The Monthly Fiction Approach Paper Assignment

 The Approach Paper MLA Formatting Requirements:

  • LENGTH – 300-350 typed words 
  • SPACING – Double Spaced
  • FONT – Times New Roman
  • FONT SIZE – 12 pt


  1. MLA Style Heading: Your Full Name, The Date, The Class, The Title, The Author’s Name, The Genre. If this is to be POSTED on a website, incorporate this information into Section 2, but exclude your full name, the date, the class.
  2. Summary Paragraph: Write a five to ten sentence paragraph which explains the ENTIRE work of fiction using as much detail as you can manage. To encourage your writing style, you may use one semi-colon and 1 colon in this paragraph, and every sentence must start out in a different way. This helps make your writing more interesting to read. This is often the most difficult section of the approach paper to write. It will take some time to condense the happenings of your work of fiction into these few sentences which all start differently.
  3. Character Descriptions: Choose three or four main characters in your work of fiction. Write one short paragraph for each character in which you supply the character’s name and four to five words which describe the character distinctly. This is a good time to think about vivid vocabulary words we use in class, check the dictionary, thesaurus. If you use a particular word to describe one character, you may not use that same word to describe another character.
  4. Key Passage (MLA Cited): Choose the most important passage in the work of fiction based on plot development, theme, and conflict and character. Type it up word-for-word in the approach paper. Make sure to identify the speakers.
  5. Key Passage Explanation (MLA Cited): In a fully-developed paragraph, you must explain any mentioned or inferred themes connected to the key passage, and explain why your chosen passage is important to understanding the conflict/resolution of the entire work of fiction. In your explanation, make sure you integrate quotations (actual words or phrases from the key passage and other parts of the work of fiction) to strengthen your explanation. This selected passage will always offer clues to the story’s big ideas.
  6. Your Opinion: In two to three paragraphs, write about what you liked/disliked most OR least about this story. This can be about the author’s style, characters, themes, settings, literary devices, cinematic devices, etc. Be sure to explain by using details (quotations) to support your response. Tell why you would or would not recommend this work of fiction to someone.
  7. Discussion/Essay Questions: Write three questions on UNIVERSAL THEMES or BIG IDEAS that a teacher might ask you because of the story either in class or for an essay. These questions should be high level and thought-provoking. People will usually have a detailed answer to satisfy the question. They almost always take more than one line to type because (1) they ask the reader to combine more than one idea (plot & the theme of love lost, conflict and the theme of old age and dying, etc.), AND (2) they always require the person questioned to take an idea OUT of the story and APPLY it to their own life. Just writing these types of questions helps you to anticipate what questions might be asked of you in class discussions or on a test and encourages you to think more insightfully about the life.
  8. MLA Citation: Use to create a citation for your work of fiction.

Due Dates occur all the time. I will track your reading. Approach Papers are due 3 days after you finish a work of fiction. Monthly grades close on the last school day of each month.

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