Be careful what you wish for! I learned this the hard way… Topic: a genie has offered to grant your main character one wish. Unexpectedly, the wish has some negative consequences for the main character and/or other characters. Audience

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Topic: A genie has offered to grant your main character one wish. Unexpectedly, the wish has some negative consequences for the main character and/or other characters.

  • Elementary through middle school

  • Keep language and theme appropriate for this audience.

  • While there can be action, violence cannot be graphic.


  • Your story should entertain but also deliver an important message.

  • There is a lesson to be learned from this story.

Task: Write a ten paragraph short story and be sure to include:

  • Dynamic Character: main character who makes the wish and changes from the experience.

  • Static Character: genie who offers the wish.

  • Clear and consistent point of view: first or third person is acceptable.

  • Conflict: what are the negative effects of the wish?

  • Resolution: how is the conflict resolved? It doesn’t have to be a happy ending!

  • Dialogue: this should provide information about characters and events

  • Imagery that appeals to the senses: simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, alliteration, onomatopoeia



  • Identify features of a good short story

  • Select a genre

  • Write a one-sentence story premise

  • Develop a focused main character

  • Complete graphic organizer


  • Transfer ideas into paragraphs using suggested plot structure


  • Use the revision checklist to review your work with your partner and use the feedback to make changes in content and style


  • Use the revision checklist to review your work with your partner and use the feedback to make correction in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure


  • Produce your best copy for grading and sharing

Name: _________________________
Period: ________________________

Focus (10 points):
_____ Details support plot and topic sentences of each paragraph (5 points)

_____ Consistent point of view (5 points)

Content (30 points):
_____Ten paragraphs; four to six sentences each (15 points)

_____One dynamic character who changes in some way (3 points)

_____Dialogue: at least two lines of dialogue (2 point)

_____Conflict: wish and its negative effects (5 points)

_____Resolution: doesn’t have to be a happy ending! (5 points)

Organization (20 points):

_____Complete transitions to show change in time, place or topic (10 points)

____ Events in logical order

Style (15 points):

_____Descriptive language that appeals to the senses and paints vivid pictures of

the characters, setting, and events (7 points)

_____Sentence variety in length and beginnings (8 points)

Conventions (25 points):
_____Complete sentences (5 points)

_____Appropriate punctuation (5 points)

_____Correct spelling (5 points)

_____Appropriate capitalization (5 points)

_____Double-spaced (5 points)


Character: develop a character the reader can identify with and be interested in.

Setting: use imagery to create a strong sense of place and atmosphere.

Plot: construct a series of events that include a strong conflict, a suspenseful rising action, an exciting climax, and a thoughtful resolution.

Theme: give the story a sense of purpose and meaning.

Dialogue: use dialogue to convey information about the characters and to forward the plot

Point of View: select the appropriate point of view for your tale. First person is more intimate but third person is more objective.

1. Select a genre:________________________________

Science Fiction




Realistic Fiction

Historical Fiction



2. Choose a story premise from the list below or create one of your own.



Some possible story premises:

  • A lonely young girl wishes to be wanted.

  • An overweight girl who is bullied wishes to be thin.

  • A boy whose dog has died wishes to have the pet back.

  • An unemployed man about to lose his house wishes for a million bucks.

  • A young teenage boy wishes he could have all the chicks.

  • A singer wishes to become famous.

  • A child who is fascinated with dinosaurs wished they still roamed the earth.

  • A teen girl wishes her parents would leave her alone.

  • A clumsy teen wishes to become varsity quarterback.

  • A video addict wishes to become part of his game.

  • A young boy with a scientific mind wishes to visit the future.

  • A teenage girl wishes she didn’t have an annoying little brother.

3. Create a focused character description that includes only details relevant to the story.



Physical features:
Relevant hobbies/interests:
Place in the world:

Based on the above description, could your reader predict the wish this character would make? _______

4. What point of view will you select for your story? ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________________

First person (the “I” voice): I was so angry with Mom that day…

  • narrator is one of the characters in the story. We only learn this narrator’s thoughts and feelings about events. The narration is not objective and or always reliable, but readers tend to identify more with this character.

Third person (the “he/she/it” voice): Charlie Robbins loved his video games…

  • Omniscient: mystery narrator knows everything; can offer insight into the thoughts and feelings of all characters

  • Limited: narrator know everything about one character

Objective (the “he/she/it” voice): Charlie Robbins played video games constantly…

  • narration is limited to describing events and provides no insight into the thoughts and feelings of characters.


Rising Action

Falling Action

Exposition Resolution


(excluding dialogue)


Paragraph 1: introduce main character and setting.

Paragraph 2: describe main character and give background info that relates to wish.


Paragraph 3: catalyst event for the wish (it should motivate character to make the wish).

Paragraph 4: genie is encountered and wish is made.

Paragraph 5: life may appear better at first after the wish.

Paragraph 6: trouble sets in.

Paragraph 7: the conflict escalates.


Paragraph 8: what is the worst that can happen?


