• Teaching the concept of PLOT to beginning writers can be tough!  There are several literary patterns that appear in literature (and movies) that can be highlighted to students to make their understanding of how plot unfolds a little bit easier.

    For example, there is something we can refer to as the "Home is Best" pattern.  This pattern appears in so many familiar stories - from The Lion King to The Wizard Of Oz.

    The pattern follows these criteria (you can add or alter them to some degree if you wish!):

    1. A small, possibly defenseless character.
    2. The character leaves home.
    3. Character goes out into the world or beyond.
    4. It becomes dangerous.
    5. The character is captured or in harm's way.
    6. The character becomes lonely or homesick.
    7. The character meets a friend.
    8. The friend helps the character.
    9. The character goes home.
    10. The character realizes home is best!

    Think about how many times you have had young writers write and write and write, never knowing how or when or where to end a story.  Teaching them about this literary pattern highlights what plot really is and helps writers recognize it as they read.  Ultimately, the best thing it does is help writers compose and craft a story that has a strong beginning, middle, and, the often elusive, ending.


    Below is an unedited first draft story written by Sara Kernan. See if you can notice the literary pattern "Home is Best" as a thread throughout.  She wrote it after learning the pattern.


    More to come!!


                Home is Best

    Once there was a small, but fat turkey that could talk.  His name was Bob.  He lived in a farm.  He always wanted to go out and explore the world.  So one day Bob left home to go explore the world.  He thought it was going to be a dangerous place.  When he got out of the farm he tried to get through the gate.  When he did get through the fence he went out to the real world.  When went across the street a stranger captured Bob.  Bob said what are you doing with me?  The man said I am taking you home with me to eat for Thanksgiving.  The man put Bob in his truck.  When he got to his house he already had another turkey in his basement.  After a few hours both turkeys became friends.  Bob helped the other turkey get out.  The other turkey tried to help him, but he couldn’t  because the window was to high.  Soon Bob got lonely because nobody was there to keep him company.  The day after that it was Thanksgiving and just before the man went to get Bob guess what?  Bob wasn’t there he escaped.  Do you want to know how Bob escaped?  There was a window at the top.  Do you remember how Bob couldn’t get out because he was to small well he used a stool  and got out.  He was so happy when he got out.  He was running down the street to get home and when he did he was never leaving his home again.


    THE END!!            By: Sara Kernan