In this lesson, you have learned how to use note-taking, graphic organizers, and working outlines to plan an expository essay about “The Great Texas Drought of 2011.” Suppose your teacher asks you to write a short story about your experiences during the drought. In the second and third sections of this lesson, you collected factual information about the drought, but let’s think about what you will need to write a short story.
For starters, your story can be set in the past, the present, or the future. Since it’s fictional, you can include colorful characters and dialogue. You can also paint your own picture of the drought by using personal details in the writing. One way to develop ideas for your story is to make lists.
People organize their daily lives using to-do lists, grocery lists, and schedules. For this lesson, we will focus on listing as a prewriting strategy. Listing is an important part of the writing process because it can help you generate and organize ideas. One list-making method that some writers find helpful is to answer the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of your short story. Answering these questions can guide your thinking and note-taking.
For the next activity, click the link to download the graphic organizer for this section. This file will help you organize your ideas for writing a short story. You can type your answers on-screen or print this file and write them. When you’re finished, return to this section. Graphic Organizer Instructions
Because you are writing a short story, remember to follow the guidelines used in the short story writing process. These guidelines were covered in the previous lesson, “Generate Ideas and Questions,” but let’s review them. Typically, a short story includes these elements: a beginning, middle, and an ending. If this sounds simple—almost too simple—you are right; there is more to it. Other lessons in the Writing Strand cover literary devices that authors use to vary this structure. For this lesson, however, you will use these basic parts of a short story:
- The beginning, or introduction, is where the characters and the setting are presented; the explanation of the plot or exposition occurs in the beginning.
- The middle includes actions or events in which the conflict of the story is exposed; rising action and the climax—or the turning point of the story—both occur in the middle. The falling action—where the conflict begins to be resolved—also occurs in the middle.
- The ending can also be referred to as the denouement; the conflict is resolved and the action comes to a close in the ending.
This diagram illustrates the three parts of a short story.
For the next activity, click the link to download the last graphic organizer. This organizer will help you refine the lists you made in the previous graphic organizer. You can type your answers on-screen or print this file and write them. When you’re finished, return to this section. Graphic Organizer Instructions
You should be ready to write your story! In the future, when your teacher assigns an essay or short story, you will have strategies to organize your ideas. Using your notes, make a list of the strategies mentioned in this lesson. When you are finished, check your understanding.