One of the first things I noticed when I walked into the high school’s speech language room was the bulletin board. It wasn’t just the bright colors that caught my eye, but the writing on the wall. As a writer, the words made me want to sit down and answer each question with my current work in progress in mind. My only regret was that I couldn’t drop everything and start scribbling, as this was my first day on the job and I was hired well after the first day of school.
The words came from Step Up to Writing by Maureen E. Auman. Auman spent years trying to teach students reading and writing and ended up teaching other teachers what she’d learned over the years. Many high school students have trouble writing anything more than a few paragraphs and her methods are basic, practical, and helpful instruction on writing assignments, assessments, and everyday writing tasks. The end result is to help all students meet or exceed state standards in reading and writing.
The following questions are on the bulletin board. Perhaps you will find the questions inspiring as well. See if you can resist picking up a pencil or typing the information in. Do one for each character.
WHO is the story about?
WHERE and WHEN does your story take place?
WHAT happened to the character?
WHAT are the character’s feelings about what happened?
WHAT does the character want to do?
WHAT does the character do?
HOW does the character solve the problem?
To begin with/first
WHAT happened as a result of the action?
HOW does the character feel about the consequences?