This year mine students room coming up through their most complicated characters yet, and I understand it’s because of the creative prewriting activities we did. Bonus – my students really appreciated the activities!

What Inspires Authors?

I begin my unit through looking in ~ what has inspired some influential YA authors. Us look in ~ Laurie Halse Anderson, Kwame Alexander, Angie Thomas, and also Rainbow Rowell.

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Laurie’s incentive for Melinda in Speak came with a dream the a girl crying. She eventually figured out what was hurting the girl and also what her name was. Similarly, I provide the students a prompt whereby they have just had actually a dream about an unknown teenage boy running v the woods. The students climate brainstorm what this person’s surname is, what they are running from, and also how it’s making the character feel.

For Kwame Alexander’s, he explained how he experienced the song title “Filthy McNasty” and also he just knew that was a nickname because that a personality he would create. Because that this instance I provide students various nicknames and also ask them to brainstorm a character based just on the nickname given. Castle come up v the craziest backstories off simply one word!


I originally wanted to have actually students move through train station in groups, however in the finish it just wasn’t working. Students were many successful when offered the flexibility to decide exactly how they would job-related their means through the stations. Some began with the head, while rather went ideal for the eyes. It resolved best once I wasn’t trying to manage the process.

Once your heads and also faces are assembled (complete with drawn in hair and also shirts) I have students fill the end an about Me page based upon their character. They need to understand who their character is before they begin writing the end their adventures.


These mini journals encompass various prompts to help get the college student thinking around the specifying moments in your character’s lives. Entries such together “What is your character’s the happiest memory?” and “Describe a fight her character has had actually with family” all help to know the occasions that aid to form complicated characters.

As an arrival to this activity I incorporate quick mentor text examples of flashbacks in novels. An example is in Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson; the key character, Tyler, has a volatile relationship with his father, but there’s additionally a rapid vivid memory of him together a young boy pretending come shave with his father. The a touching minute that help to know the intricacy of your relationship and also of every character.

Plot Diagram

At this allude the student truly recognize their characters and are prepared to begin outlining your story. Most plot diagrams you find online will probably do just fine. Depending on the grade she teaching, you might or might not need to reiterate with your students what the different aspects of the story are. Mine students could use a refresher, and also it’s obtaining close come Halloween, so us watched a quick Simpsons clip to model the plot diagram. I showed “Hungry are the Damned” (about 8-10 minutes total) and stopped to talk about the different parts together we went.

After the the students start crafting your stories. Yes plenty more that goes right into the actual writing of the stories, yet I’ll save that for one more post. This one is currently a little bit lengthy.

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Want mine stuff? inspect out my save for mine author’s impetus presentation, character structure station work, and also character journals.