Cartoon by Grant Howett
Every year, the college where I teach offers a workshop for young writers. This year, I'm conducting a session for 6-8th graders, and this year I created a story-generating exercise called The Incredible Story-Making Machine. I've posted it here in case any of you would like to use it in any classes or workshops that you teach, free of charge. Feel free to adapt it to your own needs as well. If you do use it, I'd appreciate hearing how it worked for you.
THE INCREDIBLE STORY-MAKING MACHINE
Input data into this "machine" to help you generate a story!
1) Create a CHARACTER.
1 Psychological Strength:
1 Psychological Weakness:
2) Give your character three BACKGROUND details. Try to use these details in your story.
3) Give your character a GOAL (what the character wants to achieve in the story).
4) Create a SETTING for your story.
Where and when does the story take place?
5) Create an ANTAGONIST for your character. (This antagonist can be a person, a force of nature, a situation, etc.)
6) Create three OBSTACLES that the character will have to overcome in order to obtain his or her goal. (The obstacles should involve the antagonist as well as the character’s psychological strength and weakness.)
7) Create a PLOT TWIST for your story, an unexpected turn of events that will surprise your readers.
8) Create an interesting and exciting CLIMAX for your story.
How does the story end?
Does the character obtain his or her goal?
How is the character changed by the events of the story?
9) Using the information you generated with this template, WRITE YOUR STORY!10) When you’re finished, share your story with others!