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How do you write a story like Tiger and Turtle?

I used an age-old trick in storytelling.

I wrote about a problem and how the problem was solved.  Who solved the problem? The main characters.

I kept the story simple. I had only two main characters.

Next I answered these 7 questions:

Who are the two main characters?

          Tiger and Turtle.

2  Where are they?

        In a forest.

3  What is something important about the two characters?

         They were not friends. They stayed out of each other’s               way.

4  What was the problem?

      They both wanted the same flower.

5  Why wasn’t there a solution?

        They would not stop fighting over the flower.

6  What was the solution finally?

        They saw there were millions of flowers.

7  How did the solution change the two characters forever?

      They became friends.

          Hint: the solution always has something to do with what you said was important about the two characters.

Now choose two characters and answer these same questions. The answers should give you a story!

I am going to choose two animals: an alligator and a flamingo! I’ll write the story by answering the questions and see where the answers take me. Writing isn’t just about finding the right words. It’s also about building a good, strong story.

  1. 1.Alligator and Flamingo.

  2. 2.A swamp.

  3. 3.Alligator thinks Flamingo is beautiful.

  4. 4.Alligator loves Flamingo, but she doesn’t love him.

  5. 5.Flamingo always flies away.

  6. 6.See below.

  7. 7.See below.


The Alligator and the Flamingo


    One day Alligator was going through the Great Swamp when he spied a flamingo. She was beautiful! Pink and delicate. Tall and elegant. Immediately Alligator fell in love.

    He swam over to her and called, “Oh, miss! Miss!”

    But she would have nothing to do with him. She immediately flew off.

    Such grace in the sky!  An angel!

    Alligator was more in love than ever before.

[How are we going to get the two of them together?]

     Day after day, Alligator tried to get Flamingo to stay and talk to him, but she always flew off.

    Finally, Alligator could stand it no longer. From a distance, he poked his snout out of the water and yelled, “I love you, Flamingo!”

    Flamingo turned and said laughing, “You in love with me? Impossible!” And she flew off.

[Now here’s a real problem. There doesn’t seem to be a solution. Of course, Alligator is not going to give up no matter how Flamingo treats him. What can change the situation? Here are three answers to question 6. Number One: Maybe alligator hunters come to the swamp and Flamingo, flying high overhead, spies them and warns Alligator.]

    “Thank you for saving my life,” Alligator said to Flamingo. “I thought you didn’t like me.”

    “I just couldn’t let them get you,” she said.

    “Then, you like me?”

    “Yes,” she said smiling the way flamingos do with their long curved beaks. “Yes, I guess I really do.”


[Answer Number One is a little weak. We don’t feel like the story should end here. It should go on. Here’s Answer Number Two: a  hurricane comes up suddenly and Flamingo is in great danger. Alligator saves her life by protecting her from the storm.]

    “Thank you for saving my life,” Flamingo said to Alligator, when the hurricane had passed. Then she flew off. Alligator was disappointed, but what could he do?

    The next day, Alligator saw Flamingo standing, as always, at the water’s edge. But this time, as he swam by, she called to him, “Alligator! Come. I have made a picnic for us.”

    It was a small thing that picnic, but it was the start of a long and beautiful friendship just the same.

[Or maybe you want Alligator to learn something important, something you might have had to learn . . . the hard way. Here’s Answer Number Three]

    After a time, Alligator stopped coming to see Flamingo. He made friends with the other animals of the swamp.

    “Some things are just never meant to be,” he said to himself one day.

    Then he smiled, a big alligator smile and said,“But she was still the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.”

[Are there other answers to Question 6?  Of course, there are! I am sure that you can think of some.]

In Tiger and Turtle, Tiger and Turtle have a fight over a flower because they both want it. The fight ends when they both see that there are millions of flowers just like the one they fought over. Only then do they understand how foolish they had been.

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