Unit 1 Major Assignment

Write Your Adventure Story

Now that you have read some adventurous stories and thought about what it is that makes for a good story, it is your turn to hammer out a tale yourself. This will be a true story that may or may not have involved you directly. Either way, you will have to talk to some people to get quotes, find out details and to consider another perspective.

Generally, you should be able to fit your story onto a couple of typed pages, but there is no set minimum or maximum length.

To write this story, you will be using a writing process known by the acronym POWER for prewriting, outlining, writing, editing and revising.

word power

Prewriting - Step 1

At the beginning of this unit you were asked to think about what makes for a good story.

Here is the standard idea, but you will have to fill in gaps. A good story involves a sympathetic character who faces a challenge or obstacle. Often the challenge requires the character to address his or her own shortcomings. The character then deals with the complications resulting from this challenge and overcomes them, learning a lesson, often related to the self, while overcoming the problem. Sound like some stories that you have heard? Good.

Some good sources for stories are family, friends and local community members. You might ask your parents about challenges that you faced when you were small. You could think of an incident that happened to a neighbour or an event that made it onto local news. The main point here is that you are going to talk to people to get their version of the event.

You should have a few story ideas in mind before you narrow it down to the one that is going to work for you. Bounce your ideas off of as many people as you can to see if they also think it will make a good story.

Start taking notes. Get some direct quotes from the people who were there when the story happened. Write down as many original details and facts as you can. Once you have done that, you are ready for the outlining stage.

Outlining - Step 2

All good stories have structure. Structure is what makes a story easy to follow so that what you are reading, listening to, or watching fades into the background allowing you to feel immersed in the story without any hindrances. Great stories get all of the details in the right order.

To give your story structure, you are going to complete an outline which you can download here.

Start by filling in the easy stuff - that which you know off the top of your head. Then use the notes that you have taken to fill in more info. You will need to use key words on the outline to remind you of some facts, details, and quotations that you plan to include. Do not write in sentences. Keep it brief. Feel free to rearrange material as you outline.

Don't start your story until your outline is complete.

If you have time, tell someone your story from your outline before you write it. If you can, have your teacher look at your outline now.

Writing - Step 3

Write your story from your outline. If possible, try to write the story in one go. This will be a rough draft, so expect it to contain errors.

Remember to hold on to all rough work, as you will be handing it in.

You might want to write this by hand, or you can type it. You want to avoid distractions, however. Consider using a text editor such as notepad or textedit.

The trick here is to keep writing without stopping. Do not start reading what you have written. The key to this step is to bypass the editor in your head and to focus on getting words on paper as efficiently as possible.

Once you have finished, take a break for a while. When you come back to your story, you will have a fresh perspective.

Editing - Step 4

Start by editing yourself, beginning with structural changes before moving to the details. You don't want to spend time on commas if you are going to delete that whole paragraph anyway.

Get each scene in the right order, then each paragraph, then each sentence.

Before you start polishing it for grammar and punctuation, read it aloud to someone. Does it feel like it makes sense to you? Look at the facial expressions of the person you are reading to. Make revisions after you have read the story aloud, not during.

Once you are on to a second or third draft, let someone read it. Have them give you general feedback on the flow of the story and on the details you have included.

Rewriting - Step 5

Only now are you ready to pull out the fine grit sandpaper to shine up your story to a sheen.

Look at your sentence structure, checking for run-ons and fragments. Make sure that verbs agree with their nouns. Check punctuation, spelling and capitalization. Check for word repetition and proper usage.

Take a well-deserved break!

Formatting

See the course handout "English 9 Style Sheet" for all formatting standards such as giving your assignment a title.

Include a title page with an image for this assignment. You may include one of your own photos or drawings or find an appropriate image online. You can also include graphics within the main body as long as they contribute to the story without distracting. If you need help formatting pictures within a document, ask your teacher.

Evaluation

Story (see rubric) - 20

Layout and graphics (see rubric) - 6

Total = 26 marks