ZIP DoL #2


What is a specific source of information that you have found valuable in answering your inquiry question? How has it proved valuable? Explain.

How to develop a story: 10 steps to a winning plot

This article on the website ‘nownovel’ has been very helpful in my research because it gives a ten-step process for my ZIP question, ‘How does one make a good story plan?’.

Step 1: Study effective examples of plot development
Step 2: Use a plotting process that will shape your story
Step 3: Create a timeline of your novel’s plot events
Step 4: Make characters develop in intriguing ways
Step 5: Make each of the ‘5 W’s’ change
Step 6: Use index cards to storyboard
Step 7: Learn how to develop a story using subplots
Step 8: Incorporate character-driven and action-driven story elements
Step 9: Ask yourself important questions about story development
Step 10: Get helpful feedback on your story arc from other writers

The steps are explained in a detailed manner, and shows that the author of the article is very knowledgeable in this area of writing. Each step focuses on the information it is trying to teach, and doesn’t stray from the topic. Some steps even include a link to another article that goes into more depth about the information relayed in that topic. This information is directly connected to my inquiry question, ‘How does one make a good story plan?’

The article has proven to be very useful, and the website it is on includes many interesting articles on writing and how your writing can be improved. Images are properly used when they are needed to explain and show what the article is trying to convey. For example, Step 5 included a very helpful chart in planning a story, and Step 6 used a template to allow viewers to easily understand and use the information given.

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PTI – Most Significant Conflict

The most significant conflict that Junior faces in Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is the overwhelming loss and depression. Junior loses his dog, his grandmother, his father’s friend Eugene, and his sister. Junior is hit by multiple deaths in rapid succession, leading Junior to states of depression, including to thoughts such as, “I could have easily killed myself, killed my mother and father, killed the birds, killed the trees, and killed to the oxygen in the air. More than anything, I wanted to kill God. I was joyless” (173). This quote shows how Junior has given up, and how close he is to ending his misery.

The loss of his grandmother was extremely tough on Junior because she was such a huge impact on Junior’s hope, being one of the only Indians to respect Junior’s decision to leave the reservation. The loss of Eugene hit Junior a lot harder because of how soon it was after his grandmother’s death and how his parents reacted; “My father went on a legendary drinking binge. My mother went to church every single day. It was all booze and God, booze and God, booze and God. We’d lost my grandmother and Eugene. How much loss were we supposed to endure? I felt hopeless and stupid” (171). Junior hadn’t had enough time to grief for his grandmother before Eugene was killed, and that causes him to become extremely depressed. Junior blames himself for the deaths, thinking “I had cursed my family” (172). If it hadn’t been for Junior’s social studies classmate’s protest to a teacher that was mocking Junior because his family was “living inside a grief storm” and Junior’s realization that there are things in his life that give him small bits of joy, Junior would have shriveled from depression, quit going the Rearden, and might have even ended his life.

Losing his sister made Junior snap emotionally, with outbursts of insane laughter and craziness. The stress of so many losses, combined with the depression-induced thoughts of “I had killed my sister. […] It was all my fault” causes Junior to have grievous breakdown (211). He struggles with the weight of so many deaths in such rapid succession, falling back into a state of depression that lifts when he realizes that everyone at Reardan cares about him, and that he belongs to many tribes of people of every gender and race. This realization that he still connects to the world and that his decision to go to Reardan didn’t curse his family and kill his grandmother, Eugene, and his sister takes Junior out of his depression into a happier and safer life. Depression from loss could have caused Junior to quit Reardan, quit caring, quit cartooning, and quit in life, but Junior didn’t let that happen. Instead, he uses the realizations that people care about him and he connects to the world to give himself new hope, and thinks, “And that’s when I knew I was going to be okay”, curing his depression (217).

ZIP DoL #1

What new questions have come up in your inquiry? Will you include these in your final presentation or might they be saved for future research or assignments? Do these questions help narrow your focus or do they distract you from your original proposal?

