STORY FRAMES is a twelve-step story analysis method that I created based upon my experiences as both an author of fiction and a speech-language pathologist (SLP) working with struggling students in the public schools in grades K-12. As I observed the difficulties my students faced with reading, writing, and understanding stories, I set out to create a narrative analysis method that would bring stories to life and provide young people with tools to create exciting tales of their own.
Creative writing courses along with numerous books on the subject of story plotting for authors and screenwriters gave me the inspiration to combine the way teachers look at story structure with the way that professional writers plot their stories. Reading teachers and SLPs frequently use the Story Grammar elements outlined by Stein and Glenn (1979) to teach story structure to students:
2. Initiating Event
3. Internal Response
English Teachers tend to draw upon tools such as Freytag's Pyramid:
The STORY FRAMES method is broken down into twelve basic elements or Story Frames based on the Hero's Journey as originally discussed by Joseph Campbell in The Hero With A Thousand Faces and later adapted for screenwriters and novelists by Christopher Vogler in The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers (Now in its 25th year). Other books on story plotting that influenced STORY FRAMES are found at the end of this post. I use the term "Hero's" Journey loosely. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and their adventures don’t have to be epic odysseys to be life-changing. Stories do not necessarily contain all of the components outlined, and they don’t always occur in the order given below. In longer stories, many of the elements are repeated. The purpose of this analysis is to help students and other writers to recognize what is going on in stories and to begin to think like authors.
The twelve elements of STORY FRAMES include:
1. Ordinary World
2. Call and Response
3. Mentors, Guides, and Gifts
5. New World
6. Problems, Prizes, and Plans
7. Midpoint Attempt
9. Chase and Escape
10. Death and Transformation
11. Climax: The Final Test
12. Final Reward
To find out more about my story analysis method, visit the STORY FRAMES tab on this blog. Check out my fiction novels HERE.
There are many excellent books that have influenced my plotting techniques. For further reading I recommend:
2. Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
3. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee
4. Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc by Dara Marks
5. First Draft in 30 Days: A Novel Writer's System for Building A Complete and Cohesive Manuscript by Karen S. Wiesner
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