Read “War,” by Timothy Findley.
Do you think you really understand why adults do the things they do?
Respond to the Story
- Whose war does the author refer to in the title? Support your view with examples from the story.
- With a small group, discuss whether you think the way Neil reacts to his father leaving is typical of a ten-year-old boy. Why do you think he throws the stones?
- Like most stories, the action builds up to an event that’s the high point or climax. What is the climax of “War”?
Explore Personal Feelings
Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you lost control of your emotions or the way you acted? What event or situation in your life made you lose control? Jot down in note form what happened, how you felt at the time, how you felt afterwards, and how the situation was resolved.
Use your notes to write a story about that incident. You might use a structure similar to “War.” The beginning could introduce the main characters and the problem or situation. The middle section could explore how everyone had to deal with this problem. The climax could occur when you (or your character) lose control. The end could briefly describe how everything was resolved.
When you write your story, how do you write conversations between characters? Could your style be improved? How?
Read “The Michelle I Know,” by Alison Lohans.
Respond to the Story
- Who is the hero in this story? Explain why you think so.
- What is the turning point? In what way does Michelle change?
- What is the overall message and mood?
- Why is humour an important part of this story?
- Why do you think Alison Lohans calls her story “The Michelle I Know”?
Investigate drawing a plot diagram for this story. Use an online tool or draw your own chart. Complete it by adding story details under each of the following: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Have you read other stories like “The Michelle I know”? Discuss these stories. How were their plots similar or different? How could you use a plot diagram the next time you write your own short story?
Write a Short Story
In most good stories the characters undergo a significant change, just as Michelle does. Think about, and jot down, some ideas for a short story about an ordinary person who undergoes a significant change. Which idea would make an entertaining story for an audience of your peers?
Story Writing Tips from STJ Forums
Write an outline for your short story, including notes on the following: main character and personality, setting, conflict, initial incident, rising action, changes, climax, and conclusion/denouement/resolution. Use this outline to write a first draft. Ask a partner to give you feedback about improving your story. Revise your draft using this feedback.
Read “On the Sidewalk Bleeding” by Evan Hunter
Respond to the following questions on the various aspects of the story:
- Who is the protagonist?
- What is/are the conflict(s)?
- The conflict is developed through the use of names that apply to the boy: Andy and a Royal. Skim the story to note how the names appear in critical places. What do these names represent?
- What effect does Andy’s jacket have on the people who find him in the alley?
- What are the reasons why these people do not help Andy?
- At what point does Andy realize he is dying?
- What does Andy do with the last of his strength? How is this important to the theme and to the outcome of the conflict?
- What is the climax or turning point? Sketch a Plot Diagram. Try this Plot Diagram Generator or find another.
Create a Plot Diagram
- What is the police officer’s reaction to Andy? How does this contribute to the author’s message?
Assessment Activity: Who Am I?
Consider an essay planning map for this expository writing task
Consider your own identity: who are you, what makes you unique, how do others see you, what do you want others to know and see about you. Write a post in your blog that represents yourself: embed visual elements and/or other suitable medium.
You may wish to include some of the following elements:
- a personal motto or saying
- a symbol that represents something about you
- your attitudes about yourself
- your strengths and talents
- your hopes and dreams for the future
- what you most like about yourself
- what you are working on improving about yourself (with a positive focus) not what you dislike about yourself
Focus on the positive and create a post that makes you feel good about yourself while showing others all that is good about you.
Spend time reviewing the criteria from the assessment rubric.
Blog Post Rubric