Friday, 8 March 2013

Short Story Writing for J.C. English

Over the past few weeks I have been working with a group of third years on how to write short stories. Being able to write a good short story is not easy. It is however well worth the effort. Story telling is something humans have been doing since the first cave paintings. By creating a story you are creating a whole new world for a reader to enter and hopefully get lost in. In a very immediate sense, for third year English pupils, it can be worth 70 marks of your J.C. exam. Nearly 20% of your final grade. Other writing genres are and will be available on the day of your J.C. exam, in Section II, but in my experience as an examiner and teacher, a really well written short story is often the hallmark of an A candidate.

Please find below the outline of a story arc. The great thing about short story writing is that there are no real rules. Will your characters have super powers? Does your story begin in 2013 and end in 2213? Does it take place at your local GAA pitch or a moon of Jupiter? The creative possibilities are literally endless. However, short stories do generally have certain features. In my third year class this year we used the story arc below to help create and frame our stories. We also created some Puppet Pals animated videos to help practice creating features like problem-complication-resolution. We hope it might help a little with J.C. 2013 reaching its climax soon!

View the Story Arc as a guide, not a set of rules.
(Click the image for a better view or right click the image, press save as, then print the picture out for your revision notes if you wish)

Aliens vs People