Elements of a Story: A Creative Writing Dice Game (Printable Version)
In Elements of a Story, student pairs or groups (or even the whole class!) collaboratively create story elements (which are partly directed by chance) and then write stories based on them. This game helps students to explore the elements of story: Plot, Character, Conflict, Genre, Point of View, and Setting.
Game takes between 10 and 20 minutes to play.
NOTE: This game can be printed in black and white!
Quick game breakdown:
If a student rolls Cr, they make up a character on the spot: a washed-up reality TV star, a lazy blogger, an honest cop with nothing to lose. You can either leave it entirely up to the student what type of character they create, or you can specify that the character has to be fictional, related to what they’ve been studying, or any other rules you believe strengthen the learning outcomes.
If a student rolls Cn they make up one detail of the central conflict on the spot using whatever elements they have so far. For example, if the students have already created a character named Susan and decided that the setting is England, the student who rolls Cn next can decide that Susan is being stalked by a strange man on the streets of London. If Cn is the first element rolled, the student may go for something generic: man vs man, man vs nature, man vs machine, internal conflict.
If a student rolls Gn they choose a literary genre of their choice: epic poem, lyric poem, song, play, short story, flash fiction, slam poem, sonnet, rap, myth, folk tale, farce, satire, comedy of errors, tragedy, or other.
If a student rolls Pt they make up ONE point of the plot (exposition, climax, or resolution). If, for example, the student decides that the resolution is that two characters get married, then all students must end their stories with two of the characters getting married.
Pv: Point of View
If a student rolls Pv they decide what the point of view will be: first person, second person, third person limited, third person omniscient, third person subjective, third person objective. NOTE: The player who rolls Pv does not decide who the main character is.
If a student rolls St they choose one detail about the setting of the story: the where or the when. England, South Central Los Angeles, 100 years ago, etc.
Separate students into pairs, small groups, or play as the whole class. Give each grouping of students a single die. Students decide whom in their group goes first.
How to Play:
The student going first rolls the die once. They create whatever element they roll. Each element decided in this way is a COMMON element. All students in the group use the COMMON elements.
The Second Turn And Beyond
Students take turns rolling the die and creating the element rolled.
Winning And Losing The Game
Once all students have rolled at least once, students break off and individually write a piece using the COMMON elements. It’s good to give students 1-10 minutes to write individually.
Example of Play:
Here is an example of play in a group of four students.
Fred: Rolls the die. He rolls St (Setting). Fred decides that the setting is onboard the Mayflower.
Wilma: Now it is Wilma’s turn. She rolls Cr (character). She creates Juan Pablo, the ravishing soccer player.
Barney: Barney’s turn. He rolls Pt (plot). He decides that the exposition is that Juan Pablo has just fallen overboard.
Betty: Betty goes last. She rolls Gn (genre). She decides that the piece should be an epic poem.
The students decide that they have enough information to write their piece. They break off and in 5 minutes each write an epic poem about Juan Pablo, a ravishing soccer player, falling overboard from the Mayflower.
Note: If students wish to roll COMMON elements for another round, that is up to them. This may be necessary if too many students roll the same thing.
Game includes a page of printable dice (for up to a zillion students), a teacher's guide, and an easily distributable version of the rules for student use.
NOTE: This is the printable version of the game. Final product will not look like product shown since you will be printing the dice and making them yourself. Printable version does not include rule booklet. It includes a Pdf version of the rules.
For the professionally printed version, please visit my page at:
The printable version is a Teachers Pay Teachers exclusive. It is designed for classroom use and with teachers in mind. It's also a fraction of the cost of the professional version!
Please contact me if you have any questions.
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