Yesterday I was explaining the main story pattern to storytelling workshop participants. Since the marker did not write well enough I used notebook pages to demonstrate the pattern and placed them on the floor in front of the group.
After we were over with the explanation and Q&A I invited one of them to tell a story. So it became that she was sitting on a chair telling a story as the notes were lying at her feet. I suddenly noticed the other participants were listening to her but at the same time they looked at the notes, trying to figure out if and how the story fits the pattern. It did perfectly.
They asked me to show them again how, since they could feel that as the story proceeded they were evaluating parts of it as parts of the pattern and later on, when the story was complete, they realized their choices needed some moderation.
This phenomenon happens rather often with beginners and I could see how figuring out the pattern in the story in action helped understanding. So…
Have one note per story part: Opening scene, generating event, 1st 2nd & 3rd challenge phases, dramatic peak and closure scene. Give them to the students and ask them to see the entire story before they start telling. Give them some time to think.
When they feel ready, ask them to place the right note when that time in the story arrives as they tell. Ask them to consider not only placing the notes along a time line but also according to the emotional arch the plot creates in the listener (them in this case).