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The Seven Sentence Story – Creative Writing for Everyone

Creative writing can inspire new vocabulary production and enjoyable language practice for learners of all ages and levels.

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An search engine will reveal a number of seven sentence story forms, but I’ve found many of them to be too vague or confusing to be effective. I developed this one, to be easy for teachers to use. Students can successfully complete the exercise in this simple form, but the teacher can also use it as an opening to discussion for more advanced writing activities.

I’ve used this version of the Seven Sentence Story many times, with children, graduate students, and faculty. Every audience has enjoyed it.

Because the structure of this story reflects plot development in much genre fiction, it can lead to more in-depth analysis of authentic texts. It provides a strong start to a class on scene development or to further development of a full length story. It’s a good beginning to a “writing for teachers” workshop because it gives teachers a task they can do with their students, but then allows them to take it further in their own writing.

The sentence structure is below but if you’d like some visual aids, there’s a nice video of a sample story and a PowerPoint template your students can use on VidyaBLOG.
The Seven Sentences are
1) Sentence One: Setting
One sentence that tells who, what, when, where we are when the story opens. It introduces our character and tells the reader what’s “normal.”
2) Sentence Two: Something happens…
The “But, one day…” sentence when something suddenly happens to change the norm.
3) Sentence Three: …causing a problem.
The sentence that shows that the change presents a BIG problem for our character.
4) Sentence Four: Attempt to Solve the Problem
The sentence where our character attempts to solve the problem in the expected way but only makes the problem worse.
5) Sentence Five: Attempt to Solve the Problem
The sentence where our character uses the worst to attempt to solve the problem again.
6) Sentence Six: Attempt to Solve the Problem Succeeds
The sentence where our character’s attempt solves the problem in an unexpected way.
7) Sentence Seven: Conclusion
The sentence where our story concludes with a new setting that shows the change that has occurred as a result of the story.

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