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Speech 251 Handout Packet Table of Contents - page 15 / 25





15 / 25

The Following student’s outline is a sample outline that you may use as a

guide as you prepare your informative speech preparation outline. will want to include all the labels that you see in this outline.

You The

following is the exact format and Visual Framework I would like you to use for your Informative Preparation Outline, however, yours will be full size. *************************************************************************

Specific Purpose: I will inform my audience about what a good story includes.

Central Idea:

A good story includes well-developed characters engaged in realistic dialogue, an interesting plot, and a vivid setting.



(Attention Getter) Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.........................The Grapes of Wrath


John Steinbeck........................Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling............................ Three incredible storytellers who have provided hours of exciting drama for readers throughout the world. Have you read books like these, where the action taking place in the story is so gripping that it is on your mind even when you're not reading? Has that preoccupation sometimes seemed more appealing than your own reality?

  • II.

    (Reveal Topic) Today I'm going to share with you some basic guidelines that these three authors have used in creating their masterpieces. I'm going to explain to you how to go about writing a good story.

  • III.

    (Credibility Statement) In addition to completing many writing-intensive classes here at MCC, I've also written several short stories and some poetry. I won the League for Innovation Literary Competition the past two years--once for short story and once for poetry.

  • IV.

    (Relevancy Statement) Because each of you is going to have the opportunity to complete at least one writing-intensive class as a prerequisite to graduation, the information that I'm about to share with you should prove very helpful. In fact, if you follow this formula, I can guarantee you an A!

  • V.

    (Preview) A good story includes well-developed characters engaged in realistic dialogue, an interesting plot, and a vivid setting.

(TRANSITION: Let's start with what is widely regarded as the most important components of a good story: the characters and the way that they speak.)



(MP 1) A good story includes well-developed characters engaged in realistic dialogue.

(INTERNAL PREVIEW) Three vital steps toward developing your characters are: get to know them intimately, give them a relevant past, and provide them with realistic dialogue.

  • A.

    (SUB-POINT 1) Get to know your characters intimately.

    • 1.

      (SSP 1) Figure them out. In her national bestseller, bird by bird, author Anne Lamott tells us that, as a writer, "you need to find out as much as possible about the interior life of the people you are working with."

  • a.

    (SSSP 1) You must determine what kind of a person each individual character is.

    • i.

      (SSSSP) What motivates them?


(SSSSP) What do they care about?

(SSSP 2) Make your characters multifaceted.


(SSSSP) Remember that no one is "all good"


(SSSSP) Or "all bad."



  • 2.

    (SSP 2) Reveal the characters. Also in bird by bird, Lamott writes that "Everyone is walking around as an advertisement for who he or she is--so who is this person? Show us."

    • a.

      (SSSP 1) The reader wants to emotionally connect with the


  • i.

    (SSSSP) Let the reader inside the characters' heads.

  • ii.

    (SSSSP) Show what makes them angry or sad; what

would they teach their children?

  • b.

    (SSSP 2) Give detail about the characters' physical appearance.

    • i.

      (SSSSP) What do they look like?

    • ii.

      (SSSSP) How do they hold themselves (are they

slouched like an old hat or erect like a five-star general)?

      • iii.

        (SSSSP) How do they move?

  • B.

    (SUBPOINT 2) Give your characters a relevant past.

    • 1.

      (SSP 1) Characters who have survived or are surviving a great deal are the

most likable, so place hard times in their lives.

    • 2.

      (SSP 2) Make it plain how their past has shaped them into the person that they are now, and make their behavior support this individuality.

  • C.

    (SUBPOINT 3) Provide your characters with realistic dialogue.

  • 1.

    (SSP 1) One line of dialogue that rings true reveals character in a way that pages of description can't.

  • 2.

    (SSP 2) Robert Houston, reviewer for The Nation wrote, "...Nearly 200 years ago, Wordsworth and Coleridge [two literary giants] started a revolution when they proclaimed their aim to write in 'the language really used by men.' Neither of them quite achieved that...."

  • 3.

    (SSP 3) Make each character sound real and unique.

    • a.

      (SSSP 1) Allow the reader to identify the character by what he or she says.


(SSSP 2) Allow the reader to identify the character by the way in which he or she says it.

(INTERNAL SUMMARY) Once we are thoroughly acquainted with our characters, have given them a past that provides explanation for who they are, and have placed true-to-life words in their mouths, we have a wonderful foundation for our story.

(TRANSITION) Next we'll see how to place the characters into an intense situation--providing the drama that the reader craves.

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