Super Easy Storytelling  for kids formula, Step 3


Welcome to Storytelling Step 3. If you are here, you've already reviewed our storytelling formula and chosen a story starter (Who + What + Why Not), and you've already described your main character. If not, return to Storytelling Step 1- Choose your story starter or Storytelling Step 2- Describe your character.


Creating an exciting story

Super Easy Storytelling Formula - PlotSuper Easy Storytelling Formula - Plot

In the last storytelling step, you began the story by introducing your main character and setting the tone for the story. But a good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end--and the middle is where all the action is. The storyteller adds obstacles and the action rises. You throw in some twists and turns to keep the audience enthralled, and then the action falls as your main character finds resolution, which is "the end" of the story. If you stick with our super easy storytelling formula, it's easy to add some action.

The secret to action is focusing on "What" and "Why not":
Look at your "What + Why Not" from your story starter formula-- what does your story character want and why can't he get it? Your action is how he goes about overcoming the Why Not.

To keep your story going, just keep adding obstacles (more Why Nots) until you are ready to be done. Then your character finds some resolution to what he wants, and you wrap it up. It's that simple.


How to put it all together

Let's look at an example of how you can add action to your story using your What and Why Not.

Sample story prompt for kids using our super easy storytelling formula

A hippo wants to be a ballerina, but she doesn't know how.

How could she learn? She could go to ballet school, watch You Tube videos, or set up a studio in her cage at the zoo and go all Flashdance.

Once you know how she'll learn-- Is it easy for her? Does she struggle? What does it look like, sound like, smell like, feel like while she's learning?

Next, to find resolution, she'll need an audience to perform for. How can she show off her dance moves? She could plan out a suprise performance for the unwitting zoo patrons, or set up a You Tube channel and be The Next Big Thing. Eventually she'll have the whole package, perform it for adoring fans and find resolution. The End.

Remember, if you are storytelling with children, your story doesn't have to be the great American novel. Your story just needs to be fun. And the more you ask the kids for input as you tell the story, the more fun they'll have.

If you need some ideas for more plot twists, revisit the “Why not?” column in our story prompts page. As your character overcomes one obstacle, throw another in his path.

Also try the vibrant verbs list to get ideas on how to make the action more specific and more exciting.

Story Example- The Rockstar Lizard

In the last step, we introduced our story character. Now let's add some action.

Who + What + Why Not =
A Lizard + Wants to be a rockstar + But he can't sing.

  • Easy Version
  • Advanced Version

{Add character detail and set up the story} Once there was a little green lizard who really, really wanted to be a rockstar. He had the long flowing hair and the super cool dance moves, but he couldn’t even sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” without the other lizards covering their ears and begging him to stop. He needed to learn how to sing. So…

{Add action} One day, our adventurous lizard heard about a magic pool at the top of Rockopolis Mountain. If he could get to it, he could drink the water and become a great singer. So he put on some hiking shoes and grabbed a backpack and a snack and set out for the top of Rockopolis Mountain. He climbed all day and finally he could see the top of the mountain.

{Add a twist of rising action} But just then, he learned why it’s called Rockopolis Mountain. It started rocking and rolling, bumping and shaking, and it nearly shook our little lizard clear off the mountain. Lizard grabbed a tree and held on for dear life. Leaves dropped on his head. Rocks rolled down around him. He was so sure he would lose his grip and go tumbling down, down, down.

{Add a falling action} Then as fast as it started, the shaking stopped. The leaves settled. Lizard’s feet stood steady on the ground. As soon as he was still, he took off running. He was going to reach the top before anymore shaking started. Just a few more steps and finally, he reached the pool and took a great big gulp of magic water. He opened his mouth to test the results.

{Add resolution} Out came the most beautiful singing he’d ever heard. He’d done it! So he set off down the mountain, singing a happy tune all the way while he dreamed of his next step toward becoming a rockstar.

{Add character detail and set up the story} A tall, florescent green lizard stood admiring his shimmering form in the mirror. Running his bulbous fingers through is wild, blue hair he popped himself into a dance pose he was sure would get the audience screaming. He was born to be a rockstar-- with one teensy problem. The only thing making people scream was his awful singing. When Lizard (he pronounced is Liz- arggh, kind of like a pirate), opened his mouth, the noise that came out had people screaming for him to stop. If he was going to be the rockstar he knew he was born to be, he needed to learn how to sing.

{Add action} One day while he was browsing through cds at the record store, Lizarggh overheard some rockers talking about a secret grotto at the top of Rockopolis Mountain. Legend says that anyone who drinks from the dark pool in the grotto instantly gains a voice as smooth and deep as its waters. Lizzarggh knew what he had to do. He laced up his combat boots, slipped a power bar in his satchel, and started climbing.

{Add a twist of rising action} After hours of hacking his way through brush and struggling over boulders, the tip of the grotto peaked above the next hill. With a rush of renewed energy, Lizzargh took off, bounding over rocks until they felt like they were shaking loose under the impact of his feet. Wow, he must have some strong feet, he thought, because they were really starting to tumble now. Oh no! He realized Rockopolis Mountain was really rocking! It was an earthquake shaking loose the stones. He leaped and grabbed for a tree branch, and swung his legs up to capture the bough. He popped his suction cup fingers into action keeping a death grip on the branch.

{Add a falling action} Finally, the leaves stopped shaking, the ground settled, and Lizzargh lowered one toe, gently nudging the rock beneath him to check for stability. No rocking. No rolling. He straightened is leather jacket, shook his blue hair back into a stylishly wild disarray, and sprinted up the mountain like a pack of biker lizards were after him.

{Add resolution} He should have been wary. He should have been careful. But blame it on the rocking and rolling of that mountain, Lizzargh was too amped to hold back. He dove in and gulped down the silky water. He rose above the surface, flung his sodden locks out of his eyes, and wailed his highest note. It was awesome. It soared. It rocked and it rolled. He was going to make it. Finally he could be the rockstar he was born to be.