Rachelle Gardner, a literary agent, titled a blog post: “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” Isn’t that so true of life? Keeping this title in mind, plot a story that could be titled “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.”
To practice using an outline for plotting a story, use the following outline based on the classic plot pyramid.
I. Exposition: Life as normal for your protagonist
II. Inciting Incident: Something happens (it could be a problem, a need, or a desire) that your protagonist is going to have to do something about.
III. Rising Action: The protagonist tries to fix the problem or get what he wants. There are usually complications. Nothing is as easy to do as the protagonist thinks it will be. However, the protagonist will keep trying to address his situation.
IV. Climax: This is the point in the story where no matter what your protagonist does, her life will be changed forever. She needs to make a choice and act on it.
V. Falling Action: The protagonist deals with the consequences of his choice.
VI. Denouement: Life has changed and the protagonist settles into a “new normal.”
Depending on the problems you create for your protagonist, will he end up being the windshield or the bug?
Choose a scene from your outline and write it. Remember to establish the setting—time, place, mood—and use action and dialogue to carry your reader through your scene.
When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share here as a comment. Share both your outlines and your scenes. Compliment one another on the uniqueness and believability of your overall plots and on the vividness with which you play out your scenes.
Make a copy of the general plot outline, gather writing materials, and sit down with your preschooler. Ask him to tell you a story.
As your preschooler tells you the story, write down what she says. Prompt her to move through the story by asking questions based on the plot outline.
Share When you are done, read aloud the story your preschooler has dictated, pointing to the words as you say them to reinforce the one-to-one correspondence between written and spoke words.
Enjoy the story together. Consider using clip art, pictures from magazines, or stickers to make illustrations for the story. Enjoy sharing it with others.