Planning a composition is a habit that I like all my students to have. It may take time for them to get used to spending 5 minutes constructing the plot as most just want to start the composition and get it over and done with.

But just 5 minutes, can make a big difference in how the story turns out and how much descriptive words and phrases are used. Of course, in the beginning, planning takes longer than just 5 minutes. However, in time and with sufficient practice, students learn to plan quickly and automatically.

So, what is a Plot?

A plot is the development of a story. A good plot includes the following points :

1) Introduction
2) Problem
3) Suspense
4) Climax
5) Solution

Characters (I usually advise just two characters, unless otherwise stated in the question or if the student writes well) – are usually introduced in the beginning of the story.

My students will also have to develop their characters as they develop their plot in the Planning stage.

1) Introduction – using a number of techniques e.g. dialogue or flashback

2) Problem – a problem is introduced e.g. an explosion is heard or your little sister is lost. Introducing the problem is not as easy as one may think. HOW the problem is introduced will lead to the next point.

3) Suspense – Students will now have to build up the suspense in their story. They can use their characters to show anxiety or excitement. Adjective and adverbs are also consciously used when planning suspense.

4) Climax (optional) – the most exciting moment in the story

5) Solution – finding a solution to the problem


Examples of plots from my students


Primary 5
The Hardest Decision I Ever Had To Make


1) Introduction
Student used the flashback technique. She was looking at an old photograph of her former best friend

2) Problem
She caught her best friend cheating during the Mathematics prelim paper

3) Suspense
Students expressed her anxiety at making a decision to tell the teacher. She reflected on her friendship with her best friend. She described her physical discomfort of coming to a decision (cold sweat, heart palpitations)

4) Climax
She told the teacher

5) Solution
Friendship ruined but described what lessons were learnt



Secondary One
Shipwrecked and Alone


1) Introduction
Student began the story with a short dialogue. Introduced the main character using physical descriptions. Described the cruise ship.

2) Problem
Character fell overboard due to rough waters and a sudden storm. Managed to swim to an island

3) Suspense (Descriptive words and phrases are essential in secondary school writing. Student spent some time planning this point)
Island deserted but character is not too sure. Explored the island

4) Climax
Found signs of life

5) Solution
Rescued from the island