Workshops - Interdiction
Interdiction Writing Residency

A Story Opening Sequence

Sequence with Interdiction

Teachers: An Interdiction is a prohibition or ban. In a story, it is when a character is told something that they must not do. Of course, we know that they will do the thing they're not supposed to do and that is where the trouble starts. The following activity will teach students a simple six-part sequence to open a story with an interdiction. Please maintain our two rules. Stories are nonviolent and original.
In this exercise, we will create animal characters in a sequence found in many popular folktales for example, the well known African American folktale, The Gunny Wolf (Two characters live together. One has to go away and leaves the other one an important warning of something not to do.)

Create a Main Character. Once upon a time, there was a frog named Bob.

Tell who the MC lived with. Bob lived with a mouse named Sarah.

Tell where they lived. They lived in a little, red house on a hill.

Tell "One day," what the MC was doing in or around the house. One day, Bob was cooking spaghetti for dinner.

Tell where the other character had to go. Sarah had to go to the store to get desert.

Tell, "Before they left," what they told the MC not to do. Before she left, Sarah told Bob not to use the spice in the blue bottle.


Have 6 students stand in front of the class in two groups of three. (Adults should participate too.)
Assign each students one part of the sequence. Each gives a complete sentence. Explain that parts 1-3 represent the first paragraph of the story. This paragraph introduces your characters and setting. The second paragraph starts the story by telling what was happening on the day of the problem. This is why we start this paragraph, "One day."
Have them create and tell the opening of a story.
Repeat this process until every person in the class has participated in at least one story opening.
Try having pairs of students tell, one telling 1-3, and the other telling 4-6. Have them use their own names as the two characters.
Have individuals try telling a story opening from the sequence.