How (not) to Write a Boring Book (The Grabill Scale of Literary Tension)

I first started thinking about tension when I heard Donald Maass speak at a conference some years ago. He described how the simple scene of a man looking at his watch while waiting for a bus can go from bland to Bang in a matter of words. Since then I have often noticed the varying levels of tension, both in books I have enjoyed and in those I haven’t. Here I'll discuss the ten levels of tension, and what they mean to the writer.

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Comparative Literature Study: Little Red Riding Hood

Nearly every elementary school teacher will need to prep a lesson on fairy tales, specifically comparing fairy tale versions. Many wonderful options exist, and many we’ve used ourselves. One of my favorites has always been Little Red Riding Hood. Of course when it came time to write a fractured fairy tale of my own, I picked one of my favorite tales! Find a FREE comparative literature printable unit study based on Violet and the Woof and Little Red Riding Hood.

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Retell Little Red Riding Hood (aka Violet and the Woof)!

I’ve created a set of Violet and the Woof stick puppets—complete with a puppet stage. Print (card stock is best for this), cut, paste onto craft sticks to retell the story of Violet’s adventure again and again. And be happy knowing you’re helping develop the love of literature and early reading skills.

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