My Meaningful Composition co-author (my oldest child Joshua) and I have been writing a novel for, um, four years now. Well, truth be told, he has been writing it for nearly twenty years as he started outlining it when he was eighteen years old. It is finished actually, but Joshua is a perfectionist (at teaching, instructional writing, lesson plan preparation, and novel writing), so it isn’t finished in his eyes. We recently got it back out, dusted it off, and dug in to find his perfect spot again (and add in more technology…do you know how much things change in our world in four years?).


Twice Told Tales: Story Writing Curriculum

I have written seventy-five books in the past fifteen years—averaging 800 pages a book. The first forty were completely new books, and the next thirty-five have been re-writes and new books taken out of the original forty (i.e. half of the MC lessons came out of Character Quality Language Arts, for instance). But it has been a long journey nonetheless.

But it has been nothing in comparison to the difficulty, “how do I do this?” “out of my element completely” novel writing of this mere two hundred page young adult dystopian thriller that Joshua and I have written together.

In a nutshell, novel writing is hard work. Story writing is hard work. And not a natural skill by any means.

That is why I am so excited about our Twice-Told Tale lessons (called Piggyback Stories in CQLA). They make story writing pain-free (virtually) by starting out with a plot that students build off of.

They are incredibly fun for students, and they are my most Directed Writing Approach-infused lessons to date. (And all of my books are extremely Directed Writing Approach-focused!)

You can find some of these lessons in the list below….but here is a taste of a lesson I taught with one of them. Not for the faint of heart—but very doable for students. I love that!


Look for more of these lessons here:


Check out “Twice Told Tales” at our store below! 

(Also available at CurrClick, Teachers Pay Teachers, and Teachers Notebook!)

Really Writing: Twice Told Tales







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