Narrative Writing


Story Spine Examples

Read the following Story Spine outlines, then take the quiz at the bottom of the page.

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

Once upon a time there was a widowed fish named Marlin who was extremely protective of his only son, Nemo.

Every day, Marlin warned Nemo of the ocean’s dangers and implored him not to swim far away.

But one day, in an act of defiance, Nemo ignored his father’s warnings and swam into the open water.

Because of that, he was captured by a diver and ended up in the fish tank of a dentist in Sydney.

Because of that, Marlin set off on a journey to recover Nemo, enlisting the help of other sea creatures along the way.

Until finally, Marlin and Nemo found each other, reunited and learned that love depends on trust.

The Incredibles

The Incredibles

Once upon a time there was a superhero named Mr. Incredible who was forced to live as an ordinary man in a society where superheroes were outlawed.

Every day, he grew more and more frustrated with his stifling, boring life.

But one day, he accepted a secret superhero job from a mysterious stranger.

Because of that, he fell into the diabolical trap of this mysterious stranger who turned out to be Syndrome, a super villain with a long-time grudge against Mr. Incredible.

Because of that, Syndrome was able to capture and imprison Mr. Incredible.

Because of that, Syndrome could now put his master plan into motion by setting a giant, killer-robot loose on civilization.

Until finally, Mr. Incredible escaped from his prison and foiled the villain by destroying the giant, killer-robot.

And ever since then, he was loved by all and able to be a Superhero again.

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Once upon a time, in the same city, there were two prominent families who despised each other.

Every day, the families fought, feuded, and murdered each other’s members.

But one day, the son of one of the families crashed the birthday party of the daughter of the other family.

Because of that, the son and daughter fell in love.

Because of that, they secretly married.

Because of that, the son wanted the killing to stop.

Because of that, he stepped in the middle of a fight and inadvertently caused the death of his best friend.

Because of that, in agony and rage, he killed the killer, his wife’s cousin.

Because of that, he was banished.

Because of that, the lovers needed to employ a complicated plan to be reunited.

Because the plan was complicated, and depended on other people, communication broke down.

Because the message didn't get to him, the son didn't realize that his wife was faking her death, and he thought she was really dead when he found her in the family tomb.

Because of that, he killed himself.

Until finally, the daughter awoke to find her husband dead beside her, and she plunged his knife into her body, just as members of both families entered the tomb to find their beloved children dead.

And ever since then, both families have stopped the nonsensical war between them and have learned to cooperate and live happily together.

Instruction for the Quiz

Answer the questions.