All ages - Ways to plan and write a story.

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

It can be really helpful to plan your stories a bit before you write them. Here are 2 ways to plan out a story, one is a more detailed plan that the other.

Version One:

A small business called Tales Toolkit have developed these 4 symbols to help create a simple story plan. Follow the link to see their website.


Who is your main character? Cinderella

Where is he or she? In a really big house with ugly sisters.

What is the problem? Wants to meet the prince at the ball but can't.

How is the problem solved? Fairy godmother helps and she goes to the ball.

Here is one example of someone using the symbols to make up a story.

With younger children:

> Play together at making up a story

> Accept your child's ideas and work with those ideas - don't be tempted to take over!

> Let your child take the lead, your job is to prompt and follow them.

> Celebrate every story created, even the bonkers ones.

> A story could be spoken aloud, written down, drawn or even filmed.

Version 2:

The 6 part story structure.

This is a well known way to plan a story and will create a 'Hero's journey' story when you're done.

You will need to get a piece of paper and split it into 6 boxes. Then follow the prompts to fill in each section.

Here is my example:

It's not very neat and it is just a few ideas but it is a starting point for getting some ideas together for a new story. I started writing about my character Emily, with no idea of what would come next - be brave, you can always change it all later. This is about gathering first ideas, which can be swapped and developed as you go on.

Once you have your basic story outline, you have some choices as to what to do with it next.

> Write it as a full story.

> Turn it into a play script.

> Film yourself telling your story aloud.

> Have some toys 'act' it out.

> Persuade some people in your house to act it out with you? This one may be tricky!

Or, get rid of it and write a whole new 6 part story!

When writing stories, I have 3 things that I am always reminding classes about.

1) Show not tell. I wrote a bit more about this on this post here.

2) Use specifics. I think this makes a huge difference to the quality of a story. Give details. If your character is going to a cafe - what is the cafe called? If your character plays a musical instrument, which instrument? When did they start learning to play? You might need to look up some details to make your details convincing, such as what do you call the pushy down bits on a trumpet? Or just make the technical information up - it's a story, not an information text. Make your final story convincing with specific details.

3) We'll get to that another time.........

Enjoy creating stories this week.

Why stop at one story? Make lots of 8 part stories and then choose your favourite to develop into a full story.

Work with brothers or sisters to create a story together. This can be difficult but it can also produce a fantastic story that nobody would have thought of alone.

Could you call a friend and work on a story plan together? Then you could go and write your own full versions and compare them at the end.


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