How to Plan a Story

When planning to write a story the first question most people ask is ‘where do I begin?’ – this is why having a plan is essential before you begin to write. Plans should be simple, containing a few key words or phrases to drive the path of your story. The initial concept of planning a story is abstract, with no concrete image to latch onto –  this can be particularly difficult for children with dyslexia who are usually very visual thinkers.

There are some simple things to remember when starting to plan any story that will make it easier for your child to stay on track and have a clear idea of where their tale is heading.

As I’m sure you know, every story has a beginning, middle and end. You can help explain this to your child by relating the below points to a favorite story of theirs to help them understand the concept.

To help with your plan you could create columns for each section and get them to write a few key words in each section.


Step One: Beginning

plan a story

Where do you want your story to take place? Remember, this can be anywhere! If this is your child’s first foray into writing you could stick to simpler, easy to visualize places like the seaside, a haunted house or in the forest. But if they fancy being adventurous with their setting then let them! The story could take place on one of the moons of Splark as long as there’s a set place in mind – ask your child to choose one and see what fun places they can come up with!

It’s important not to overload your plan, get them to write down a few key words to describe the place and ask questions to help them visualize it.


  • Stormy night
  • Old, creaky mansion
  • Vines creeping up the walls
  • Sense of fear


starting a story

Your story needs a main character to help drive the plot forward! Ask your child about their favorite characters to help them understand what a main character is. Get them to write down a few facts about the character, what they look like, what are they doing, what their main personality trait is – are they brave? Scared? Happy?


  • Brown hair, green eyes
  • Scared, creeping through the house holding a stick
  • Backpack and jacket
  • Small fluffy dog with him


Step Two: Something Happens

So now you’ve set the scene and introduced your main character the story needs for something to happen. Usually this is an exciting part – the action! The purpose of this is to give the story a direction, a purpose. This action usually motivates the main character to change their path or react in some way. This part usually contains short, sharp dramatic sentences to build tension.


  • Door creaks open
  • Ghostly howl from a room


Step Three: Conclusion

how to end a story
So now you need to decide how to end your story. When a story ends it should feel complete, the main character has solved the action and dealt with what happens next. This is known as the conclusion of the story.


  • Boy charges towards door
  • Door bursts open – it was his friends playing a trick!


The above video and more writing tips can be found on our program Writing Beach