Plotting our Horror/Thriller Story by Using a Plot Diagram

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SWBAT to plot out their horror/thriller story in order to produce clear and coherent writing.

Big Idea

Plot your evil plan!

Lesson Opener

10 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling, I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect:  I will say, “We have been brainstorming ideas for our horror stories and drafting scenes. In order to put our scenes together we are going to plan out the sequence of our story; the plot.

Teach: I will say, “In order to have a coherent and cohesive story, I am going to show you how to practice the skill of plotting out my story and the strategy of using a plot diagram. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Plot the "Tell Tale Heart" to review how an author crafts their plot

2) Use my previous writing to plot our my story

3) Write a scene that I have not written yet.”

I will model for students how I read through “Tell Tale Heart” and determine the events of the plot using plot diagram practice. I will have them turn and talk when I get to the climax and fill in the rest of the events with a partner.

I will then show how I use ‘Tell Tale Heart” as an example and plot my own story using plot diagram for horror.  Below is an explanation about the different diagrams.

The other resources attached to this lesson is a different kind of plot diagram for horror; plot diagram for horror stories.

A mystery diagram (for students who do not want to do horror/thriller or whose parents don't want them to; plot diagram for mystery.

Also a realistic fiction diagram (for students who have not had practice with realistic fiction, or if a teacher would want to give them a choice of crafting a realistic fiction story; plot diagram for mystery.

Active Engagement

10 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say, “You will now use my example the “Tell Tale Heart” example to plot out your own story.” I will look over the shoulder of the students as they work quietly, I will check on their progress (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). I will ask the students, “Share out one of your events. Name the part of the plot diagram and give us your example.”

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember successful writers practice the skill of plotting out their story and the strategy of using a plot diagram. The process they utilize is they use another story to understand how the author crafted their plot, then they craft their own plot, and then continue to write their story.


Independent Practice

20 minutes

Independent Practice: I will say, “You will continue to plot your story or write more scenes from your story. If you get stuck on your plot diagram, start crafting one of your scenes and that will help you finish the rest of diagram. I will walk around and confer with students using; Possible Conferences for plot diagrams. They listen to "Spooky Symphonies" on Pandora Radio as they write.

Partner Work: Students will be directed to turn and share their plot diagram with their partner when I see that most of the class has completed their diagram. I will say, “I want you to share your diagram with a partner. “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A I want you to share your diagram. Partner B, I want you to listen if Partner A sequenced their events in a logical order. If not, give them feedback; tell them an idea of what they could add or let them know what your favorite event was and why. Then you will switch.” I will then give students time to revise, or have them make notes and revise for homework.



I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an exit ticker in which students write down the response to a question.


Students will turn in their plot diagrams.