Checkpoint piece

Checkpoint page
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Let's pull everything together with a checkpoint piece. The snippet below has many of the elements we've explored in this lesson:

  • Goal described in an evocative way
  • Motivation
  • Action
  • Conflict

My favourite programme was Shaka Laka Boom Boom, an Indian children's series about a boy called Sanju who has a magic pencil. Everything he drew became real. If he drew a vegetable or a policeman, the vegetable or policeman would magically appear. If he accidentally drew a snake he could erase it and the snake would disappear. He used his pencil to help people – he even saved his parents from gangsters – and I wanted that magic pencil more than anything else in the world.

At night I would pray, "God, give me Sanju's pencil. I won't tell anyone. Just leave it in my cupboard. I will use it to make everyone happy." As soon as I finished praying, I would check the drawer. The pencil was never there, but I knew who I would help first.

  • Evocative description: Yousafzai uses vivid images and repetition to make us feel like the pencil is special.
  • Goal: She says what she wants—that magic pencil!
  • Motivation: She tells us why she wants it—to make everyone happy.
  • Behaviour: How does she take action towards her goal? She prays to God, and checks her drawer.
  • Conflict: God doesn't provide the pencil.
  • Reaction: How does she respond to the conflict? She doesn't give up; she thinks about who she would help first.

Feel free to use the elements in any order—you don't have to follow the pattern rigidly.

You'll need the following ingredients:

  • A character.
  • Something they want—something you can vividly imagine.
  • Why do they want it?
  • What might they do to get it?
  • A source of conflict—something that opposes their goal
  • Reaction—how they respond to that opposition: do they give up, keep going, change approach?
Describe what a character wants and why they want it, what they do to get it, and how the react to conflict.

When you're satisfied with your writing, we can wrap up this lesson.