How to Teach Creative Writing - Fiction Syllabus, Lesson 6: Plot Structure (Continued)

How to teach creative writing using this fiction course syllabus: on this page, you'll find Lesson 6 of our creative writing course in fiction writing. Click here to go back to Lesson 1.

You can use the whole syllabus in order, or you can choose specific lessons and exercises from it to use in your own classrooms. If your students are at an age and level where a workshop format would be appropriate, you might decide to combine these lessons with carefully moderated critiques.

All reading assignments used in these lessons are from A Relative Stranger by Charles Baxter.

Creative writing Lesson Plans - 6: Plot structure (continued).

Reading: "Shelter" by Charles Baxter.

Discussion topic: In the story "Shelter," what is the disagreement between Cooper and his wife?

  • What kind of person is Cooper? What kind of person is Cooper's wife? How do differences between these two characters create a conflict in this story?

  • What is the story's climactic event? How does it change Cooper's perspective at the end?

In-class activity: students work in pairs with the character profile they have written as a previous assignment. They look at their partners' character profiles and discuss what types of life problems would be particularly challenging for each character. How could these characters and problems be turned into a story? They brainstorm together.

Homework: Students write a scene in which one of the characters they have profiled encounters a major challenge.

View more lesson plans:

Click here to go to Lesson 7 (topic: narrative viewpoint)

Click here for a complete list of lessons on the How to Teach Creative Writing page.

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