Paragraph 9: what happens after the climax?


Paragraph 10: what is the final outcome? How has the main character been impacted by events?


Meaningful Statement

Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. I learned this the hard way four years ago when a stranger came into my life and offered to make my dreams come true. I was at a really low point in my life, so how could I say no? I thought that being the most popular kid in middle school would be like living a dream. Well, it’s a nightmare! And I’m still living it.

If someone offered you a million dollars, what would you do? Would you take it? Well, that’s exactly what got me into this situation. My dad lost his job and I was tired of living on macaroni and cheese. So when the genie asked me to make my wish, of course I asked for cash. The problem was how I asked. A million bucks can be taken in two ways. And this genie had a sick sense of humor.

Working backwards
I’m sitting in my dark cell, listening to the screams around me from other cells. I can feel a draft although I have no window, and I can smell the toilet that is two feet from my bed. I have five years to go in here. How did I get here? All I can say is: be careful what you wish for.

A spotlight shone on Dorothy and Buster as they headed to the dance floor, newly crowned, prom queen and king. Everyone applauded as the happy pair twirled around the floor. Dorothy could still feel dizzy remembering that moment. The only other time she had felt such joy was on her wedding day. Sixty years later, Buster had passed and Dorothy was all alone. And the graceful beauty of her youth was just a distant memory. Sometimes, Dorothy wished she could just fling herself back into better years.


Sarah’s little brother was so annoying. He always spied on her and her friends. At dinner, he whined when he didn’t like the food and sometimes threw tantrums in restaurants. It was so embarrassing! Sometimes Sarah wished she didn’t have this annoying little brother. Sometimes she wished he would just disappear…

“I’m sorry, son, but we did everything we could.” I gripped my mom’s hand tighter as I heard these words. I couldn’t accept it. I couldn’t believe that everything had been done. I held it together just long enough to get to the car where I broke down and cried like a baby. I was still bawling in my bedroom that night when the genie appeared.

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. I learned this the hard way last year when a stranger came into my life and offered to make my dreams come true. Now that I am living my dream, it seems much more like a nightmare. All I wanted was to get some attention. Well I got it alright.

It all happened last year. I was in seventh grade at Springdale Middle School and not exactly making a name for myself. With my dull looks and even duller personality, hardly anyone even knew who I was. I walked the halls like an invisible ghost. Even the teachers forgot my name half the time. “You’re Jamie, right?” I daydreamed every day about what it would be like to be noticed, what it would be like to actually be wanted.

So it was just another typical day for me at Springdale Middle School when my fantasy became a reality. As usual, I was sitting alone at my lunch table, my face buried in a book. At least I was a good student. I looked up to see Mr. Smith, the drama teacher, at the microphone. He was announcing that the school play tryouts would take place that day after school. Not that I would ever have had the guts to try out. I couldn’t even work up the courage to talk to the person next to me in class. I went back to reading.

“Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?” I looked up from my book and noticed this kid had sat down across from me. I had never seen him before. Was he on another other team? Was he new? All I could tell was that he was cute. He had blond hair falling over his sky blue eyes. He smiled at me, flashing these ultra white teeth. No one ever did this, smile at me, so I didn’t even know how to react. He repeated his question.

“Doesn’t it sound like fun? The play, I mean.”

“If you have the guts to try out, I guess.”

“And you don’t?” he asked.

“No way!” I exclaimed. “They wouldn’t want me.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Cause no one ever does.” Okay, I just met this kid and I was already acting like such a loser.

“Too bad. My name is Sean, by the way.”

“Are you new?”

“You could say that. Anyway, it’s nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” I replied.

“So, you really don’t think that anyone wants you?”

“Can’t you tell? Do you see anyone at my lunch table?”

“I guess not,” he admitted. “So tell me. If you could have anything—anything in the world-- that’s what you’d want? To be wanted?”

“Doesn’t everyone want to be wanted?”

“I suppose. Anyway,” he said, standing up. “I have to go. I think I’m supposed to get a tour or something. It was nice meeting you. Really.”

Before this new kid, Sean, turned to leave, he handed me a card. I read it as he walked out of the cafeteria. It said, “Your wish is my command.” Strange, I thought. Did the new kid think he was some kind of genie? Was he mental?

The bell rang soon after Sean left the cafeteria. I got up to put my tray away and moved on to my locker. The strangest thing happened at my locker. A group of girls—popular girls who barely knew my name—came up to me and started chatting with me. It was like we were friends. Then in math class, my homework buddy asked me if I had a boyfriend. He even asked for my cell number. And Mr. Smith, the math teacher, suddenly knew my name. “Jamie, would you please collect the homework for me?” he asked. Maybe that new kid, Sean, had some magic going for him after all.

As I walked from class to class that afternoon, I was surprised by all the attention I was suddenly getting. It came from everywhere—both the kids and teachers. Even the principal pulled me out of homeroom to talk to me. But after school, things took an ugly turn. As I walked home, I noticed that there were these FBI posters plastered all over the place. They were on trees, mailboxes, and telephone poles. Curious, I stopped to look at one posted on a tree. And there I was; there was a picture of me under the big bold letters: WANTED.

