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The age-old idea of good vs evil has inspired many a brilliant novel, but we love how 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' battles this concept within one person.
There are lots of themes in the plot that make excellent story ideas:
• Do we all have good and bad in us? Jekyll and Hyde – two personas in one body, both battling for dominance.
• Science and the supernatural don’t usually mix, can students write their own original mini saga where these two cross paths again?
• The importance of reputation; showing people what you think they should see rather than the real you
• Communication – the characters in Jekyll and Hyde are often silent, unable to express themselves verbally
Students can take one of the themes and develop it into their own mini saga utilizing suspense, tension, and atmosphere to create an original piece of work.
Ask your students to write down their greatest fear and use this as a basis for their mini saga.
What would they feel and do if their greatest fear became reality? Ask them to make notes. As this is quite a personal exercise your students don’t have to share their work with the class!
Can your students symbolize their fear as something else? For example, if the fear is death, the mini saga could portray a ruthless survivor that will do anything to stay alive, or if the fear is rejection the mini saga could be about someone who’ll settle for a partner that isn’t right just to avoid being alone.
This is a great way to explore fear and how it can inspire creative writing.
Having a character that shape-shifts into an animal is a fun idea, but well-used, so how can students make this original…
• Create a new species with a new purpose
• Use the animal to symbolize something else
• Write a tale with a twist; does the reader expect the character to be evil because of this ability or to act a certain way? Surprise them by proving their assumptions wrong!
• Write from the animal’s point of view rather than their human self
• Write a prologue or epilogue
• Use the power of suggestion; is the character an animal? Can they shape-shift? What do you want the reader to believe without you telling them?
The power of suggestion – can your students make the reader believe something without saying it? Can they persuade the reader to read between the lines, to make an assumption?
• Utilise the reader’s natural curiosity
• Use the weather to set the scene
• Use a simple noise, like creaking or a dripping tap, to create atmosphere
• Describe the character’s physical reaction to fear
• Describe what the character thinks is causing the noise …
Why not try extreme constrained writing!
Provide students with a spine-chilling scenario. This could be a scene from a book being studied, from an image, a headline, etc
Now ask your students to write their story plot in ten words! Ask them to bear in mind their mini saga requires tension, atmosphere, and suspense.
E.g. Woman is offered trial to prove her innocence in Salem.
Students now build on their story plot to create their mini saga…
They said that I had cast spells on the children, which made them say and do bewitched things. I did no such thing. I have better things to do than enchant wretched children. I begged the Governor, pleaded, protested my innocence as I was arrested. He said I’d get a trial, which would prove my innocence or condone my spirit to Hell. I had no chance of freedom again and he knew it. I wasn’t scared as I walked to the gallows. Just the opposite. It wasn’t a prayer I muttered under my breath as I dropped to my death…
Feedback tells us building a story up is easier than editing it down. We hope your students find this tip useful.