Monday, April 8, 2013

Picture Book Workshop #10: Organizing Your Story

I've been going into the school library recently, helping my son's class prepare for an author visit.  (Not an author visit of mine, but of a local author who's making books with the kids.)  One of the things the students need to do is write a story, then the author is going to help them put it in book form.

I've been trying to help the kids write.

I created a worksheet to help them organize their thoughts, and shape the story.  This is sort of a kiddo-version, but the idea is the same of what I do when I craft my stories.  Ups and downs.  Obstacles and victories.  The only real difference is that my stories have more zig-zags.

Have you heard of the Rule of Three?

From Wikipedia:  The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things.

Because I was trying to fit the organizer on one sheet of 8.5 x 11" paper, I only had space for 2 obstacles.  (And, really, two obstacles is fine for a fourth grader.) But I would recommend having AT LEAST three for your story to feel complete.

In Wink the Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed, Wink was kicked out of ninja school three times before he found a place within the circus.  In Monkey Ono, he comes up with three plans after he is left behind.  Three is a magic number. *

(* But that's not to say that you can't have more.  You'll find the balance for your story.)

There are lots of different ways to organize your thoughts/stories.  Every writer has a way that works for them that might not work for anyone else.  And it's also OK to just write and see what comes out, then trim away bits and pieces as you edit.

My best stories come from a little more thought and direction.  So a simple story outline often works for me.  (Often, not always.)  I hope you find something that works for you.  And if you don't like mine, Google "story organizer" and a BUNCH of things will come up.

Good luck!


Becky said...

This is awesome, Julie! Thanks so much for sharing!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Love the worksheet!

Julie_c said...

Thanks for your comments Becky and Ruth - I'm always pleased to be helpful.

Anna Staniszewski said...

This worksheet is fantastic! Do you mind if I steal it for future workshops? I'll be sure to credit you. :-)

Julie_c said...

Steal away, Anna. Steal away. You don't even need to credit me. I've seen versions similar to this. We all just borrow from each other.