Creative Outline for Your Short Story or Book

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Grade Level
Middle School
Reading & Writing
Length of Time
1 hour

This is a lesson on writing an outline for a short story or book idea that students would like to write. Students will also write a short story.


Students will learn:

*To write an outline

*To write a short story or book

Materials Needed


*Pens or pencils

*Story Outline Format


First, you will give discuss the information presented below. This is an outline for a short story or book.

After you present this information, you can copy it and give each student a sheet for their use in writing their own outline.

Then, the students will begin writing their short story.

After they have completed their short story, they need to edit it and revise it before then turn it in to be graded.

This is a creative idea for keeping track of your characters, settings, or plots.


It is important to make an outline of your characters so you will know the characters and can make them realistic.

First, you will draw a circle in the middle of your paper. Then, you will draw smaller circles around the middle circle and lines connecting the smaller circles to the middle circle.

In the center circle, you can write your main character's name. In the outer circles, you can write physical description, age, where the character lives (apartment, house, country, city, etc.), personality, school (how much education), occupation, and other information. This information reveals the characteristics that you need to remember about your main character. You can do this for each character.


You can also do this activity for settings. You can write the main setting in the center circle. This should be like a city, town, country, hospital, school, or wherever your story will take place.

Then, you can write the description of the setting in each of the outer circles that you make.

For example, you could have the name of the city in the middle circle. In the outer circles you could write, size of the city, races, buildings, parks, lakes, main stores, athletic teams, schools, or other information. These outer circles need to contain information that you need in order to write your settings.

You also might want to write the main character's house in the middle and different information about the house in the outer circles. This will help you keep track of specific places in the city, town, or country.

You can also make a list of other important information that you would like to remember about settings.


Plots are also important to outline. You can write the word "beginning" in the center circle. Then, in the outer circles, you can write down important facts you want to include in the beginning part of your short story. You can also do the same thing for the middle section and the ending. That way, your short story will be organized, and you won't forget something important.

If you want to write a book, you can do this by chapters. You can put chapter one in the center circle and the main points in the outer circles. This will help you keep track of the order you want to develop your story.

You will need this kind of outline for each character, setting, or plot. Then, when you have your characters, settings, and plots outlined, you will be able to organize your writing and won't forget something important. Once you start with this type of outline, then you can do a more advanced outline or synopsis of each chapter.


You can grade your students on their outline, and their final short story.

Grade on the following:

Outline format, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, paragraph structure, development of settings, characters, and plot.

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