• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Work with all your cloud files (Drive, Dropbox, and Slack and Gmail attachments) and documents (Google Docs, Sheets, and Notion) in one place. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free. Now available on the web, Mac, Windows, and as a Chrome extension!



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Stories from Stories: Making Your Own Version of a Story


Returning students: Please read these notes about what to do for this assignment.


Each week in this class, you will be reading traditional stories and then putting a new spin on one of the old tales, re-telling that story in your own words. Take an old story; make it new! For this assignment, you'll be writing your first story of the semester.


You should plan to spend about an hour on this assignment, and before you get started, you might want to look at the sample post I created for this assignment here: Week 1 Story: The Cat Who Would Be King. That will give you a general idea of what you will end up with when you are done making your own storytelling post. You can also take a look at the stories people have written so far this semester: Spring 2017 stories.


Here is how it works:

  • PART ONE: Learn about stories-from-stories.
  • PART TWO: Choose the source story you want to use.
  • PART THREE: Create your own story.
  • PART FOUR: Write your author's note.
  • PART FIVE: Find an image to use as an illustration.
  • PART SIX: Publish your blog post.



PART ONE: Learning about stories from stories.


When you retell a story in your own words, you are creating something completely new! You might change the story just a little bit, or you might change it a lot. You might be changing the characters or the plot or the setting or the theme; it's all up to you. Sometimes you might take a story that you really like and find a way to make it even better. Other times you might take a story that you did not like and fix it. You are the storyteller, which means you have the power. You start with someone else's story, but you will end up with a story of your own.


The key thing is this: read the source story, take notes if you want, brainstorm, do research . . . but when you are actually writing your story, do not look at your source. Every word of the story needs to come from you; that is what makes it your story! Let the plot and description and dialogue all flow directly from your own imagination, based on how you envision the characters. For some examples, take a look at this page: Original Writing versus Plagiarism, and if you have any questions about that, let me know!


PART TWO: Choosing the source story you want to use.


Now that you understand just what is involved in telling a story in your own words, for this week's story you will choose from one of these sources: (1) a traditional fable or (2) a traditional nursery rhyme or (3) a cartoon map by Tom Gauld. Here is how those three different options work:


  • FABLE. Choose a classical Greek fable from the Fables of Aesop or choose an Indian fable from the Fables of Ramaswami Raju. Fables are usually very short, so you will have lots of room to expand on the plot, the characters, the setting, etc. as you create your own story.


  • NURSERY RHYME. Choose a nursery rhyme from this book: The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang. The nursery rhymes are usually even shorter than Aesop's fables, which gives you even more room to use your imagination as you turn the tiny rhyme into a story.


  • MAP-STORY. If you want a visual approach, you can write a story inspired by this cartoon map: Our Holiday Home by Tom Gauld (you can see the map at the bottom of this page). Tom Gauld's Map provides you with lots of "motifs" to choose from like "giant rats," "angry birds," etc.


So, take a few minutes to explore and see what source inspires you the most!


PART THREE: Creating your own story.


As you write your story, here are some specific guidelines to keep in mind:


Length. Your story post needs to be a minimum of 300 words long and a maximum of 1000 words. There are some browser-based word count tools you can use, or you can use a word processor (see next note). If your story is coming out too short, add some dialogue, description, visual detail, etc. If your story is coming out too long, here are some tips for shortening the story: Short and Sweet Writing Strategies.


Using a word processor. If you use a word processor (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Zoho, etc.), make sure that you do not do any formatting in your word processor: no bold, no italics, etc. — just type the text. When the text is ready, copy-and-paste it into your Blogger blog post, highlight the text (Control-A will highlight the whole text), and then use the Tx button on the Blogger editing bar to remove any word processor formatting, fonts, colors, etc. Then you can use Blogger to add bold, italics, create links, etc.


Read out loud. The best way to proofread your writing is to read it out loud continually as you work. Reading out loud will that help you avoid typos and other simple errors, and it will also allow you to improve your writing in other ways: listening for sound patterns, varying the sentence length, writing lively dialogue, etc.


PART FOUR: Author's note and bibliography.


After you write the story, you will need to add an author's note plus bibliography for your source:


Author's Note. The author's note is where you show your readers how you started with a traditional story and ended up with a new story of your own. So, that usually means you will provide a summary of the original story in the note. That way, your readers will be able compare the source you used with your own story. Remember: your readers probably have not read the source story, so they are depending on your summary to fill them in! You can also add any additional commentary you want in the note, helping your readers understand your creative process as you transformed the old story into something new.


Bibliography. In addition to the note, you need a Bibliography that cites your source story. Keep it simple: all you need is the title of the specific story you used, plus the title and author of the book (assuming the original story comes from an online book). Most important of all, you need a LINK TO THE STORY. That way your readers can go read the story for themselves if they want. Make sure you link to the specific webpage so that your readers can get there in a single click. Here's an example:


Bibliography. "The Fish and the Eagle" from Indian Fables by Ramaswami Raju. Web source.


You can even cite the Tom Gauld's map just as you would a story:


Bibliography. "Map of the Area Surrounding our Holiday Home," a cartoon by Tom Gauld from his book ROBOTS, MONSTERS Etc. Web source.


For more details, see these Bibliography Guidelines, and if you have any questions when you go to write the Bibliography entry for a story, just let me know!


PART FIVE: Finding an image.


Now that you are done writing, you should find an image you can use to illustrate the story. For help finding non-copyrighted images to use, see this page: searching for online images.


Remember to download the image and then upload it to your blog, and be sure to include Image Information — a CAPTION plus a LINK to your web source, along with information about the ARTIST if applicable (for example, if you use a painting or other artwork).


IMPORTANT: You can put the Image Information anywhere in the post that you want; it does not have to go next to the image. When you are using an image as an illustration for a story, it might be more powerful on its own, with the caption down at the bottom of the page with the story bibliography. You can decide what looks best to you when you add the image to the story!


PART SIX: Publishing your blog post.


Okay, now you have your story, author's note, bibliography, and image: you are almost ready to publish. Here are a few last things to check on:


TITLE. Make sure your blog post has a title. Include Week 1 Story in the title, followed by your actual title. For example: "Week 1 Story: The Cat Who Would Be King."


LABELS. Please label your post with the word: Story. Blog labels are case-sensitive, so make sure you use the capital "S" - Story. You should also label the post for the specific week: Week 1. That means your post will have two labels, separated by a comma: Story, Week 1


Proofreading. Make sure that you proofread your post one last time by reading it out loud from start to finish, in addition to doing a spellcheck.


Okay... you are done! Go ahead and hit PUBLISH. Take a look at how the blog post turned out to make sure all the formatting is working correctly, click the links, etc.


Editing. If you need to edit the post some more, you can do that; just click on the small "pencil" editing icon you will see down at the bottom of the post, or you can click on "Design" in the upper right-hand corner and then click on "Posts" to access all your posts.


When you satisfied with the final results, you are ready to do the Declaration... and then you can move on to the next assignment: writing a post to introduce yourself to the class!



I have written a story in my own words based on a fable or a rhyme or Tom Gauld's Map.

LENGTH. My story is between 300 and 1000 words in length.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The note shows how I started with an old story and created my own.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: I included basic bibliography for my source, plus a link.

POST TITLE: The phrase "Week 1 Story" appears in the post title, plus my own title.

POST LABELS: I used two labels — Story, Week 1 — separated by a comma.

PROOFREADING: I used a spellchecker, and I read my story out loud.

IMAGE. I included at least one image with image information (caption and link).



(Map of the Area Surrounding our Holiday Home by Tom Gauld)





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