I have students who do extra work just because they want to. 😀

In Level 1, we have just finished the literature unit. I teach the students how to recognize the elements of literature using the Center for Lit method. First, we write a couple of short stories with a very carefully crafted structure, using a fail-safe IEW technique. Then we analyze a short story and then a novel using that same structure.

When we begin the analysis section, I point out to the students that one difference between writing a story and writing ABOUT a story is the vocabulary. Literature papers always include literature vocabulary; stories do not. I point out how strange it would be to read a story where the characters were actually called characters, and the plot is called a plot, and so on.

This year, one of my students, who loves writing stories, decided to do just that! When she came to the next class, she brought the story below, and gave me permission to publish it. Not only did she use the literature vocabulary, she even wrote in present tense, as we do when writing about literature. 😀 I think she has a fine grasp of story structure!

One of Those Literary Stories

© 2021 Novelyn Spiller

Macy, the protagonist, is a princess. Specifically, she is one of those princesses that would rather spend her days riding her tall, pure black Friesian horse, Prince, around her kingdom instead of sitting inside her castle, pretending to care about dresses and fancy balls. This tale is set in the lush kingdom of Alynthi, which is about 50 miles southeast of Lichelle. Tired of her monotonous lessons on royal etiquette and serving tea, Macy escapes the palace for a relaxing ride. After mounting her horse, Macy gallops out to meet her friend, another main character, called Lucas. She notices him up ahead along the trail in the woods, so she clicks her tongue at Prince and he speeds up, racing as if he is the wind itself. “Hey, Lucas!” she exclaims, dismounting swiftly and bringing the reins over Prince’s head.

“Oh, hi,” Lucas replies, sounding slightly uneasy.

“What’s wrong?” Macy asks, glancing around, confused. Suddenly, they hear a sound resembling a bomb exploding. Prince rears, whinnying loudly, and gallops quickly away, leaving Lucas and Macy alone and at the mercy of the dangerous forest. “What was that?” Macy asks.

“Giants,” Lucas replies solemnly.

With that, the conflict is introduced. Will Lucas and Macy warn the kingdom of the danger from the giants so they can close the city gate before the giants make it? The rising action begins as Macy and Lucas race to hide behind a rock. “Do you spot anything?” Macy asks, sounding frightened.

“Yes. Right over there,” Lucas whispers, pointing towards a clearing in the trees.

Without warning, one of the giants stands up. “Smell that? Humans, I tell ’ya!” he exclaims in a gruff voice.

Macy gulps.

“Eh. Prolly a real pleasant-smellin’ dwarf,” the second giant states, sniffing the air loudly.

“Nah, it’s humans,” the first one disagrees.

“What do we do?” Macy asks Lucas quietly.

“We have to run to the city and warn them to close the gate so the giants can’t enter the city,” Lucas whispers in reply.

“We should make it to da town soon so we can plunder it,” a third giant states menacingly.

“Oh no! We have to hurry,” Macy exclaims quickly as she moves away from the rock. When she turns around, she stands face-to-face with one of the giants.

“Wha’ do we have ’ere?” he asks, smiling maliciously.

“Macy, run!” Lucas exclaims, jumping in front of her as the giant swings his club, hitting Lucas in the stomach and slamming him right into a tree, successfully knocking him unconscious.

“Lucas!” Macy shouts, causing the giant to turn to her, raising his club. She stares, wide-eyed, up at the huge giant before darting between his legs and racing off towards the city. She runs as fast as she can. Finally, she makes it to the gate. “Giants are coming!” she yells at a minor character, breathless.

“What?!” a guard shouts, disbelief evident on his face.

“Giants are coming! Close the gate!” Macy repeats, knowing how long it takes for the gate to close. The old, creaky gate begins to close slowly. Glancing behind her, Macy notices the four huge giants plodding as fast as their giant legs can carry them.

The climax then occurs as the giants finally make it to the city, very close to barging in. Just in time, the gate closes loudly and locks, keeping the giants at bay. The dénouement commences as all the people rejoice at the narrow victory.

“Macy! You did it!” Macy hears Lucas’s voice exclaim. She turns around and spots him standing near the entrance gate into the city’s interior, clutching his stomach, a cut on his head bleeding.

“Lucas? You’re alive!” Macy exclaims, hugging him, careful not to hurt him further.

“Yeah. Barely,” he chuckles in reply, wincing from the pain.

“Macy Bethany Geneviève Wellington. What are you doing?!” Macy hears her mother’s shrill voice exclaim.

“Nothing, Mother. I just helped save the whole kingdom. But, yeah, basically nothing at all,” Macy replies sarcastically.

“Well, that is no excuse to miss your organ lesson! Follow me. Eliza is waiting!” Macy’s mother beckons, beginning to walk back to the castle.

Macy glances at Lucas, who is laughing loudly. “What?!” Macy hisses.

“Organ lessons after you just saved the kingdom? I don’t know, but you may be more princess-like than you thought!” Lucas replies, still laughing.

“Oh, be quiet!” Macy snaps, starting to laugh as well as she walks back to the castle to endure more boring lessons. On the bright side, at least she can check ‘save the kingdom from certain doom’ off her long princess to-do list. All in all, this is just another ordinary literary story about a princess, giants, and an organ lesson.  

Leave a Reply