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“The Four Sentence Story Summary for Creative Writers”
That’s up to you, I’m just the person helping through the process……Ok, Ok, I’m kidding. Now your students or friends have come up with a message to send to the world.
Now we have an issue, a message to send to the world. Now we have to package that message. We have to sell, that’s right, sell the message to the reader.
Think about the movies you’ve seen, and the books you’ve read. If you get bored, if you don’t understand what’s going on, or if you aren’t “moved” by their message, then the people or persons that put it together didn’t do a good sales job. You want people to finish your book and say, “that’s right, that’s right, I’m going to change my life today.”
Ok, let’s get on with our message before I start babbleling again. We are now going to create four sentences that will help us write our story. These four sentences will be our guide to everything that happens in our story. Let’s look at an example,,,,,,,,,,,E.T.
Every body has seen E.T., Every body… Here is the (my) four sentence summary for E.T.;
1. An alien falls to our planet.
2. It makes friends with a boy and his family.
3. The government finds out about the alien and tries to take him away.
4. The boy and his family help the alien get back to his planet.
The Writers of E.T.?
What message were they trying to convey? I haven’t talked to the writer and I really don’t know what they were trying to do, but in my mind, the message was, “Love” or “Friendship.” Stop here and think about that (sometimes we read to much and don’t think enough).
What does love or friendship have to do with an alien that likes to drink Pepsi. What does love have to do with a boy that lives in Southern California. The people that made up this story were very creative in making people cry about the love that E.T. had for the boy and his friends.
It makes me cry just thinking about it.
What am I trying to say? Your message is one thing, but how you “sell” your message, or get it across to the reader can be very creative. Think about that. Here we go.
Remember, keep it simple.
Go to the chalk board again and ask your students or friends, “How will we get our message across, what will it be about?” Give them the E.T. example to start out with, then let them state their ideas in four sentences. Something like this;
- 1. A boy was a bully.
- 2. Nobody liked him, but he always got his way.
- 3. One day he was bullied (sp), and he found out that being a bully was a bad thing.
- 4. He decided not to be a bully anymore.
There you go. Sounds simple and stupid doesn’t it? Do you think you could make a movie or a book out of that. Four sentences turned into 90 minutes of film, or a 32 page color, children’s picture book.
Use the chalk board and let person after person give their four sentence story summaries. Have someone take notes just in case you run out of room. Once you have lots of ideas, look at all of the ideas and ask the class,”What ideas do you like?” Think about what we just said. We didn’t say, “What ideas don’t you like?” We don’t like negative vibes floating around. Keep things positive.
Hopefully what you’ll find is that different story lines compliment on another. Sentence 3 from Suzy fits well with Sentence 2 from Johnny and Sentence 4 from Joe goes well with Sentence 1 from Ethel (what a name, Ethel). You get the drift. Talk about it with the classroom, move ideas around and come up with four sentences that you can work with.
The Writer´s Dream, Time
If you’re not under a time crunch, use it, use Time that is. Write down your four sentences in a place that the whole class can see them all day, every day. Let them know that tomorrow, next week, next month, this afternoon, we’re going to look at these four sentences again and rewrite them. Let them know that this is how you come up with good stuff. Tell them to think about the ideas that were floating around when you came up with the four sentences. Ask them to think about how they can refine the summary to make it even better.
Set a time, and rewrite the summary going through the same process covered above.
That’s it for now. Come back in a few days and we’ll have more stuff for you. Next, we’re going to talk about creating characters. If anyone in the world is reading this stuff, I just want to let you know that the goal is to have fun with writing.