The poster said that I was wanted for armed robbery and there was a reward offered to anyone who had information on my whereabouts. I ripped the poster off of the tree and ran home. When I got inside my door, I ran to the television and turned on the news. There was an emergency bulletin announcing the search was on for WANTED armed robber, Jamie Simmons. That was me. The FBI wanted me!

I thought back to the strange kid at the lunch table. Maybe he was a genie after all. It was obvious that he wasn’t very good at his job though. Who would wish to be WANTED by the FBI? Before I could think any more about this, I heard a bang on the door. “FBI!” someone shouted. I was terrified, but I had no choice but to answer. They were threatening to break down the front door. As I opened the door, an officer burst into my house and told me to get down on the floor. He knelt down and put handcuffs on me. He didn’t seem to care that I was crying like a baby, scared out of my mind. “Jamie Simmons? You are wanted by the FBI!” he announced.

I was arrested that day and put in a juvenile detention center. My mom got me a lawyer, and I am hoping that the truth will come out at my trial next month. I told the lawyer to search for Sean, the genie who ruined my life. I don’t think he believes me about this though. He looks at me like I’m crazy. And so does my mom.

I’ve been in juvie for almost a year now, and I’ve had a lot of time to think. If I could go back to being the girl who sits alone at lunch, unnoticed, I would. That girl was just fine. She just needed to take a chance, put herself out there a little more. But I can’t go back to being that girl. Sean made sure of that. All I can say is be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.


Direct Quotes:
Use quotation marks when you are repeating exactly what was said:
Please turn in your short stories by Friday,” Mrs. Jones said.
Indirect Quotes:
Don’t use quotation marks if you are just talking about what someone said.
Sarah said that she would be here by noon.

He wondered whether Mr. Roberts would say yes.

Direct Quotes:
1. The comma or punctuation mark always goes WITHIN the quotes.
"You need to study more," my teacher said.

“Why can’t you come tonight?” he asked.

2. The dialogue tag, when following a quote, should begin in lower case.
"Is the test on Monday?" he asked.

“I don’t want to go to the dentist!” she cried.

3. If the information following the quote is not a dialogue tag, the dialogue should end with a period, and the information following should be punctuated as a complete sentence.
"I have something to tell you." Sally pulled her friend away from the lunch table.

“Your dog ate your homework?” Mr. Smith studied me with suspicion.

4. If a dialogue tag interrupts a sentence of dialogue, the second portion of the dialogue should be in lower case.
"I don’t care,” Jessie lied, “if I fail the test.”

“Sally,” he said, “the movie starts at eight.”

5. If you want to insert a dialogue tag between two sentences, you would write:
“I don’t want meatloaf for dinner again,” he complained. “I want pizza.”

“I can’t go to the game on Saturday,” Josh revealed. “I’m grounded this weekend.”

6. When writing dialogue, a new paragraph is created every time a new person speaks.

  • Jeremy asked, “Did you make the team?”

  • “No,” I admitted.

  • “Me either,” Jeremy said.

  • “I don’t care,” I lied.

  • “Me neither,” Jeremy lied.

Read your editing partner’s work independently. Use the checklist below and take notes to offer suggestions. Meet with your partner after a careful review of his or her work to offer feedback.

  • I


    s the point of view consistent?

  • Five sentences with good details?

  • Character description focused?

  • Are the tenses past and past perfect (did, was, should have)?

  • Good transitions to show change of place and time?

  • Are events logically connected and in order?

  • Descriptive? Is there imagery to help the reader visualize?

  • Are sentences varied in language and length?






ead your editing partner’s work independently. Use the checklist below and apply proofreading marks to your partner’s paper. You can also take notes to offer suggestions. Meet with your partner after a careful review of his or her work to offer feedback

  • Are sentences complete?

  • Is end punctuation appropriate?

  • Are commas and semicolons used appropriately?

  • Is dialogue constructed correctly?

  • Are proper nouns and “I” capitalized?

  • Is it double-spaced?

STUDENT NAME:__________________________ ADULT EDITOR: __________________________

I want very much to see all students experience success with this writing project. The short story is worth 100 points, so I am hoping that you can provide some assistance with revising and editing at home. The first five paragraphs are due: ___________________________________.

Here is how you can help:

  • Review the rubric with your child

  • Help with editing

  • Check to make sure all suggested changes were made
  • Attach this form to the front of the paper.



Thanks so much for helping to ensure success with this project!



STUDENT NAME:__________________________ ADULT EDITOR: __________________________

I want to thank you for helping your child meet the first deadline for the short story and call upon your assistance in ensuring he or she meets the second deadline. The final and complete copy of the ten paragraph short story is due: __________________________________.

Here is how you can help:

  • Review the rubric with your child

  • Help with editing

  • Check to make sure all suggested changes were made

  • Attach this form to the front of the paper.



Thanks so much for helping to ensure success with this project!

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