Note: If you get a book for really young kids, sometimes they stop at the end of Act 2 to make it simpler for new readers. Then it is just 1) Intro, 2) Obstacles, 3) Victory
  15. So what if you are asked to write a story in school? How would you do it using the structure? Q: What did you do during school holidays?
  16. No problem. Just fill in the blanks! Start with the “Ah-Ha” moment, which some authors call, “the moral of the story.” I think of it as the “Why?” STORYTELLING STAGE THE STORY PLAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles THE LOW POINT THE COMEBACK THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment “It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters!” THE TEST THE VICTORY Q: What did you do during school holidays? 1
  17. Next, you need to put some obstacles in front of your characters so that they have to work hard to succeed. Try to make the challenges help the hero discover the “ah-ha!” STORYTELLING STAGE THE STORY PLAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles We could not play on the beach as planned because we were slow to wake up, then breakfast, then the hospital! THE LOW POINT THE COMEBACK THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment “It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters!” THE TEST THE VICTORY Q: What did you do during school holidays? 2 Advice: Think of maybe 3 obstacles that the hero could overcome that would lead her to the Ah-Ha. Not all obstacles will work. You need to choose carefully.
  18. And of course, all the challenges need to lead to the low point where the reader feels worried about the hero! STORYTELLING STAGE THE STORY PLAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles We could not play on the beach as planned because we were slow to wake up, then breakfast, then the hospital! THE LOW POINT The whole day was ruined THE COMEBACK THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment “It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters!” THE TEST THE VICTORY Q: What did you do during school holidays? 3
  19. But unless you want to leave the reader crying, you need to turn the story around and show the hero growing STORYTELLING STAGE THE STORY PLAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles We could not play on the beach as planned because we were slow to wake up, then breakfast, then the hospital! THE LOW POINT The whole day was ruined THE COMEBACK We found another way to have fun despite missing the beach THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment “It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters!” THE TEST THE VICTORY Q: What did you do during school holidays? 4 Advice: The comeback needs to tie the obstacles to the ah-ha! This is how the hero learns the ah-ha, so it needs to make sense!
  20. But after the hero has grown and discovered the moral of the story, we need to test her to make sure she really learned her lesson! STORYTELLING STAGE THE STORY PLAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles We could not play on the beach as planned because we were slow to wake up, then breakfast, then the hospital! THE LOW POINT The whole day was ruined THE COMEBACK We found another way to have fun despite missing the beach THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment “It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters!” THE TEST Will it rain and we miss day 2 also?!? Here is where I prove myself! THE VICTORY Q: What did you do during school holidays? 5
  21. Finally let’s all say “Hooray!” Our hero has overcome all the obstacles and learned a life lesson. STORYTELLING STAGE THE STORY PLAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context I went to Penang Beach Resort with family THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion I was very excited to play on the beach THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles We could not play on the beach as planned because we were slow to wake up, then breakfast, then the hospital! THE LOW POINT The whole day was ruined THE COMEBACK We found another way to have fun despite missing the beach THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment “It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters!” THE TEST Will it rain and we miss day 2 also?!? Here is where I prove myself! THE VICTORY No! We made it to the beach and had a great time. Q: What did you do during school holidays? 6
  22. But wait, we still need to go back to write the starting! You’ll need something to make your reader “excited” enough to read your story. This hooks the reader like a fish on the line. Think about what goal the hero had that was thwarted by the obstacles you came up with earlier! STORYTELLING STAGE THE STORY PLAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context I went to Penang Beach Resort with family THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion I was very excited to play on the beach THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles We could not play on the beach as planned because we were slow to wake up, then breakfast, then the hospital! THE LOW POINT The whole day was ruined THE COMEBACK We found another way to have fun despite missing the beach THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment “It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters!” THE TEST Will it rain and we miss day 2 also?!? Here is where I prove myself! THE VICTORY No! We made it to the beach and had a great time Q: What did you do during school holidays? 7
  23. Finally, write the Intro. Sometimes authors say you should introduce who, what, where, & when. Try to make your characters interesting to the reader. After all, who wants to read about someone they don’t like! STORYTELLING STAGE THE STORY PLAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context I went to Penang Beach Resort with family THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion I was very excited to play on the beach THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles We could not play on the beach as planned because we were slow to wake up, then breakfast, then the hospital! THE LOW POINT The whole day was ruined THE COMEBACK We found another way to have fun despite missing the beach THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment “It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters!” THE TEST Will it rain and we miss day 2 also?!? Here is where I prove myself! THE VICTORY No! We made it to the beach and had a great time Q: What did you do during school holidays? 8 Thought provoker: Isn’t it interesting that we write the intro last? Planning is like that. You need to first decide where you are going. Then, you figure out how to get there. Finally, you start the journey! It’s all backwards in a plan!