As a passionate writer and aspiring author, I love learning about writing and story knowledge. My original question, ‘How does one make a good story plan?’ has led to many interesting questions that I would love to explore. However, I would leave these questions for a future date because they are too broad or too narrow/off topic to include in my inquiry.

  • How do you make a relatable and ‘3D’ character?/What makes a good character?
  • What is the relationship between a main character and how a story is viewed by readers?
  • Why are male main characters more prominent in fiction, especially fantasy, than female main characters
  • What makes a good setting?
  • How and why does a character impact setting?/How and why does a setting impact a character?
  • How do you come up with a good plot?/What makes a good plot?
  • What makes a story popular among readers
  • Why does writing impact readers?
  • Why and how do characters impact readers?

Some of these questions came from prior experience and when choosing a topic for ZIP. Other questions arose when I found some writing websites that including articles on my topic and on other writing tips, tricks, and topics that interest me. There are many questions about writing, and only one can be the main focus of my inquiry. If I don’t keep my inquiry focused and narrowed on ‘How does one make a good story plan?’, then I will end up with a project that is too broad and not in-depth because of the amount of time we have for ZIP. Staying focused on one question will help keep me organized, and will allow that question I have chosen to be research with full concentration and will result in more knowledge that I can share with my class.

How to be a REAL Success

How to be a REAL Success connects to my experience in TALONS so far because it focuses on how a individual develops skills they can use in social situations. In a similar way, TALONS uses that autonomous learning model to prepare individuals for the future in areas such as social skills. TALONS equips students with knowledge, tools, and skills they can use to multiply the lives of others and themselves, and teaches group building skills nearly identical to the practice of relationships and team building️. Leadership is a key component in both TALONS and REAL Success, incorporating the ideas of goal setting and the autonomous learning model. In fact, TALONS encourages students to teach and equip other students in areas of knowledge and skill they might not be familiar in. I have participated in many leadership and student-teaching projects in TALONS, and have equipped my fellow students through projects such as Eminent and Learning Activities. Likewise, my classmates have equipped and taught me many things, including things from Eminent, presentations, class discussions, and debates.

ZIP Proposal

How does one make a good story plan?

As a writer and aspiring author, I want to learn how to make an organized story plan to help improve my novel writing and planning skills. I want to know how to create a story plan for a series of multiple books, and how to organize a story plan so the plot is solid, thought out, and planned without plot holes.

I have some prior knowledge on the topic, but I want to know some new and different strategies and tools that I can use for story mapping and writing. I already understand the idea of ‘beginning, middle, and end’, and the ideas of climax, rising action, and other writing context. While I have found a very helpful story planner app, I would like to learn deeper into how to use the app, what makes a good story plan, and some other tools I can use to broaden my knowledge.

By the end of this project I hope to have a more complex understanding of story mapping and organizational planning, as well as have an arsenal of writing tools and tricks I can use to improve my writing, specifically for longer and more complex stories and novels.

I hope that I can approach Mr. Morris if I need support or help with my research, as he is an excellent English teacher and has a deep understanding of writing and how it works. I can also ask my classmates if they have any prior experience with story planning that they would be willing to share with me.

Some other resources that might be helpful in my inquiry are websites such as ‘The Write Practice’ that focus on teaching authors and writers skills that they can use in their writing. Checking out books on writing and writing tools from local and school libraries might also come in handy, if I can find good, reliable books.

I am planning on teaching a lesson on story planning to the class, using an example I made from my knowledge and having the students make story plans based on writing prompts I have come up with (if they have an idea already, they can choose to use that instead).

Wednesday December 6: Post ZIP Proposal
Friday December 8: Research sources for inquiry (books in libraries, websites, etc.)
Monday December 11: Read those sources and gain new knowledge
Friday December 15: Finish Personal research and start on personal story plan
Monday December 18: Continue writing story plan & Think about lesson
Friday December 22: Finish story planning and plan lesson [If lessons are after Winter Break, perform lesson after break. If lessons are before Winter Break, then start planning earlier and perform before the break]