WRITING GRUESOME GHOST STORIES
CONCEPT: The ghost story genre gets the Alan Peat treatment in this handy guide to structure and storytelling
DELIVERY: If you're a teacher from the UK and looking for inspiration in terms of writing, Alan Peat is always a great person to look to. With his range of apps expanding by the month, it seemed appropriate that the run up to Halloween was preceded by this guide to the ghost story genre.
The app itself is essentially an ebook style app that guides prospective writers through the conventions and key plot points that go towards making a great scary story.
So the first three sections introduce the core ingredients: characters, settings and story dilemmas. Each section contains numerous examples, all explained in great detail and in a way that's easy to understand. The dilemmas also include suggested resolutions so there really is everything that a student may need as the building blocks for an authentic and expressive story.
Then there are the Plot Skeletons. These are essentially fully sequenced story concepts that outline entire ghost stories. This is a great addition as these may prove more useful to less able writers or those that still struggle to pull the composite parts of a story together. There are twenty five complete story skeletons here which makes for a wide range of possibilities. They could also be used to reverse engineer known stories as a part of a text analysis. For that matter, so could the actual tropes defined in e first three sections!
You even get the Ghostly Glossary which is categorised alphabetically and contains a wealth of vocabulary related to the topic as well as some of Alan's famous super sentence types, with a ghostly twist.
The whole app looks great and the interface is excellent. Students can take notes within the app and these can be exported with ease to facilitate the actual writing process away from the device. There's also a separate teacher login area (use the password Teacher1) which is essentially a private access to the same content. This means that in classes that have limited devices, a teacher could make notes for lesson plans etc without students being able to view them.
Alan is planning on releasing a whole range of apps in the next few months like this one and they will no doubt all be just as useful. It makes an excellent resource for the digital classroom and is packed with useful ideas.
LIMITATIONS: The font used, whilst suitably spooky, can be a little hard to read when it is very small and you cannot zoom in at all. Also though groups can collaborate on a shared device, they cannot connect devices and collaborate and take notes at the same time.
CONCLUSION: A great resource from one of the best minds in the business. Engage your young writers and help them develop their understanding of the genre at the same time. 4/5
Writing ghost stories!
Building understanding of genres tropes and conventions
Developing understanding of story structure
Building up an arsenal of writing tricks and tips