Sunday, November 24, 2013

English Unit 3: Science Fiction Short Stories

My son had finished the first draft of his own science fiction story, so we took a few weeks to read and study three classic stories. Two were by Isaac Asimov: Nightfall and The Little Lost Robot. He also read Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder. He filled out a chart with a story in each column and answers to these questions in the rows:

  1. Story
  2. Author
  3. Date
  4. Location - Setting, Time, Place
  5. Main characters - Name: role, traits
  6. Plot – Problem, Building action, Climax, Resolution, Consequences
  7. What might the characters do next if the story continues?
  8. Theme(s)
  9. Quotable Quotes 1 - Any memorable quote
  10. Quotable Quotes 2 - Statements that start with but or however
  11. Similar to…(A personal experience or another story)
  12. Evaluate this story - Did you like it? Would you recommend it? Explain.
By putting his answers into a chart side-by-side, he was able to compare the structure and elements of the stories. It also helped him easily see things he wanted to change about his own story. The biggest surprise to both of us was how important a quote with the word “but” could be. Those were the points that the direction of the story changed – when the enviable plot twist was revealed. Who knew one word could be so powerful.

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