Here’s the second writing tip in “The 3-Minute Writing Teacher” video series. The video focuses on how virtually all stories fit into a narrative arc, moving beyond the overly simplistic concept that a story must have a beginning, middle, and end. And, of course, the writing tip is presented in only 3 minutes.
Beneath the video, I’ve also provided a couple of ideas for how teachers can incorporate narrative arc and my writing-tip video into both their reading and their writing curriculums.
WRITING TIP #2: NARRATIVE ARC
TEACHING IDEA #1: READING
Not only does narrative arc provide a solid framework for students to create their own stories, but it also can help them summarize stories they’ve read. Teach students to break a story down into:
a) the beginning,
b) the main problem,
c) a list of key events that occur in the middle of the story in order to move the plot from the problem to the resolution,
d) the resolution, and
e) the ending.
It’s especially easy to practice and model this form of summary by using picture books, which allow students to see the entire narrative arc played out quickly due to picture books’ condensed formats.
TEACHING IDEA #2: WRITING
Have students watch the “Narrative Arc” video from The 3-Minute Writing Teacher. Then, as a class (or individually), complete the alien story that is partially outlined in the sample of narrative arc. Key questions to consider in this writing exercise are:
a) What takes place to move from the story’s BEGINNING to the point where the PROBLEM is introduced?
b) What are all of the events that will occur in the MIDDLE of the story, propelling the reader forward from the PROBLEM to the RESOLUTION?
c) And finally, how will the story transition from the RESOLUTION to the ENDING?
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