The Fictional Narrative: How'd We Get in This Mess?

Contributor: Kristen Gardiner. Lesson ID: 10508

You're walking along the road, just cooling it, and suddenly you fall into a mud puddle! What a mess! Things happen that mess up our life, just like story people! Learn the steps to exciting stories!



English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

Take a quick peek at Snow white, the Queen and the Magic Mirror 1:

Image - Video


Everything seemed to be going well for the Queen until . . . trouble! Now, it gets interesting! Find out why!

The plot, much like boiling soup, thickens . . .

Welcome to the fourth lesson in our The Fictional Narrative series. If you have not completed, or wish to review, the previous Related Lessons, found them in the right-hand sidebar.

OK, so now you have your character (your dwarf of choice) and your setting (the time, place, and mood) for your story. All you need now is for something interesting to happen!

Think about the original story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. All of the characters were going about their normal business until one day something happened.Take another look at the video clip above.

  • What exactly happens in this scene?
  • Why is the Queen upset and what does it have to do with Snow White?
  • What happens after — or as a result of — the Evil Queen learning that she is no longer the fairest (or most beautiful) in the land?

Watch this video clip to find out the effect the Magic Mirror's answer has on the Queen.

The Evil Queen orders the Huntsman to take Snow White into the woods and kiill her!!! from Hunter Blackmon:

Image - Video

This is the point in the story when the plot,or main action,begins to rise. It is the first in a series of cause-and-effect events that lead to the ending we all know and love ( . . . and they lived happily ever after).

You can look at the action of the story as climbing and descending a set of stairs, something like this:

cause and effect steps

First, the action rises until the characters come to a difficult problem or decision that will take some thought or planning until they reach a solution.

This stopping point at the top of the stairs is called the climax. It is usually the most exciting part of the story, where the major action or drama takes place.

Here, it is when Snow White falls under the Evil Queen's sleeping spell.

Snow White and the Dwarfs will need to spend some time at the top of the stairs until a solution is found (Shhh! Don't give away the ending!).

To get the action started, you'll need to come up with a cause-and-effect situation. Let's take a few minutes to review cause-and-effect relationships.

In a cause-and-effect relationship, the cause is what happens and the effect is why it happens.In other words, one thing makes something else happen.

It's as simple as one thing leading right in to another. It rained, so my shoes got wet. My shoes being wet are an effect of the rain. The rain is the cause of my shoes being wet.

Take a look at the chart below:

Cause Effect
  • I forgot to set my alarm clock.
  • I woke up late for school.
  • I woke up late for school.
  • I missed the bus.
  • I missed the bus.
  • My mom had to drive me to school.
  • My mom had to drive me to school.
  • My mom was late to work.


  • Can you see how easily one event can lead to another in a story?

If you look at the series of events, you can say that my mom was late for work all because I forgot to set my alarm clock.

Now it's your turn to grab a pencil and paper and draw a box like this:






Next, draw a line down the middle of your box:







Then, draw a line across the top of the box about two inches from the top creating a big letter "T" like this:









Now you can make your own cause-and-effect chart. Label the left side "cause" and the right side "effect" like this:

Cause Effect




Think of some actions or events that make other things happen. Put the actions that start the problem under cause and put the problem that results under the effect heading.

  • For example, what would happen if you kept forgetting to brush your teeth before bed?

You would probably get a cavity, right? So, you would put "keep forgetting to brush my teeth before bed" in the cause column, and "I got a cavity" in the effect column.

Try to get at least four cause-and-effect pairs on your list.

For more practice with cause-and-effect in fiction stories, try the activity below.

Image - Video

The exciting climax!

Now, you need to brainstorm, or come up with, a problem and decide how the problem or situation starts. Next, you'll need to come up with an idea of what effect(s) the problem has on your character.

Then, it's time to take the next step. Take another look at the stairs above.

In order to reach the most exciting point in the story, the situation needs to get worse before it gets better. Take a look at the third step up from the bottom. The Queen is fine until she once again talks to that Magic Mirror.

Take a look at Disney's, Snow white, the Queen and the Magic Mirror 2:

Image - Video

  • What does she discover during this encounter with the mirror?

That's right, she learns that Snow White is alive and well, living in the forest with the Seven Dwarfs (the Mirror even gives directions. It's better than an iPhone!).

The Magic Mirror causes trouble again, and where there is a cause, there is an effect. With the help of a little more magic, the Queen turns herself into an old woman and tricks poor, trusting Snow White.

Watch Disney's, The Poisoned Apple | Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) from SAM

Image - Video

And now, Snow White and the Dwarfs are at the climax — Snow White ate the poisoned apple, and the Dwarfs have no idea how to wake Snow White from her sleep.

Now, it's time to start thinking about your dwarf. You gave him a personality, you gave him a setting (time, place, and mood), and now he needs a plot.

For this lesson, you will develop only to the top of the steps above, or the rising action.

You are going to use a graphic organizer to get your story moving, so move on to the Got It? section to climb those stairs!

Image - Button Next