STORY FRAMES is a twelve-step story analysis I created that is inspired by The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler and various other books on story plotting for professional writers (See my blog post about How Screenwriting and Novel Writing Strategies Influenced Story Frames). I use the Story Frames method to create my novels and to teach writing to kids of all ages as well as adults. My method is broken down into twelve basic elements or Story Frames. Stories don’t necessarily contain all of the components, and they don’t always occur in the order given here. In longer stories, many of the elements are repeated. The twelve basic elements are below:

1. Ordinary World
2. Call and Response
3. Mentors, Guides, and Gifts
4. Crossing
5. New World
6. Problems, Prizes, and Plans
7. Midpoint Attempt
8. Downtime
9. Chase and Escape
10. Death and Transformation
11. Climax: The Final Test
12. Final Reward

Watch my interview with another Story Frames contributing author and parent advocate, Mary Jo O'Neill, as she talks about her chapter, "Advocating for Students: The Family Story."

Watch the author panel where three New Mexico children's authors and I discuss Tips for Getting the Most out of Summer Reading and download the free PDF.

To receive ongoing information about STORY FRAMES along with articles about writing and FREE activities to share with students, SIGN UP for my newsletter. When you do, you will receive a FREE fill-in-the-blank story building PDF based on activities in Story Frames for Teaching Literacy.

"I used the Story Ad Lib activity with a student of mine who has dyslexia and dysgraphia. She loved it so much that she asked to do it again the next time I see her! Using the story framework, my student was able to create a much more interesting and well-organized narrative than she would have without that level of scaffolding. She read the entire story aloud at the end, and said, “Wow! I wrote that?!” This activity brought together so many aspects of language instruction at once! It stirred up discussions about parts of speech, picking strong and descriptive words that paint a picture in the reader’s mind, and keeping track of the elements of the story to make sure all of the pieces of the framework are working together to tell a coherent story from start to finish. This required my student to re-read and revise her story as she was writing and do so again at the end. This framework also allowed my student the confidence to write more as she spontaneously added her own full sentences within the Story Ad Lib framework to create a richer and more developed narrative."

Ellen Cieszkiewicz Rigg, M.A. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Language and Literacy Specialists LLC


"Story Frames offers students a concrete and fun way to create stories. Using visual supports and the basic building blocks of stories, it makes it possible for all children to create stories others will enjoy reading." - Steve Graham, Ed.D., Regents and Warner Professor of Educational Leadership and Innovation, Arizona State University

"Provides insight into how to teach narrative structure in a straightforward manner, making story elements concrete for students. This is the instructional support all teachers have been waiting for!"- Darcy Dycha, M.Ed., Senior Project Manager, Children's Learning Institute

"I used this text with my university students to illustrate story structure as well as highlight the most important elements of a hero’s journey" - J.C. Cervantes, a former university instructor in children's literature and author of the best selling Storm Runner series.

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