Setting the Story: Techniques for Creating a Realistic Setting

“It was a dark and stormy night.” Thus begins the 1830's novel Paul Clifford and, of course, all of Snoopy’s novels! Encourage young writers to craft settings for their stories that go beyond Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s often-mocked phrase with a series of exercises. Additional examples of great introductory settings can be found in the paperback series It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. 

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Consider having class members check out the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest that awards prizes for the worst beginnings  
Classroom Considerations

  • While the link to the video is broken, the remainder of the materials in the resource are well worth checking out
Pros

  • The resource includes carefully scaffolded activities, models, and worksheets
Cons

  • None
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