Write a Character-Driven Story

Assignment

Write a character-driven story.
  • Your story should be two to three pages in length.
  • Use one-inch margins and a 12-point font.

Tips for Success

Come up with characters.
You will need to create at least two main characters for this exercise.
Come up with a situation and conflict.
Some situations are more interesting than others. For example, would you be more interested in watching a movie about two people digging a ditch or about two people trapped at the bottom of a well? Your conflict should be related in some way to your situation.
Write your story: introduce the characters, situation, and conflict.
For this activity, write from the omniscient perspective. Omniscient means “all-seeing.” An omniscient narrator “sees” everything. This narrator tells not only about the external events of a story, but also about the characters’ histories and about what’s going on in the characters’ heads. Omniscient narrators explore what characters think, remember, and dream. Omniscient narrators are also generally third-person narrators. They are not characters that participate in the story being told.
Briefly introduce each of your characters to the reader. You can start with just a few details — perhaps a physical description of each. You can reveal more about your characters as the story progresses.
Next, describe the situation. Here are a few suggestions of the kinds of situations you might want to write about:
  • One character is interviewing the other for a job.
  • A character is lost in an abandoned factory. There are some strange noises — maybe attack dogs?
  • The two characters are playing one-on-one basketball. The winner gets the other player’s shoes.
  • A character is sneaking into a movie theater without paying. The second character is the theater manager.
Write your story: develop the plot.
Here’s the fun part.
In a character-driven story, developing the plot means revealing your characters through their reactions to the situation and to each other. It also means introducing the conflict and showing how each character responds.
You will probably want to use dialogue to show what your characters are saying to one another.
Write your story: craft your resolution, and show how your character changes.
How does your story end? The key to crafting a believable and satisfying resolution is to pay attention to what the characters would or would not do.
Remember to show a change in one of your characters. This change should be related to your resolution. Here are a few examples of changes you could write about:
  • The character reevaluates his or her goals.
  • The character learns something important about herself or himself.
  • The character changes his or her mind about a strongly held belief.

Self-Assessment Checklist

Read each question and evaluate your short response. If the answer to the question is yes, check the box to the left. If the answer is no, go back and revise your work. Your teacher will use these same guiding questions to score your short response.

Quality of Ideas

Did I demonstrate an understanding of the assignment by:
  Creating two strong believable characters?
  Building a plot that is driven by these characters and resolving the plot in a believable manner?
  Demonstrating change in at least one of the characters over the course of the story?
Did I demonstrate the ability to think creatively by:
  Using my language or ideas in a creative way?
Did I demonstrate the ability to use correct narrative structure by:
  Following the plot structure (exposition, rising action , climax, falling action, resolution)?
Did I demonstrate the ability to use literary devices by:
  Using vivid description to introduce the characters?
  Using foreshadowing or irony to add to the story’s appeal?
Did I demonstrate the ability to organize my writing by:
  Using transitions?
  Ordering ideas logically?

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Form and Presentation

  Did I follow presentation requirements (12-point font, standard margins, length requirements)?
  Did I properly cite all quotations?

Style

  Did I use a variety of sentence types (simple, compound, and complex)?
  Did I avoid run-on sentences and fragments?
  Did I check for spelling and grammar errors?
  Did I use an appropriate tone?

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