Minds On

Rapid writing

In this learning activity, you are going to develop your story writing skills. By understanding the structure of stories and developing your creativity, you will learn the art of storytelling.

Sometimes writing can feel challenging. Coming up with new, creative ideas takes work. Like most skills, creative writing requires practice and “exercise.” We are going to do a rapid writing activity to help “exercise” our creative writing muscles.

Imagine that each of these photos are screenshots from a movie.

  • Choose one image from your “movie” that stands out to you.
  • Set a timer for ten minutes and get ready to write.
  • When the timer starts, try to write the story behind the “movie” you choose.
  • Try to include a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Keep an eye on the timer.
  • Do not concern yourself with spelling or punctuation.

Feel free to repeat this exercise with the other photos if you have the time.

Action

Part 1: Learning about plot

Pyramid shape showing exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution of a story

Most stories have a beginning, middle, and an end. However, there is usually more to a story than just these three pieces. Most stories need a conflict or problem and a resolution to that conflict or problem. There is also usually a “big moment” or climax to a story. This is what the previous diagram is showing us.

Part of a Story Description
Exposition How your story begins. Introduce the characters and the setting.
Rising Action Introduce the main conflict or problem in the story that the characters must face.
Climax The “big moment” of the story.
Falling Action The consequences of the climax. How will the characters respond?
Resolution How does the story end? Where have the characters ended up?

Using the plot pyramid

  • Think of a movie, book, comic book/graphic novel, manga, episode of a TV show, or short story that you know from beginning to end.
  • Complete the Story Arc Organizer in your notebook or use the following fillable and printable document to fill in key details from the story on the plot pyramid.
  • Use jot notes/point form to fill the organizer.

Story Arc Organizer Press the ‘Activity’ button to access Story Arc Organizer. Activity (Open PDF in a new window)

Part 2: Writing a plot

Brainstorm

Try brainstorming plot clues from this movie poster!

Cedar River movie title. Two women. Birds flying around. A person rowing in a kayak on misty water.

Let's examine this movie poster. What do you think this movie is about? If possible, work with a partner and describe what appears in this poster. Start by generating ideas using a brainstorm. Remember that in a brainstorm…

There are no bad ideas! Write everything that comes to mind when you look at the poster.

If possible, collaborate with peers to generate more ideas.

Complete the Brainstorm Organizer in your notebook or use the following fillable and printable document to record your ideas about the procedures you would like to explain.

Brainstorm Organizer Press the ‘Activity’ button to access Brainstorm Organizer. Activity (Open PDF in a new window)

Now that you have generated some ideas, you are going to write the plot of this movie. Some things to consider:

  • Reference the poster for details.
  • Reference your brainstorm for ideas. You do not need to use every idea that you brainstormed. Pick only the ones that fit into the plot of the movie.
  • Complete the Story Arc Organizer in your notebook or use the following fillable and printable document to jot notes/point form with your ideas for the plot of this movie.

Story Arc Organizer Press the ‘Activity’ button to access Story Arc Organizer. Activity (Open PDF in a new window)

Consolidation

Similarities and differences

When you are finished, share your idea for the movie with a peer or small group*. Discuss the following:

Similarities or differences in…

  • each of the five parts of the plot pyramid (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution)
  • what happened to each of the characters on the poster

Record your observations in a notebook using the following table template:

Similarities Differences

 

 

*If this is not possible, share your movie idea with a family member or caregiver. Show them the poster and ask them what other ideas they might have. Use this conversation to help improve your own plot.

Writing the script

At this point, you probably have a good idea about the plot structure of the movie that you created. Now it is time to write the script! For this activity, you can record your ideas using speech to text software, paper, or a computer. When writing the script for your movie, keep these notes in mind:

Scripts typically show when a certain character is speaking by putting the character name first, like this:

Character Name: Wow, look at that sunset!

When you need to describe an important action in your movie that does not have dialogue between characters, write it on a separate line in italics, like this:

The doctor walked out of the room and slammed the door shut.

Remember to refer back to your outline of the plot to keep your movie on track.

Reflection

As you read the following descriptions, select the one that best describes your current understanding of the learning in this activity. Press the corresponding button once you have made your choice.

I feel...

Now, expand on your ideas by recording your thoughts using a voice recorder, speech-to-text, or writing tool.

When you review your notes on this learning activity later, reflect on whether you would select a different description based on your further review of the material in this learning activity.

Press ‘Discover More’ to extend your skills.

Close up of film clap board

What is a big budget, Hollywood movie without a sequel? Design the poster for the sequel to the movie poster in the Action section, and draw a sketch. Then, map out the plot of the sequel using the same plot pyramid.

When working on the sequel, consider:

How will the sequel connect to the first movie?

Will there be new characters/settings and if so, how will they fit into the plot?