A Narative

Start with a point of view.
Start with a point of view.

Writing Practice:

Write "a proof sandwich" essay: Write an "I would like to be" essay:

Show, don't tell:

Jimmy Connors who is referrenced in the next video:

Writing Detail:

Write with a participle: (Verb filled sentences)
A. Write a verb heavy sentence:
Larry strolled into the classroom: he ed the , he ed a _, and ed in the .

B. Gloria entered the room: She was , she was , her were , her were _.
  • Edit out verbs of being such as was, am, were, had, by combining your sentences.

Write with an absolute: (Giving details from whole to part)
Gladys sat down to talk to me. Her voice was _. Her hands were .

*Edit out the was and the were and the repeated her. What do you get?

Write with an appositive: (Lists)
Frank received several items from his pockets and laid them out on the table: ,,__.

Gloria entered the room on the arm of General Bonaparte, her green velvet gown rustling,her jewels twinkling in the reflected light of the chandelier, and whispering to her escort, to the dark-haired emperor of all of France, "Which one is Josephine?"

Write whole and add part to the end as an absolute:

A. Walking into the room in a three piece suit, warn and rumpled, Larry sat on the green velvet chair.

B. Every night we heard her singing; her high pitched voiced leaped and soured. It was unrestrained by any sense of melody or tone.

Proof your writing to make sure that you do not have any be verbs such as was, were, is, are.

Short Story Narrative:


The Beginning:

Some Famous Leads:
The Lead board.
Here's a chance to share your favorite beginnings to stories, books, articles etc. Just **Email** and send us a lead to post here. A lead can be a sentence or several sentences that begin a story.
Big Potato Leads

(you really want to dig up what's going on)
His boot felt empty without the knife in it. SE Hinton, Taming of the Star Runner

You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. Jay McInerney Bright Lights Big City
Snapshot Leads
They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring. Maniac Magee, Jerry Spinelli

Abraham Lincoln wasn't the sort of man who could lose himself in a crowd. After all, he stood 6 foot, four inches tall, and to top it off he wore a high silk hat. His height was mostly in his long bony legs, and when he sat in a chair he seemed no taller than anyone else. It was only when he stood up that he towered above other men.

Lincoln: a photobiography, Russell Freedman
Talking Leads
"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. Charlotte's Web
Thinking Leads
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty ad dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln

As a boy, I never knew where my mother was from--where she was born,who

her parents were. The Color of Water, James McBride

"Hook Your Reader" Anchor Chart
"Hook Your Reader" Anchor Chart


Explode the Moment:


The Middle:
Rising Action

The End

When writing your stories or books, you want to end the writing just after the action is over. Once everything exciting has happened, take a few sentences (or a chapter if it's a book) to "get everyone offstage." Here are things to think about:
  • Make sure that the action is over, and that the reader knows it's over
  • Make sure the reader knows what the characters are going to do once the story ends
  • Make sure that any subject you brought up in your story is either answered, discussed, or very obviously left open for the next story -- most authors keep a list of these "sub-plots" to be sure they don't forget anything at the end
  • Make the ending satisfying! Don't write "and then they woke up," or "and then they rode into the sunset," because those are cliches and boring. Ditto for the old fairy tale "And they lived happily ever after" --- unless you are writing a fairy tale!
  • Make the ending logical. If your characters have been brave and good all through the story, don't make them suddenly shoot the villain in the back to end the story!

Favorite Endings:

Have you read a book with a great ending? What kind of ending is it?
Share it here. We will post it. Click HERE and send us your favorite ending via email.
Loop endings. They end where they begin.
Barefoot Escape on the Underground Railroad by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Harper Collins, 1998

This picture book about a runaway slave who is helped by animals is told from the animals point of view. It ends where it begins:

"Silence fell again along the pathway, and the animals slept. But through their dreams the heron's cry again screamed a warning.

Another Barefoot was approaching."
Surprise Endings. You go, "Oh wow", at the end.
Earthlets by Jeanne Willis

This is a book about babies from the point of view of aliens, only you don't find out till the last page.
Mysterious endings
The Giver by Lois Lowry (young adult)

This book ends with a symbolic sled ride. We don't know where the character is going but we get the feeling it's a place where life will be richer and full of feeling.

"Downward, downward, faster and faster. Suddenly he was aware with certainty and joy that below, ahead, they were waiting for him; and they were waiting, too, for the baby. For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing. Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps it was only an


21 Master Plots

A more complex approach to plot templates: Ronald B. Tobias discusses 20 Master Plots: (I have this book in my room.)

  1. Adventure comes to you. A Stranger comes to town.
  2. You go to Adventure. You leave town.
  3. Quest. Character oriented story, the protagonist searches for something and winds up changing him/herself.
  4. Adventure. Plot oriented, this features a goal-oriented series of events.
  5. Pursuit. This is the typical Chase Plot. Definitely action-oriented.
  6. Rescue. Another easy to recognize action-oriented plot.
  7. Escape. A variation on the Rescue is when the protagonist escapes on his/her own.
  8. Revenge. Ah, character comes back in with this one. Someone is wronged and vows to take revenge.
  9. The Riddle. Love a good mystery? This is the plot for you.
  10. Rivalry. Character oriented, this story follows two main characters, one on a downward track and one on an upward track and their interactions.
  11. Underdog. Everyone is the US roots for the Underdog. This is the plot where the under-privileged (handicapped, poor, etc) triumphs despite overwhelming odds.
  12. Temptation. Pandora’s Box extended to novel form.
  13. Metamorphosis. This is a physical transformation of some kind. If you recently watched the movie, “District 9″, you’ll recognize this plot form. It’s Dracula, Beauty and the Beast, or the one I remember best is The Fly.
  14. Transformation. Similar to the previous, this plot features an inner change, instead of changing the outer form.
  15. Maturation. Bildungsroman, rite of passage, coming-of-age–these terms all refer to someone growing up morally, spiritually or emotionally. Often, it’s just a hint of growth, or a tiny change that hints at larger changes.
  16. Love. The classic Boy-meets-Girl plot.
  17. Forbidden Love. Oh, hasn’t Stephenie Meyer milked this one in her Twilight series? Brilliant use of the forces that keep her characters apart, while still attracting.
  18. Sacrifice. From the Biblical tale of Jesus to the story of parents sacrificing for their children, this is a staple of literature.
  19. Discovery. You know those secrets you’ve buried deep in your past? This story digs around, exposes secrets and watches them affect the characters.
  20. Wretched Excess. When a character is in a downward spiral from alcohol, drugs, greed, etc. this is the plot form.
  21. Ascension or Descension. A rise or fall from power puts a character into this plot form.