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The Seven Steps are the building blocks to great writing. They break down writing into simple chunks, so students aren’t overwhelmed by writing a whole piece straight away. Instead, they gain confidence with each Step they learn, to become creative and engaging writers. Eventually they will learn how to put it all together and write complete texts independently.
The Seven Steps
- Step 1: Plan for Success
- Step 2: Sizzling Starts
- Step 3: Tightening Tension
- Step 4: Dynamic Dialogue
- Step 5: Show, Don’t Tell
- Step 6: Ban the Boring
- Step 7: Exciting Endings/Ending with Impact
Step 1: Plan for Success
How many times have you asked your students to plan their work – without success? One of the biggest hurdles is to show students that thinking is an essential part of writing.
To be original, you need to have LOTS of ideas, so brainstorm and practise generating ideas often.
Step 2: Sizzling Starts
Do you see the same old starts over and over again? ‘One day … Once upon a time … I think that … In my opinion …’ Teach students how to start at the moment of change, to immediately grab the reader’s attention.
Start where the action is. Not at the beginning of the day, when nothing is happening. Begin when the volcano starts oozing lava or as you walk onstage for the talent competition.
Step 3: Tightening Tension
Tension and drama brings narrative writing to life. The reader must believe the protagonist will fail: the tornado is too strong, the villain is too evil, the black forces of depression are too overwhelming. Yet, through strength, talent and determination, somehow our main character triumphs in the end.
To persuade or inform a reader, don’t just run through your main arguments or list the facts. You need to build up momentum. Start strong, but save your best arguments and strongest messages for further into your writing.
Step 4: Dynamic Dialogue
Think of dialogue as a mini play within the story. Let your characters walk, talk and even stalk – that’s how we get to know them.
Step 5: Show, Don’t Tell
If I tell you I am generous, do you believe me? No way. But if I buy all of your raffle tickets to help cancer research, are you more convinced? Use your characters’ actions to show the reader what they’re really like.
Step 6: Ban the Boring
Everyone gets up, gets dressed, travels to school. It’s not exactly exciting. So why write about it? Ban all mention of the boring ‘B’ words: bed, breakfast and bus trips. Think like the movies: movie characters never travel, they just arrive.
Show your students how to review their work to make sure every sentence is engaging and important to their writing.
Step 7: Exciting Endings/Endings with Impact
Would you tell a joke without knowing the punchline? If you want to build to a big climax you have to know where you are heading
Let’s banish rushed endings, or the all-too common ‘It was all a dream’.
A call to action, a plot twist, a crucial question: find the most impactful way to end your piece. This way, you’ll leave a lasting impression on your reader.