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How to write stories

January 14, 2010

I can’t imagine what would happen to me if Random House said, “Charlotte, here is a checklist for writing good books. Please follow it to the best of your ability.”
Does the story start with the Main Character in the middle of an important action?
Is there an easily identifiable climax?
Is it punctuated correctly?
Is the language interesting and varied?
Is there a “So What?” Has the main character learned anything at the end of the story?
These are the questions that my sixth grader had to consider before writing a short story. His tale, completed tonight after hours of agony, features a death, a burnt house (to a crisp), a drunken father, a divorce, a confrontation with an angry gang member, a fall down some stairs, and a victimized son named Dylan. All this in three pages. I made one suggestion. I said I thought the orphanage at the end could be a wish on Dylan’s part, not an actual event. So instead of the police actually taking Dylan to this orphanage at the end of the story, Dylan could just Wish that they would take him to said orphanage.

After a day with MW, I did not want to deal with Dylan’s sorrows My son wondered why I was so irritable.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2010 10:56 pm

    Geez, sounds like your sixth-grade son could start writing for television any day now! Good grief, what a grueling exercise! And only 3 pages! He’s amazing!

  2. January 18, 2010 5:26 pm

    I think if I had been given that exercise I would have either turned out to be an amazing writer or quit school, depending on how I felt on that day. A lot of things to cover for three pages wonder if there is a sequel pending.

    Cate

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