Mr. Patterson's Blog

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Collective Short Stories

Hey Chumps,

I made some book covers for your short stories. Hope you like ’em.


Test Review Post

Here’s everything you need to know for the test on Friday


  • Ant of the Self by ZZ Packer
  • Memento Mori by Jonathan Nolan
  • 2 Stories by B.J. Novak (A Good Problem to Have and Julie and the Warlord)
  • Love Dishonor Marry Die Cherish Perish by David Rakoff

Short Films:

  • Night on Earth – New York
  • The Stutterer
  • Six Shooter


In addition, we’ve studied the following story theories

  • Andrew Stanton’s story model

Image result for stanton ted story

  • The hero’s journey/story circle

Image result for story circle

  • Unconventional story techniques

Unconventional Story Styles

  • Christopher Boone’s 7 Story Types

7 basic plots

Before we’re done, we’ll add one more story, one more theory and one more film to the list

Prompt 7: The last short story prompt

Hey Punkazoos,

Today we’re going to do the last short story prompt. Once this is done, we’ll have 4 story prompts to chose from that you will ultimately expand into a longer story.

Before we get to that, I thought I’d show you this. It’s a series of joke prompts from a website I absolutely love called McSweeney’s. Here they are:

Ok, fun time over. Here’s your prompt.

Prompt 7:  Fish out of Water

I thought today we’d do something relatively simple for our last story prompt. The two BJ Novak stories both applied a very simple trick of storytelling that makes it easy to advance plot and plug in ideas: Putting a character in an incongruous setting. When a character is put in a place that they don’t belong, it instantly moves the plot, either in an attempt to regulate this situation or conflict that comes from this.

With that in mind, here’s your prompt.

a) takes place in a singular location

b) features a character that seems out of place in that setting



Writer’s State of the Class Address

Hey Dorks,

With one month before the break, I thought it might be a good idea to drop a post detailing exactly where we are in the course vis-a-vis work completed and what’s coming up.

Current Unit:

We are currently neck deep into our short story unit. We’ve jumped back and forth between looking at specific stories and theories to study them by. Just as a reminder, we’ve so far looked at the following.


  • Ant of the Self
  • Memento Mori
  • 2 Stories by B.J. Novak (A Good Problem to Have and Julie and the Warlord)

Short Films:

  • Night on Earth – New York
  • The Stutterer

In addition, we’ve studied the following story theories

  • Andrew Stanton’s story model
  • The hero’s journey/story circle
  • Unconventional story techniques

Before we’re done, we’ll add one more story, one more theory and one more film to the list.

Prompt Books:

You’ve done 2 more prompts since I returned your books, both story based. The first was the one about telling the story from another perspective. The second was doing one of the class generated prompts. We’ll do one more before our story unit is through.

Evaluative Pieces I have:

So far I’ve only collected a few small bits and pieces, mostly to see that you’ve been paying attention. I do need to get those back to you.

  1. The story circle from the short film – Marked on to be returned next class
  2. Ant of the Self questions – Will come back to you this Thursday (If all things work out as they should)

Evaluative Pieces to come:

As we move to the end of the year, and this unit, larger bits of work will be coming in.

  1. Short Story Test – This will happen most in about two weeks. I’ll go over what you need to know and what the test will look like.
  2. Shared Story – Most of you have already contributed to this. I think we’re up to our final groups this week. As long as you contributed the minimum requirement of words, wrote in something resembling English and didn’t completely derail the story, you’ll do fine.
  3. A short story – The last thing will be to write a shorty story of your own. I’ll provide the required steps in class. We’ll use a prompt as a starting off point in hopes of making this less onerous.

I won’t be collecting prompt books any time soon so you can relax about that.



Prompt #5: Shifting Perspective

Hey Punkyaloids,

Last class we looked at a bunch of story techniques that you might consider unconventional. Today I thought I’d give you a shot at writing with one of them. I thought we could look at something kind of fun which is re-imaging pre-existing stories from other perspectives.

Before we write, let’s look at a few examples.

We looked at a few examples…

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead tell the story of Hamlet from the point of view of his doomed friends.

Mary Riley was the story of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde told though his assistants eyes

The Hank Scorpio episode of the Simpsons has Homer working for a James Bond villain

Wicked was the story of The Wizard of Oz from the perspective of the witch


Here was the prompt:

Pick a story you already know (kids story, novel, movie, etc) and write a short story form the perspective of somebody other than the protagonist/narrator.


Star Wars from the perspective of Storm Trooper on the Death Star

Snow White from the perspective of one of the seven dwarfs

Finding Nemo from the perspective of that stupid ass turtle


Chose a story and retell it in a different style


Image result for shakespeare starwars

Image result for shakespeare starwars

Image result for pride and prejudice and zombies Image result for sense and sensibility and sea monsters

Image result for matilda musical

Image result for evil dead the musical

Image result for little shop of horrors




Joseph Campbell and the Story Circle

Hey All,

Today we talked a bit about the Hero’s Journey (or THE MONOMYTH), a story telling model created by Joseph Campbell in the 50’s.

Here’s Campbell talking a little about why studying our myths are so important:

The problem with looking at the Hero’s Journey is that Campbell never laid it out as a series of simple steps. Instead, literary theorist keep taking his work and trying to break it down into a easy to follow chart that is often anything but…

To give you an idea, here’s his model in 17 steps:

Here’s literary theorist Kurt Vogler’s version for the 1970’s

Image result for 12 stages of hero's journey

And here’s third version, using Star Wars as a running example:



The truth is that while many of these models have a lot to offer, the only one I’d really like you to commit to memory is the modern version of this, the Campbell Story Circle. It looks like this:

Image result for story circle

I prefer this model because the more classic and expansive Campbell models serves story telling in expansive novels but are harder to apply to shorter works of fiction. This model is a catch-all and works very well for story telling.

Many disciples of Campbell swear by this model. Of of them is TV writer Dan Harmon. In class we’re going to watch an episode of the show Rick and Morty. I want you to follow along with the story circle model. After we’re done watching we’ll compare answer to that of the writer.