Sunday, July 01, 2007

Writing Workshop - A Story

Maya Angelou

Let’s Write a Story

How to Get an Idea

1. Collect four or more ideas that you could write a story about. Make a chart. Write each idea on the left-hand side of the chart and tell where it came from on the right-hand side of the chart.

2. Pick the idea from your list that you like best. Put a check in front of it. this is the idea you will turn into a story.

How to Plot Your Story

1. Write the big question readers will want answered by the end of your story. This question should be about your main character's big problem.

What will your character be able to at the conclusion of your story?

2. List at least three smaller questions people will guess about as they
read your story.

3. Now make a plot outline that lists the parts of the story. Write it on a sheet.

How to Invent Characters

1. Create a character chart, list each character. The first might a hero or a villain. Tell who each of the other characters are — perhaps the hero's friend, the villain's helper, the victim, a bystander, a foolish person, or whoever.

2. Give the details about each character by completing the chart. Details might include male or female, age, height, weight, eye color, hair color and length. Other Details - friends, hobbies, habits, and so on.

How to Invent Settings

1. In a setting chart, list each place where something happens in your story.

2. In a sentence, tell what happens in that place.

3. List the important details about the place: Is it big, small, light, dark, hot, cold, wet, dry, soft. hard. empty, filled with things, or what?
(Remember: You don't have to make up every place in your head. You can use real places from your life or take details from pictures.)

How to Gather Facts for a Story

1. In a fact chart, write the questions you'll need to answer before
you write your story.

2. After each question, tell how you will find the answer. List the name of
a book, a person, or a place where you plan to look. If you think you
already know the answer, make sure you're right.

3. On a sheet, write the answers you find for each question.

How to Write a First Draft

1. Prepare your writing space.
• Have several sharp pencils.
• Have plenty of lined paper.
• Have your outline handy.

2. Think about the scene you're going to write about. Try to see the action
and characters in your mind. Draw your scenes on paper.

3. As you write, skip every other line.

4. Let your ideas flow. Circle any words or punctuation marks that you
want to check later.

5. If it helps you, speak the lines your characters will say.

6. From time to time, read over what you've written.

7. Put your first draft away for a while before you try to make it better.

How to Improve Your First Draft

1. Gather the materials you'll need — your first draft, some sharp pencils, and a dictionary.

2. Read your paper slowly. You might want to read it out loud.
• Make sure you have an interesting beginning and a real ending.
• Go over the action step by step. Be sure that no important scenes are missing or in the wrong order.
• See if your words make clear pictures. Add details if you need to.
• Read the dialogue (speeches) out loud. Make sure each tag shows who is speaking and how — for example, "Stop," I yelled.
• Look up the spelling of each word you're not sure of. Correct any mistakes you find.
• Check the way you've used capital letters and punctuation marks. Be sure they're right.

3. After you've checked your work, ask a friend to read your paper and give you tips for making it better.

To share your work - click on Comments and type in your story.

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