*Check the end of the post for a great chart created by Bonnie Chichester based on this post!! Thank you Bonnie!!!!
There is a great discussion taking place on the IFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching page on Facebook! about how to choose structures that create interesting stories. I have a list somewhere that is a little more complete, but until I find it, here goes….
There are a number of ways to combine structures to create a story skeleton. It works most smoothly when the story evolves naturally from the problem. So, step #1: Identify the problem or the situation using a high-frequency or high-interest structure. Step #2: Look for “natural” reactions (think cause and effect) or complementary actions to that statement. Here are some ideas:
is hungry —– wants to eat
is thirsty —– wants to drink
is tired —— wants to sleep
gets sick——-goes to doctor
needs money—gets a job
admires—tries to impress
looks for —–cannot find
has to——forgets to
wants to/tries to—-is not able to
wants/likes/needs—-does not have
is asked to—-but refuses to
A variety of options can be created just using Terry Waltz’ “Super 7”:
wants/likes but does not have
wants/likes but there are none
Wants____ so goes to ____
is located in _____but/therefore/and wants______
goes to ____but doesn’t have_____
has ____but doesn’t like/want______
Just one of these options can lead to many, many stories:
Is in school but doesn’t have a pencil
Is in the ocean but doesn’t have a boat
Is in the bathroom but doesn’t have toilet paper
Is in the store but doesn’t have money
Is in the hospital but doesn’t have an illness
Is in trouble but doesn’t have a solution
Is at the doctor’s office but doesn’t have an appointment
Is at the entrance but doesn’t have a ticket
Is at the dance but doesn’t have a date
Is at the airport but doesn’t have a passport
And these are just the “basic” kinds of stories. With a little imagination and trial and error, stories can be much more interesting:
Is at Costco and the credit card has no limit.
Is on a beach but doesn’t have sunscreen for his/her whole body.
Is at the cashier after eating at a restaurant but doesn’t have money.
Is shopping at Petco but doesn’t have a pet
Is at a funeral but doesn’t have any idea who the deceased is.
Then add one of Mike Peto’s “Sweet Sixteen” structures:
Is at Starbucks, and Starbucks has no milk for coffee so puts_____in the coffee.
Is on Dancing with the Stars but has no partner so asks many people to dance.
Is at a birthday party but has no gift so looks for a gift in the house/restaurant.
Looks like folks there are starting a bit of a data base for ideas…come join us!
Here is the chart Bonnie put together!!
CREATING STORIES GUIDE