TRANSITION ACTION DETAILS is one of the best narrative organizers I’ve shared with students. In fact, I use it to craft my own stories.
Steve Peha explains how to use it step-by-step in his new book, Be a Better Writer.
When I visit schools, I share this document with teachers who want to help students use T.A.D. to extend a story or generate a new one.
Sometimes I write brief notes for each box, but I find it helps young writers to write a complete sentence for each box. Then they can read across and see their stories develop.
By moving from the beginning Action in Box #1 to the ending Action in Box #2, writers can avoid drafting a story that never ends. Once the writer has the ending in mind, the middle Actions seem to fall in place.
To help with the Details, I encourage young writers to tap into sensory details and even add dialogue to engage the reader. I suggest two to three details for each action, again writing in complete sentences.
The final step before writing the story out is to add transitions. Of course, each action doesn’t require a transition. However, I push young writers to stay away from the typical “then” and “next” and to use smooth phrasing that moves the story in a logical order.
Here is a PowerPoint of an example I recently shared with educators at a conference.
Check out Steve’s new book for more ideas to help young writers.