  24. Alright, so here is our Story Plan! All you need to do now is fill in the details following your plan and you’re done! STORYTELLING STAGE THE STORY PLAN THE INTRO Introduce characters & context I went to Penang Beach Resort with family THE HOOK The hook – what sets story in motion I was very excited to play on the beach THE CHALLENGE Facing a series of obstacles We could not play on the beach as planned because we were slow to wake up, then breakfast, then the hospital! THE LOW POINT The whole day was ruined THE COMEBACK We found another way to have fun despite missing the beach THE AH-HA! A moment of enlightenment “It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters!” THE TEST Will it rain and we miss day 2 also?!? Here is where I prove myself! THE VICTORY No! We made it to the beach and had a great time. Q: What did you do during school holidays? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
  25. Even though everyone uses the same structure and even if their plans are very similar, everyone’s story will be different. That is the magic of writing! STAGE THE STORY PLAN STORY Introduce characters & context I went to Penang Beach Resort with family During the last 2 weeks of school holidays, my family went to Penang to meet relatives and to learn about Malaysia, where my mother’s family comes from. We went to a beach resort , so having fun at the beach was also my plan. We arrived on Friday night and settled into our rooms, which were comfortable. The big bathtub was my favorite part! The hook I was very excited to play on the beach By 7AM on Saturday morning, my sister and I were awake and ready for the beach. Facing a series of obstacles First , we were slow to wake up, then breakfast, then the hospital! It took every ounce of patience to wait until 7:30 when my mummy and daddy woke up. But they did. I couldn’t wait! Unfortunately, it was not to be. Mummy insisted that we needed to eat a proper breakfast, so we had to go down to the restaurant first. I had two eggs, bacon and bread. My sister had the chicken porridge (they don’t eat pork in Malaysia). By 8:30, everything went wrong. My sister got very sick. There must have been something bad in her porridge. She was vomiting and her temperature went up to 39. We all rushed to the hospital and ended up waiting all day while my sister got treatment and medicine. The low point The whole day was ruined By the time we got back to the hotel, it was already too late to go to the beach. The comeback We found another way to have fun despite missing the beach In the end, we ended up playing on our iPads for the rest of the evening and watching videos. At first I was really upset. How could my sister waste the whole day?!? But as we played Dungeon Hunter 2 together, things just seemed to get better and by the time it was bedtime, we were joking and laughing together like normal. A moment of enlighten- ment It’s not what we do, it is doing it together that matters! I realized that it really didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing. Anything could be fun, if we did it together. One last test Will it rain and we miss day 2 also?!? Here is where I prove myself! But, by the next day, I was really anxious to get going. Unfortunately, the sky looked dark and mummy said it might rain. My sister looked like she was going to cry. So I said, “Don’t worry, let’s just cross our fingers and see if the clouds go away. In the meantime, we can finish the final levels of Dungeon Hunter2” Victory at last! No! We made it to the beach and had a great time. And sure enough, within 30 minutes the clouds disappeared and we all went down to the seaside. My sister and I had a really, really fun time playing in the water and collecting hermit crabs and putting them in the tide pools. But even if we hadn’t, I knew I still would have had a fun time! 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
  26. Now you try! ACTIVITY TIME!!!!!!
  27. STAGE THE STORY PLAN STORY Introduce characters & context The hook Facing a series of obstacles The low point The comeback A moment of enlightenment One last test Victory at last! PRINT THIS WORKSHEET 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
  28. Type 2: The Descriptive Structure
  29. Throughout life, you will be asked to describe something! Pretend that you have a cousin you've never met. Your cousin lives in another state, but you want him or her to get to know you. Write a letter to your cousin describing yourself. Include what you look like, your personality, and your interests. Pretend that you have a cousin you've never met. Your cousin lives in another state, but you want him or her to get to know you. Write a letter to your cousin describing yourself. Include what you look like, your personality, and your interests. Think about something that made you happy recently. Describe fully what happened and how you felt. Also explain why it made you feel that way. Think about something that made you happy recently. Describe fully what happened and how you felt. Also explain why it made you feel that way.
