In this weekly club, we will plan and write stories together using various different structures, combined with dramatic images that stimulate ideas. Some of the structures we will use are listed below:
Structure One: Shifting Focus
Paragraph One: Description of surroundings: wide focus.
Paragraph Two: Description of surroundings: narrow focus.
Paragraph Three: Description of character.
Paragraph Four: Flashback.
Paragraph Five: Jolt back to present.
Paragraph Six: Powerful ending with cyclical structure. Has anything changed?
Structure Two: A Hero’s Journey
Paragraph One: Setting out
Paragraph Two: Meeting danger
Paragraph Three: Facing setbacks
Paragraph Four: Overcoming setbacks to achieve a goal
Paragraph Five: The journey home
Paragraph Six: The return – how the hero has changed / what they have learned
Structure Three: Start in the Middle
Paragraph One: In medias res (in the middle of things)
Paragraph Two: Flashback: how we got here
Paragraph Three: Jolt back to the present
Paragraph Four: Struggle with danger or difficulty
Paragraph Five: Resolution of danger or difficulty (either happy or tragic)
Creativity is unleashed when we learn methods which we can then adapt. I have found this to be true whenever I have taught structures to students over the years. Students who were stuck and didn’t know how to begin, how to continue, or how to end, were liberated by having a structure within which they could work. Once you have learned it well, you can adapt it any way you like. This is how all of the great authors learned to write – start with a structure that has been used before, then adapt to suit your own ideas.
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[Class image from Wikimedia. Author: Shalom Jacobovitz]