The Seven Sentence Story – Creative Writing for Everyone

Creative writing can inspire new vocabulary production and enjoyable language practice for learners of all ages and levels. I’ve used the Seven Sentence Story with children, with graduate students, and with faculty. Everyone enjoyed it.
There are a number of variations of the “seven sentence” storyboard that you’ll find if you do an internet search, but some provide clearer guidance for writers than others. This is one I’ve developed that not only allows students to successfully complete the exercise as is, at this simple level, but is also an effective opening to more advanced discussions and writing classes.


Because the structure of this story reflects plot development in much genre fiction, it can lead to more in-depth analysis of authentic texts. It provides a strong start to a class on scene development or to further development of a full length story. It’s a good beginning to a “writing for teachers” workshop because it gives teachers a task they can do with their students, but then allows them to take it further in their own writing.
I’ve provided two visual aids you can use as well as the written description below. You can watch and listen to a sample story I made to illustrate the sentences here.
I also made a PowerPoint template that you can use to make your own stories or give to your students so they can make stories to share with others. This is a great exercise to accompany showing your students how to find, use, and correctly credit Creative Commons images from Flickr, as well, and the PowerPoint template encourages that.
Would you like to download the PowerPoint for your students?
Share this page with your friends to unlock the download.
My Seven Sentences are
1) Sentence One: Setting
One sentence that tells who, what, when, where we are when the story opens. It introduces our character and tells the reader what’s “normal.”
2) Sentence Two: Something happens…
The “But, one day…” sentence when something suddenly happens to change the norm.
3) Sentence Three: …causing a problem.
The sentence that shows that the change presents a BIG problem for our character.
4) Sentence Four: Attempt to Solve the Problem
The sentence where our character attempts to solve the problem in the expected way but only makes the problem worse.
5) Sentence Five: Attempt to Solve the Problem
The sentence where our character uses the worst to attempt to solve the problem again.
6) Sentence Six: Attempt to Solve the Problem Succeeds
The sentence where our character’s attempt solves the problem in an unexpected way.
7) Sentence Seven: Conclusion
The sentence where our story concludes with a new setting that shows the change that has occurred as a result of the story.
As always, the materials here are copyrighted and are only intended for educational use. If you find an interesting way to use them, please let me know. If you’d like to schedule a writing workshop based on these ideas, get in touch.

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9 Responses to The Seven Sentence Story – Creative Writing for Everyone

  1. Mary Ellen Pastor says:

    I’ve sent this to Alina, who may find it useful at her work-study job tutoring inner city elementary school students. From Gujarat to Manhattan — thank you!

  2. Jillian Coleman Wheeler says:

    This is brilliant. So simple and direct yet powerful. Love it!

  3. Narendra Rathod says:

    Really useful writing techniques, Thanks.

  4. Arindam Sengupta says:

    Very innovative technique! Many thanks for sharing!

  5. dinesh patel says:

    very interesting & praiseworthy.this will definitely help the teachers to teach the students writing skill in a very effective and interesting way… Congrats !!!!!!!! Keep it up…..

  6. Dipakbhai VinodchandraParikh says:

    Very interesting and innovative way to teach the story writing. Congrats. Keep it up.

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