  30. ISAHASADOESAWASAINASOWHATA! It’s kind’ve fun to say right? Well this is a good way to describe something IS-A-HAS-A-DOES-A-WAS-A- IN-A-SO-WHATA
  31. First off, all things can be described by explaining what type of thing they are IS-A-HAS-A-DOES-A-WAS-A-IN-A IS A He is a • Human • Boy • Singaporean Q: Describe yourself!
  32. Things can also be described by explaining the pieces that make them up IS-A-HAS-A-DOES-A-WAS-A-IN-A ISA HAS A He is a • Human • Boy • Singaporean He has a: • Finger • Hand • Arm Q: Describe yourself!
  33. In addition, things can be described by explaining the things they do IS-A-HAS-A-DOES-A-WAS-A-IN-A IS A HAS A DOES A He is a: • Human • Boy • Singaporean He has a: • Finger • Hand • Arm He does: • Gymnastics • Dancing • Homework Q: Describe yourself!
  34. Further, things can be described by explaining what happens to them over time IS A HAS A DOES A WAS A He is a: • Human • Boy • Singaporean He has a: • Finger • Hand • Arm He does: • Gymnastics • Dancing • Homework He was a: • P1 Student • Toddler • Baby Q: Describe yourself! IS-A-HAS-A-DOES-A-WAS-A-IN-A
  35. Finally, all things can be described by explaining where they are in space IS A HAS A DOES A WAS A IN A He is a: • Human • Boy • Singaporean He has a: • Finger • Hand • Arm He does: • Gymnastics • Dancing • Homework He was a: • P1 Student • Toddler • Baby He was in a: • City • Country • Planet Q: Describe yourself! IS-A-HAS-A-DOES-A-WAS-A-IN-A
  36. When you are writing a description, you can’t write about everything, or you’d write a 1000 page book! Instead, choose only a few things to write about from isahasadoesawasaina. But which ones to choose?!? IS A HAS A DOES A WAS A IN A He is a: • Human • Boy • Singaporean He has a: • Finger • Hand • Arm He does: • Gymnastics • Dancing • Homework He was a: • P1 Student • Toddler • Baby He was in a: • City • Country • Planet BUT WAIT!!!!!
  37. The final bit of a Description brings everything together into one simple message. That means you need to choose isahasawasadoesaina items that fit like a puzzle piece into a single sowhata! IS-A-HAS-A-DOES-A-WAS-A-IN-A SO-WHATA IS A HAS A WAS A DOES A IN A SO-WHATA • I love to be different • I am a responsible person • I just like to have fun Q: Describe yourself!
  38. Of course, you know by now that we always need a hook to start the reader reading. Your introduction is the hook! Try to write something that will entice the reader to read…. INTRO IS A HAS A WAS A DOES A IN A SO-WHATA Q: Describe yourself!
  39. Look at this example…. Q: Describe yourself STAGE THE DESCRIPTIVE PLAN THE DESCRIPTION INTRO It is nice of you to ask! IS A Girl P4 class Singaporean HAS A Strong legs Short hair DOES A Runner Swimmer Dancer WAS A Medalist in Perth CSTD IN A Singapore Asia SO WHATA When I grow up, I want to be an athelete
  40. Now you try! Q: Describe yourself STAGE THE DESCRIPTIVE PLAN THE DESCRIPTION INTRO It is nice of you to ask! IS A Girl P4 class Singaporean HAS A Strong legs Short hair DOES A Runner Swimmer Dancer WAS A Medalist in Perth CSTD IN A Singapore Asia SO WHATA When I grow up, I want to be an athelete
  41. Type 3: The Positional Structure
  42. Throughout life, you will be asked to take position, to state your view on something or other! Of all the wild animals that you have ever seen in a zoo, movie, or book, what is your favorite? Which animal would you most like for a friend? Write an essay describing your favorite animal, including its appearance, its habitat, and its behavior. Explain why the animal is your favorite. Of all the wild animals that you have ever seen in a zoo, movie, or book, what is your favorite? Which animal would you most like for a friend? Write an essay describing your favorite animal, including its appearance, its habitat, and its behavior. Explain why the animal is your favorite.
