Story Writing

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Planning Stories

The secret to writing a good story is making a plan before you begin writing. Story writing without planning can make the writing process much more difficult. Planning stories can be an especially helpful process for your child if they are struggling with story writing in general. It can lead to much better story writing, with a better plot and character development. The purpose of this lesson is to demonstrate how to plan stories and why it's so important.

What is story planning?

Story planning is the process of breaking down your story into its main parts before beginning the writing process.

Why is story planning important?

Story planning is important because it ensures that a story’s plot makes sense and flows well. Additionally, it can help prevent writer’s block, which happens when the author feels stuck during the story writing process. Story planning makes the actual act of story writing much easier, which is why it’s so important for a child writer!

How do you plan stories?

When making a story plan, it’s best to divide your story plan into three parts: beginning, middle, and end. This will help you decide what you’d like to write at different points in your story, which makes story planning feel a lot less overwhelming. It can also be helpful for your child to write down their story plot in just one sentence, so they know exactly what the purpose of their story is. There are many different methods of story planning, so it may take some time for your child to figure out which one works best for them and their writing process. Trial and error is key when trying different methods of planning stories!

Breaking down your story plan

The Beginning

The beginning of a story plan should include important details that the reader will need to know before the story really gets started. Any background information that is important for the readers to know from the beginning of the story should be included in the beginning of a story plan. Remember, the beginning of a story also needs to catch the reader’s attention, so this is also important to consider when story planning. Here are some key questions for your child to consider when planning the beginning of their story:

  1. Where is your story set?
  2. What does your reader need to know about your main character(s)?
  3. How do you want your reader to feel after starting to read your story? What can you do to set the mood?
  4. Is there a way you plan on catching your reader’s attention from the start?

After planning the beginning of your story, it’s now time to move on to the middle section.

The Middle

The middle of your story plan can look very different depending on what kind of story you’re writing. The middle section often has the bulk of the story; it typically presents the conflict or main point of the story. This is where you can be the most creative with your story plan! Here are some key questions for your child to consider when planning the middle of their story:

  1. Is there going to be a problem or conflict that arises for your character(s)?
  2. If there is no problem, what is the main point of your story?
  3. What key information is necessary for your readers to understand in the middle of the story?
  4. How will you continue to hold your reader’s attention in the middle of your story?

After planning the middle of your story, it’s finally time to move on to the end section.

The End

The end of your story is typically where any concluding thoughts are expressed, and when a resolution is reached if there was a problem in the middle of your story. The end of your story plan should include how you intend on leaving your readers feeling and what you want them to be thinking about when they finish reading your story. Here are some key questions to consider when planning the middle of your story:

  1. If there was a conflict present in your story, how is it resolved? Or is it resolved at all?
  2. Are there any concluding thoughts you need to include here?
  3. How do you want your readers to be left feeling once they’re done reading your story?
  4. Do you want to include a surprise ending or a cliffhanger?

Activity & Resource

Now that we've provided some information about know story planning is, why it’s helpful for writers, and how to story plan, we have a helpful exercise for your child to get started planning their first story!

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