Writing a Story with the Main Idea and Key Details - Orchids The International School
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Story Writing

Concept: Writing a Story with the Main Idea and Key Details

What is the Main Idea in a Story?

  • The main idea is the central concept of a story that the author wants to communicate to its readers. Finding the main idea is sometimes a challenge depending upon the plot of the story.
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  • As the subject is to a sentence, the main idea is to a story. We are aware of the fact that even a subject sometimes remains disguised or always it may not be something to begin with. The same applies with the main idea in a story.
  • Often the key details taken together point at the main idea.

What are the Key Details of a Story?

  • The key details of a story helps the reader what the main message is. Key details consists of important pieces of information that support the main idea of a story.
  • While listening to a story, pay attention to the details regarding the character’s dialogue and action. These are the details the author uses to add more information about the main idea.
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How to Integrate the Main Idea in a Story?

To develop the main idea of a story a lot of thought is required before it can become a full-fledged story. So how do you get to the point where you have a main idea to write an entire story?

  1. It is important to identify the central idea of the story. It gives you a surety that your idea is a compact one and an entire story can be made out of it.
  2. Discern your general aim for writing the story. Put your precise purpose statement along with key details of the story. Bring it all together by combining a clear concise main idea. Read for how to add the key details to a story.

How to Integrate the Key Details in a Story?

  1. Support the main idea with details by giving information like telling what, how, when, why, where, how many, or how much about the character.
    • What –Find the topic or theme of the story.
    • When – Identify the specific time period.
    • Where – Determine setting or specific place.
    • Why – Identify a reason for what happens in the story.
  2. Stories must have details that include the five senses.
    • To create key details, you must have keen observation skills and use your five senses to describe the situation or story. Include details of sound, sight, touch, taste and smell can help to craft a story filled with vital details.
    • For example, when describing a character, you can write about his looks, how he talks to others, how he laughs etc. Incorporate any of the five senses into your story which will add to the descriptive details.
  3. Use metaphor or similes to compare elements of your story to something unrelated, but at the same time evoke connections for the reader.

Examples:

Read the story and write a paragraph using the chart given below:

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The Selfish Giant

There once lived a giant who had a large lovely garden around his house, with soft green grass. Here and there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve peach-trees that in the spring-time broke out into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl, and in the autumn bore rich fruit.
Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant’s garden.
The Giant had left his house to meet a friend, an ogre. He stayed with his friend for seven years. He decided to return home back to his beautiful garden. When he arrived, he saw the children playing in the garden.
“What are you doing here?” he cried in a very gruff voice, and the children ran away.
“My own garden is my own garden,” said the Giant; “any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself.” So he built a high wall all around it, and put up a notice-board.

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He was a very selfish Giant. The poor children had now nowhere to play.
Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still winter. The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom.
One morning the Giant heard the bird singing in his garden. The north wind stopped roaring, and the hail had stopped falling too. The Giant went out to his garden and saw children had crept into the garden, and they were playing, and some were climbing the trees. The trees were happy, for they bowed low to help the children climb. Looking at this, the Giant’s heart melted. He realized that he had been selfish.

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From that day onwards, he never stopped children from playing in his garden.

Main Idea:
The Giant didn’t want children to play in his garden.
Key details 1:
The Giant said the statement, “My own garden is my own garden, any
one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but
myself.

Key details 2:
The Giant also hung the poster “Trespassers will be prosecuted” to warn anyone who came to his garden.

Common Mistakes

  1. Do not presume the main idea by just reading first few lines or paragraphs. Do not identify the main idea on the first impression that you get. You must read the story thoroughly.
  2. When it comes to identifying the main idea there’s more to it than what meets the eye. It is vital to explore the text and examine the supporting details use your critical thinking skills to determine the main idea.
  3. Select details for your story that are important to the main idea. Especially while writing a short story, each detail must contribute to the complete story.
  4. Do not key details and main idea : Main idea is what the story is mostly about. Key or supporting details explains facts, examples that help to describe the main idea.
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