First 100 words
Get straight into the story by picking a pivotal point in the narrative. Find something newsworthy (something that will be of interest to an average reader). When interviewing listen for a quirky tale, something odd, interesting, surprising or amazingly ordinary as this could provide the starting point for your story.
For example: if you are writing about a lollipop lady who has just retired, you can start by telling your readers how she spent her last day helping children to and from school. What was the last thing she did as a lollipop lady? What do people who know her say about her?
Next 150 words
Now give context and the necessary background detail.
You have hooked the reader with an entertaining and surprising opening, now give a bigger picture. Why is she worth knowing? Include her background – where she was born, where she grew up and what she did before becoming a lollipop lady. And how did she become a lollipop lady? What do friends, family members and parents have to say about her. Make your readers want to meet her.
Next 300 words
This is the main body of your story. Paint in the details of her experience as a lollipop lady. Take the reader through the highlights and low points of her job. Highlight the most memorable experiences and encounters. Did anyone ever threaten to run her down? What are her happiest moments, most painful? What do the people she worked with remember? What’s their favourite memory of her as a lollipop lady? What difference has she made to their life?
Ending: 50 words
Round things up either by looping back to the beginning or with another telling point. Is she planning to embark on another adventure or has she had enough. If you have a good quote, you can let her or another person have the last word.