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Story writing: stuck for an idea?


Is your child taking the 11 Plus or private school entrance exams? Do they get stuck when faced with just a story title, such as ‘The Storm’? ✍

Try thinking back to a favourite traditional story, well-loved film or modern story. It can provide inspiration and a well-rehearsed plot structure.

In school and in my 11 Plus classes, we often use this technique because it gives children an immediate hook and they already understand the structure of the rising and falling tension. It goes without saying to make sure characters and settings are changed!

Let’s take Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH) as an example…

LRRH basic story structure is:

⭐Beginning: LRRH is given a task and freedom (to take food to Granny), along with a warning to be careful and not talk to strangers.

⭐Middle: She meets the wolf and feels uneasy but doesn’t fully realise the danger she is in. The wolf asks her where she is going. Unwittingly, she tells him. The reader is fully aware of the problem. This creates tension. When she gets to Granny’s house, the wolf is already there dressed as Granny.


⭐End/ Solution: The woodcutter saves LRRH and Granny is safe. A valuable lesson is learned. Moral: Don’t talk to strangers (showing an emphasis on obedience or good behaviour).


So, for the title, ‘The Storm’, the story could go like this:


⭐Beginning: The young character goes out for a cycle ride but is told to stay away from the cliffs.


⭐Middle: The young character unwittingly goes a bit too close to the cliffs. Rain starts, winds become faster. A full storm ensues. The character gets blown over the edge and is left on a narrow ledge.


⭐End / Solution: The character gets rescued by a mountain climber. Moral: Listen to warnings from your adult (showing an emphasis on obedience or good behaviour).


Let us know if you have used this technique or if you can think of any good suggestions to share with others!