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Once upon a time…

The Autumn mists were gathering early and the night was growing dark when…

It was a dark and dismal night…

Long ago in the mists of time…

We were alone in the house one morning when…

Once upon a time, when the world was young…

In the beginning…

One day, not too long ago…

Tonight…

It was a fresh and bright early morning in summer when…

This is a story I heard a long time ago…

It all started when…

I’m going to tell you a tale about…

It had all happened so quickly…

There was nothing I could do to stop it happening…

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Effective Story Endings E

Here is a plan for a story with three possible endings:

OPENING Three climbers decide to climb Mount Everest as it is the only major mountain in the world they haven’t climbed.

BUILD UP They begin their treck up the mountain but don’t tell anyone they are going as they know it is dangerous.

DILEMMA One climber falls but is saved from plummeting to his death by a ledge – he has broken his leg.

EVENTS The three climbers spend an uncomfortable Night on the mountain. The temperature drops and the injured man becomes ill.

RESOLUTION / ENDINGS

Happy Ending

Cliff Hanger

One climber has a flare Two of the climbers go back and all three are Down the mountain to get help, rescued. Leaving the injured man behind. Will they return?

Sad/ Reflective A helicopter spots them on the mountain and a rescue party arrives but too late to save the injured man.

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Story Checklist Have I remembered to use capital letters for names and at the start of sentences?

Have I remembered to use paragraphs? Have I used complex sentences? Have I used lots of exciting adjectives (describing words)?

Have I used a range of connectives?

Have I used speech marks to show when a person is talking and started a new line each time a new person talks?

Have I got an interesting opening line that will attract the reader?

Is it all written in the right tense? (It should all be past or all be present.)

Have I got a great last line?

Does the reader know how my character is feeling about events throughout?

Am I using the same word too much in my story? What other words could I use instead?

Is all the spelling correct?

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Writing a short story hints  

Some ideas for ESL writing practice