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A step by step approach on how to gather information on current events and stories and be able to write opinions and express personal points of view


Ajarn Willard Van De Bogart - TESOL Certificate May 2003-SIT


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Chapter five:


How to write your story

Mid-Term Portfolio Presentation Requirements

Portfolio progress:

Chapter one: you identified a story idea.
Chapter two: you gathered information about that idea.
Chapter three: you took notes on all the information you gathererd.
Chapter four: you organized all your information as to what was the most important to you and the least important.

Chapter five: - (Part I - Getting ready to write)

Now you have to write.
Write about what?
Write about all the material you have collected.
How do I write about my material?
Ask why is your material is so important.
Ask what are the good points about your material and what are the bad points.
Ask if there are any people associated with the material you have collected. List their names and who they are. These will be the characters in your story.

Assignment 1: (5 points)
With the material you have collected and the notes you have taken on your material write about your notes and material using the #8 following techniques to get you started before you write your story. Use a sheet of paper for each section. This assignment will help you get ready to write your story.

  1. Freewriting
    Write on a piece of paper everything you can think of about your subject never lifting your pen from the paper. Do not worry about punctuation or grammar just keep writing. If you can not think of anything to write do not stop the pen from moving on the paper. Just write "I can't think of anything to write" but do not stop writing. All you want are a lot of words related to your material. Give yourself 5 minutes to do this exercise. I want to see everything you wrote.
  2. Automatic writing
    Sit down and be quiet for 5 minutes. Then pick up your pen and write everthing you want your story to be about. Your sentences must be correct in grammar and punctuation. Write anything you want, but make sure you have complete sentences.
  3. Listing
    Now of the left side of a sheet of paper list all the things you can think of about what you have collected. The list does not have to be a numbered list just a list of the things you can think of about everything you have collected and the notes you have taken.
  4. Clustering
    This exercise is also called webbing or web writing. It is a way to gather all your ideas. On a piece of paper write down an idea that comes to your mind about your material and notes and draw a circle around it. Then think of another idea and write it on the paper and draw a circle around that idea. After you have many circles draw lines connecting the circles.
  5. Cavewriting
    This techniques mixes pictures and words any where you want on a sheet of paper. You can draw what ever comes too your mind about the material and notes you have collected. What ever word comes to mind about your material place it next to any picture.
  6. Cut and paste
    In this technique write anything you want on a sheet of paper and try to fill the sheet up about the material and notes you have collected. Then cut up the sheet of paper and repaste them in any way and in any order on another sheet of paper.
  7. Mix and Match
    On a sheet of paper make a list of ideas about your material on the left side of the sheet and a list on the right side of the sheet. Then see if can make a connection by drawing lines from ideas on the left side to ideas on the right side. This will help you see new associations and connections with the material you have collected.
  8. BrainstormingIn brainstorming you write anything that comes to your mind on a sheet of paper. No rules of grammar or punctuation are necessary. This is a way to record anything that comes to your mind so you can see what kinds of thoughts you might use for your story.

    Chapter five: (Part II - How to begin your story

    The Character or the Topic

    Main Character or idea/topic or subject:

    Every story starts with a main character or a main topic. It can be an animal, a person, or a thing. It can be anything you want. If you want to illustrate your story, choose a main character or subject you like to draw. Start by asking yourself some questions:

    Assignment 2:Put on diskette - (5 points)
    Answer the following #12 questions about your story. Use all the ideas you gathered in the #8 creativity techniques listed above to help you answer these questions.

    1. What is your topic or story about?
    2. Who is your main character?
    3. What is good or bad about your topic?
    4. What are the pros and cons about your topic?
    5. What does he, she or it like/dislike in your story?
    6. What is your main character's personality like?
    7. What does your character look like?
    8. What is the future of your character or topic?
    9. What is the most important thing you have learned so far about all the material you have gathered and collected?
    10. What new idea or ideas did you learn from the #8 creativity techniques?
    11. If you had to search the internet what search term would you use in google that would give you information that would be closely related to your portfolio topic?
    12. What was the best internet site/sites you found that was related to your topic or story? List web site or web sites URL.

    Mid-Term Portfolio presentation due: July 29, 2004 - (20 points).

    I will be looking at 4 main parts in your portfolio each part. Each part is worth 5 points.

    1.  I will look at all your material in the portfolio to see how well you have organized your assignments. I want to analyse what your portfolio looks like. (5 points)
    This includes:
    • Your initial idea to begin your portfolio.
    • The material you gathered to support that idea.
    • The notes you took on the material you gathered.
    • Your organization sheet for the material you gathered.
    2.  I am going to study your ideas from the #8 techniques for idea creation. I want to know what new idea or ideas you got from doing this exercise. (5 points)
    3.  I am going to study your #12 questions you answered and determine if you have enough material in your portfolio to support your answers. (5 points)
    4.  I am going to evaluate your diskette for all the assignments you did on it which must include: (5 points)
    • Short description of your proposed story
    • Answers to four questions to be found with the "Ask Jeeves Search Engine".
    • A list of the material you have gathered so far.
    • A list of the material organized in order of importance.
    • Answers to the #12 questions about your story.

    Remember all the material you are collecting in your potfolio is in preparation to write the final story which will be your personal point of view or opinion about your topic or character!

    More ideas on how to get started with your story

    When you start getting answers to your questions , draw a character and topic web. Put your main character's name in the circle in the middle, and all of his or her characteristics on the lines coming out of the circle. Do the same for a main topic.

    Hint: Draw a picture of your main character to help you visualize what he or she is like. Draw a symbol of your topic and do the same thing.


    Where does your story take place?

    Every story has to happen somewhere. However, the setting can have either a large or small impact on the entire story. For example, what would Batman be without Gotham? Just a story about a guy in a cape running around some generic town. Think about Batman being set in a little town like Mayberry, USA instead of the magical, mystical town of Gotham. Not very exciting, huh?

    Ask yourself these questions:

    The Problem:

    What is the challenge your character or situation must face and overcome? When you give your main character a problem to solve, your story comes alive. Be sure to make it a big enough problem. Remember: choosing what color to paint your nails isn't much of a problem, but choosing the right color wire to clip to disarm a bomb is a very big problem.

    Important tip: Use conflict in your story. Conflict means someone or something tries to stop your character (the hero of the story) from solving the problem. For example, your character needs to complete a science project, but keeps getting thrown off the track by a visiting cousin. To keep the story interesting, the more times your hero tries and fails, the better.

    Ask yourself these questions:


    How does the main character finally solve the problem?
    What is the final outcome of this topic?

    The story must have a satisfying ending. The best ending is when the hero is about to give up but solves the problem at the last minute before disaster strikes. It doesn't have to be a big disaster, of course. It's the relief from the story's confict that makes it interesting.

    Hint #1: It's best if the story's hero solves the problem on his or her own.

    Hint #2: Look back at your character web to see if one of your hero's characteristics can help solve the problem. It's great if one of the hero's faults turns out to be a strength that leads to the resolution of the story.

    Ask yourself these questions:

    The Secrets to Good Story Writing:

    You now have the basic knowledge to write a good story. Go write one!

    Chapter four | Chapter six

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