Imagine the Scene
The texts in this collection focus on the historical efforts to bring freedom and justice to all members of the
Look back at the anchor text, Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, and at the other texts in this collection.
Imagine being alive during the Civil War Period.
In this activity, you will write a 500-1000 word fictional narrative (short story) synthesizing the historical
information found in these texts. (Check out these Top 500-word winning stories (opens in a new window)
as examples of length and style.)
Review “Civil War and Reconstruction” on pages 277-288; the film “Freedom’s Road: Slavery and the
Opposition (opens in a new window);” “Second Inaugural Address” on page 279; the film “The Second
Inaugural Address (opens in a new window),: “The Emancipation Proclamation” on page CR57;” and the
film “The 54th Massachusetts (opens in a new window)”
Take notes about the people in these documents and documentaries.
How did the events described in these texts and films affect real people at the time?
The characters, events, and setting of your story should reflect the history you learned in these texts.
Write down some ideas for your story:
Who will be in your story? A child, a teenager, or adult living during the Civil War? What problems will your
character face? Where will your story take place?
How will your story begin? end?
What historical facts will you include in your story? Will you describe a particular battle or civilian life during
the war? Will your character witness Lincoln’s second inaugural, be a member of the 54th Massachusetts,
or a lesser-known figure of the war such as a family member of a soldier or a prisoner in a war camp?
Map the plot of your story.
Write Your Story
Begin by introducing your readers to the setting, the main character(s), and a conflict or experience that will
be central to the plot or narrative structure (opens in a new window).
Describe a clear sequence of events (opens in a new window). In a short story, it’s especially important that
these events build toward a climax and a resolution to the conflict.
Use descriptive details (opens in a new window) and narrative techniques to make the setting, characters
(opens in a new window) and events realistic for your readers.
Include dialogue (opens in a new window)
Provide a satisfying conclusion. A short story should end by resolving the central conflict.
Check your word count. Your story should be at least 500 words.
Improve Your Draft
Exchange your draft with a partner. Reach out to a classmate through the course general discussion forum
or find a partner at home or at school. Ask the reader to answer the questions below and use feedback
from your partner to revise the draft.
Are the plot, setting, and characters fully developed? Suggest additional narrative techniques or descriptive
language that could be used.
Is the sequence of events clear? Could more transitions help clarify the narrative?
Do the setting, characters, and events successfully convey the theme your partner intended to express?