Slice of Life Tuesday: Writing More

It's April, and my students are elbow-deep in their #scriptfrenzy writing. When I announce it's time to work on our scripts, a cheer rumbles through the room. I'm not going to try to hide it: I. Love. This.

Last November, I used Larry Brooks' Story Engineering to help guide me through my NaNoWriMo novel. I've always written from the seat of my pants, but using Brooks' structure helped me to complete my first novel. I am now a firm believer in laying down some structure before wandering into the wilderness of writing a novel -- or anything else, for that matter!

I decided to try out the concepts from Story Engineering with my 4th grade students. I know people generally tend to crinkle their foreheads and turn down their lips when I talk about taking using these really intense, detailed, high-level concepts with my sweet, innocent, just learning the ropes 4th graders, but I have to tell you -- the kids sure seem to love it. How can that be wrong?

I've used the lessons from the NaNoWriMo site before, which includes this handy plot roller coaster:

Taking the kids from this form to words like plot point and inciting incident and midpoint wasn't much of a leap. I'm using reader's theatre scripts along with printouts of screenplays and dramas they are familiar with. We're sitting around discussing the Alice in Wonderland production we saw on a field trip last week, and making it fit into the elements of a drama.

And some of them are whipping out page after page of correctly formatted, interesting scripts.

And some of them come sit with me, and we write an outline for each act and scene, and then they bounce off ready to attack their play again.

And all of them are excited. Each writing more every day.

Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?


  1. Sounds like a room full of writing energy!

  2. I loved doing NaNoWriMo with my class last November! Because we have 1 week of Nature's Classroom and 1 week of vacation during April, I've put Script Frenzy out as an enrichment (yes, I'll give you get extra credit for doing it) project and will set aside a day to celebrate in late May sharing scripts and even a few movies kids are (allegedly) filming from their scripts and screen plays. Fun. But don't tell anyone...

    1. Sounds like tons of fun! I'll keep your secret. :)