  43. Just like you use the Story Structure to tell great stories, you can use the Positional Structure to take a position! The Positional Structure looks more like a Plus Sign.
  44. There are 5 parts to the Positional Structure. In primary school this usually means that you have to write 5 paragraphs. In High School it means 5 pages! In University, 5 chapters!!! But the key to remember is 5. 1 3 4 5 2
  45. First you need to state your position! In this case, the position is you liking the color blue. POSITION 1 I like the color blue Q: What is your favorite color? For Advanced Writers… In your position section, you should provide some context. Why is it that we want to talk about the topic? In this case, why are we talking about colors at all? Try to “hook” the reader by writing something kind’ve interesting For Advanced Writers… In your position section, you should provide some context. Why is it that we want to talk about the topic? In this case, why are we talking about colors at all? Try to “hook” the reader by writing something kind’ve interesting
  46. At the other end is the Ah-Ha. In the Ah-Ha you tie the position to something meaningful or interesting to the reader. POSITION 1 I like the color red Q: What is your favorite color? 2 THE AH-HA! Blue makes me feel calm and comfortable.
  47. Finally, you need 3 observations that link the position to the ah-ha. Why 3? I don’t know!?! Whatever the case, remember you can choose any 3 things, but they all must lead to the Ah-Ha! POSITION 1 I like the color blue Q: What is your favorite color? OBSERVATION 3 OBSERVATION 4 OBSERVATION 5 2 THE AH-HA! Blue makes me feel calm and comfortable.
  48. When you are making an observation, it can be powerful to describe in terms of one of your 5 senses. Great writers even describe one sense using another like, “it tastes loud!” just to be cheeky. POSITION 1 I like the color blue Q: What is your favorite color? OBSERVATION 3 OBSERVATION 4 OBSERVATION 5 Because blue feels relaxing 2 THE AH-HA! Blue makes me feel calm and comfortable.
  49. When you are making an observation, you can also think about context. Where does this thing occur? Is it left, right, up or down? POSITION 1 I like the color blue Q: What is your favorite color? OBSERVATION 3 OBSERVATION 4 OBSERVATION 5 Because blue feels relaxing 2 THE AH-HA! Blue makes me feel calm and comfortable. Because water in a still lake is blue
  50. Finally, it is always good to appeal to emotion! Try to make your reader ‘feel’ something about what you are saying rather than just ‘think’ something POSITION 1 I like the color blue Q: What is your favorite color? OBSERVATION 3 OBSERVATION 4 OBSERVATION 5 Because blue feels relaxing 2 THE AH-HA! Blue makes me feel calm and comfortable. Because water in a still lake is blue Because my mummy’s eyes are blue
  51. OK, so when you need to take a position, you can use the Positional Plan to organize your ideas! Q: What is your favorite color? STAGE THE POSITIONAL PLAN THE POSITION POSITION I like the color blue There are so many colours around us. They are in our clothes, in rainbows, in animals, and especially in the photos on Instagram. But if I had to choose only one colour as my favourite, I would definitely have to choose blue. OBSERVATION Because blue feels relaxing To me, blue is the most relaxing colour. Red makes me feel excited and yellow makes me feel curious. But blue definitely calms me down. OBSERVATION Because water is blue Blue is also the color of still water. Now I don’t mean seawater, which has lots of crashy white foam in it. I mean still water, like in a mountain lake. OBSERVATION Because my mom’s eyes are blue Blue is also the colour of my mummy’s eyes. Although she wears glasses at work and when she comes home, when we are chatting in bed before we go to sleep, the night light always lights up her eyes. AH-HA Blue makes me feel clam and comfortable. I guess, if I had to sum everything up into a single word, I would say “peaceful.” Blue makes me feel peaceful. It is calm, it makes me feel cool and still like water, and it makes me feel loved when I am with my mummy. The Advanced student Did you notice I referred back to all 3 observations at the end?!? Do that! Teachers love it!
  52. Type 4: The Persuasive Structure
  53. To be continued….

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