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ELA Narrative Mystery Unit

C2W1 Introductory unit- introduces narrative elements and elements of mystery

Kelly De La Cruz

on 25 September 2012

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Transcript of ELA Narrative Mystery Unit

Reading and Writing Narrative Mysteries Start a fresh page in your writer's notebook. Date it. Title it "Mystery Freewrite". Brainstorm about the elements you recall from mystery novels, t.v. shows, or games. You have five minutes. Write as much as you can. Do not stop until time is called. Share with your table. In your writer's notebook, make a T-chart. Label one side "Narrative Features" and the other side "Narrative Mystery Features". Share your ideas with others from your table. Once something is put in the narrative side, it is assumed it fits in the mystery side, and you d not have to write it twice. The typical narrative story has a beginning, middle and end. We can use a graphic organizer to organize the plot elements. Narrative stories 1. List the events. A short story usually has one or two main characters around whom all the action takes place. Your list of events for any short story will probably consist of the movements of the main character. You will also make note of mental or emotional events that take place with respect to the main character. For example, she learned that her father didn't die, realized mother was lying to her, contacted her father in prison, forgave her mother, etc. How to analyze a short story plot... 2. Create a timeline. This is challenging sometimes. Take your list of events and put them in chronological (sequential) order. Sometimes a short story begins with a flashback, and sometimes the events of the story are presented out of order. Arrange your list of events in chronological order, even if that isn’t the order in which they took place in the story. 3. Identify the conflict or problem in the story. Conflict is what makes the reader want to continue reading, so all well-written short stories have a conflict. Sometimes, it is obvious like a struggle between two characters in the story, or sometimes, it is subtle, like the main character’s internal struggle to decide what is right. Identifying the conflict will help you understand the plot, since the plot is the main character’s journey toward resolving the conflict. 4. Find the climax. The climax of a short story happens when the tension is its highest just before the conflict is resolved. It is the turning point of the story. In a mystery, for example, the climax is just before you find out who the killer is. The climax of a short story takes place shortly before the end of the story. After the climax, the writer ties up the loose ends and the story is over. Elements of a Mystery... http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/mystery/index.htm



World Health Oganization Mysteries: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/mspot/

Science Mysteries: http://www.sciencemystery.com/

Everyday mysteries: http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/

FBI Kid's page: http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids Additional resources for Mystery Writing alibi detective red herring motive crime sleuth suspects breakthrough evidence RULES FOR MYSTERY WRITING 1. In mystery writing, plot is everything. Make sure each plot point is plausible, and keep the action moving. Don't get bogged down in back story or go off on tangents. The absolute most important thing is that your reader can follow your sequence. 2. Introduce both the detective and the culprit early on. As the main character, your detective must obviously appear early in the story. You reader will feel cheated if the antagonist (or villain or culprit) enters too late in the book to be a reasonable suspect in their minds. (This doesn’t mean he has to make a personal appearance, but the reader must know of his existence.) The number of suspects must be known, and the culprit must be among them. 3. Introduce the crime quickly, within the first 3-5 paragraphs of your story.You want to hook your reader with the action as soon as possible, and then build suspense as you give piece by piece of the puzzle. 4. The crime should be believable. The details of the crime need to be believable. This includes how it was done, why, and how it was discovered. Your reader will feel cheated if the crime is not something that could really happen. Provide motives for more than one suspect. 5. The crime must be significant… For example, kidnapping, murder, blackmail and theft are significant. It can also be solving a mystery from history or discovering who destroyed valuable property. 6. The detective should solve the case using only rational and scientific methods. There must be detection. The solution must not be stumbled on; it must be sought and found. Your detective, whether amateur or professional, must find clues and use logic to make sense of the clues. 7. The culprit must be capable of committing the crime. Your reader must believe your villain's motivation and the villain must be capable of the crime, both physically and emotionally. 8. In mystery writing, don't try to fool your reader. Again, it takes the fun out. Don't use improbable disguises, twins, accidental solutions, or supernatural solutions. The detective should not commit the crime. All clues should be revealed to the reader as the detective finds them. All clues discovered by the detective must be made available to the reader. (This is where Fair Play comes in.) Nothing extraneous may be introduced. 9. Do your research. Get all essential details right. Learn a bit about forensic science, history and art in order to have a solid background. 10. Wait as long as possible to reveal the culprit. They're reading to find out, or figure out, whodunit. If you answer this too early in the book, the reader will have no reason to continue reading. Top 10 Rules for Mystery Writing

From Ginny Wiehardt, former About.com Guide In your WNB, write the question: How are mysteries different from other narratives? How are they the same. In your small group, come up with 3 bullet answers for each question.
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