So, you're writing stories in English class, and your reluctant writer is whiny and reticent. "Why do we have to write stories? I can't think of anything!" If you can't get them out of their writing slump by suggesting "Well, let's brainstorm," or "Look around you for ideas," just say (with a twinkle in your eye) - "Forget it, let's just play a game instead." Of course, five or ten minutes later they'll realize they're not getting off the story-writing hook, but they'll probably be enjoying themselves so much they'll forget to pout. The game format is similar to most board games your family plays, with a large board featuring a wandering path from beginning to end. Besides a die, scoring pad and markers, the game features eight decks of story element cards and a story outline pad. Basically, as players move along the board, they will collect specific story element cards, and weave them into a story. Card decks are clearly labeled and include topic sentence, plot, character, setting, description, dialogue, lesson, and resolution cards. At the beginning of the game, each player receives a topic sentence. This is the only topic sentence card they will receive, and should be used towards the beginning of the story. As they roll the die, they will land on spaces labeled with the names of corresponding story element cards, and will draw the top card from the stack. By the end of the game, they should have at least one of each element card, and at least five description cards. Then, the writing begins! Choosing from their collected cards, the writer decides which cards he wants to incorporate into his or her story, and writes them onto the outline sheet. The outline begins with the topic sentence, and features blanks to fill in for each part of the story. Under "Setting", they must determine the "where", "when" and descriptors. Under character, they must identify the good guys and the bad guys, and describe both. For the plot, they must identify the problem, and decide on the order of events. Under "Resolution" and "Lesson", they will decide how the "Resolution" and "Lesson" cards they chose relate to their story, and how it all wraps up. Now, players each have a good framework for a story; the trick is now fleshing it out into an actual short story, which may be easier at this point, since a lot of the "unknowns" have been identified. A scoring sheet will help Mom decide if the story included all the necessary components, and will inspire kids not to skimp on the "less exciting" stuff. Since inventing characters, conflicts and settings sometimes takes a lot of steam out of even the more enthused young writers, I would imagine that taking that pressure off of them in this way would free up their imaginations to write a much more well-rounded, exciting story. I'll bet that even Mom and Dad will want to play this one! - Jess
Please also see our Spelling & Vocabulary - Word Games section formore fun word games!
These materials cover various types of creative writing, includingdescriptive writing, poetry, journaling, and stories.
These materials focus on writing practice and offer little to no writinginstruction.
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