A Pirate's Resources

Gaps and Expectations

Exercise 24 :: Gaps and Expectations :: When you least expect it

The opening line to this exercise says it all. “Things don’t always go the way we expect them to.” True in life, true in story. Especially true in a good story, one that really grabs your interest and keeps it all the way through.

gap occurs when a character expects things will go one way and then discovers they’re going another. Anytime something happens that isn’t expected, it is a gap. A good story is full of them, because it keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. A gap can be a wonderful surprise or a horrible shock. It can be dramatic, like Harry Potter running straight into the railway station wall, and coming out on Platform 9 3/4. It can be very minor, like when you get to the grocery store to buy toilet paper and somehow, they are out. It can also be subtle, like when you compliment someone and they don’t have a reaction. Anytime our expectations aren’t met, there is a gap.

The exercises will lead your student through the creation of gaps within little mini stories. Encourage them to take a favorite story or scene, and look for the gaps in it. Ask them to share how it makes them, as the reader/viewer, feel when those gaps occur. If they are writing a story, encourage them to see where gaps might take place, surprising the reader (and characters?) and making them want to keep reading.

In Real Life :: For some people, gaps and expectations are a big deal, personally. Some are extremely flexible, and can go with the flow, so when they arrive at the ice cream store on a summer day and the sign reads ‘closed,’ they shrug their shoulders and decide to go for a pretzel next door. Others come upon a gap, and it throws them for a loop. Knowing this about your child, and helping your child to understand what expectations are, and what a gap is, gives you a vocabulary for talking about what they are experiencing, and why it may be hard for them or others. It might help them to see some of these gaps as something to look forward to, that all gaps are not negative. As always, we at Wondertale Press want these exercises and storytelling elements to be something that enriches the every day lives of you and your student.

Finding it in the Story :: pg 271-274 :: these chapters are full of gaps and expectations that aren’t met, including :: first sentence, the physical “gap” that leads out into the sea; they didn’t find the island; the island is invisible; some monkeys don’t want to look again; Monkey Mackenzie is brave and looks, and sees; Monkey Monica refuses; the first mate has to stay behind; the captain’s boat vanishes; Monkey Mo Mo gives up.