Genre, plot and theme

Genre can be a useful framework for exploring story as by changing just the genre, pupils can create really effective and original stories that are building on stories that are already around. This can take the pressure off as they don’t have to start from scratch.

Plot is what happens. Theme is what the story is about. The two are linked, but the theme of a story might well change depending on the narrative viewpoint and the language used in the story, even where the plot remains the same. To illustrate, Snow White might be a story about good triumphing over evil, but told from the viewpoint of the wicked step mother, it could be a story about fear, jealousy or rejection. The way the plot is told will draw out the theme the writer wants the reader to think about.

Encourage pupils to think about the message or moral of their story before they start to write. When the story has been drafted, allow them to read each other’s stories and guess what it is about. If their reader doesn’t guess correctly, encourage them to think about how to make it more explicit.

This section has some ideas for how you can help pupils to look at familiar stories in new and interesting ways.