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       Is creative writing your thing?  

Then writing a scenario may be for you!




What is Scenario Writing?

Scenario writing is an individual competition in which students develop short stories related to one of the five FPS topics for the year.  The story is set at least 20 years in the future and is an imagined but logical outgrowth of actions or events taking place in the world today.  The story should focus on one main character and develop that character through the plot of the story. 


Why Scenario Writing?

Today’s students will spend most of their lives in the 21st century.  Our job as educators is to prepare students to think critically about the future and to create images of what the future may be like.  Through scenario writing, students are able to enlarge, enrich, and make more accurate those images of the future, while honing their creative writing skills.


Who can participate in Scenario Writing?

Students may participate in Scenario Writing in three divisions: Junior (grades 4-6), Middle (grades 7-9), and Senior (grades 10-12).  For students who participate in the regular or curricular components of Future Problem Solving, Scenario Writing can serve as an excellent complement to their work on any of the topics used during the year.  Scenario Writing is also an excellent offering for students who do not participate in other components of FPS; the creative writing involved may appeal to students who are not drawn to the team orientation of the other components.  Scenario Writing can be used as a stand-alone activity by an FPS coach, an English teacher, or any other instructor with students who are interested in creative writing.


Do students need to know the 6-step process for scenarios?

Although knowing the process can help students to think about the future, it is not a prerequisite for scenario writing.  However, the scenarios must relate to one of the year’s topics, so students should do some background reading about the topic they select for their story.  The Readings, Research, & Resources manual from the FPSP Catalog Company contains article summaries for four of the topics, but students may also do their own research in publications.  The five topics are listed earlier in this booklet and on the Wisconsin and International FPS websites.


How can I get started with my students?

The best way to become acquainted with scenarios is for you and your students to read many of them.  In addition to carrying the Scenario Writing Guide, each year the FPSP Catalog Company (1-800-256-1499 or publishes the stories of the international winners in each division.  You may also contact the state program for booklets of recent Wisconsin winners at $5 per booklet.


How much help should I give?

The student’s writing must be original. As coach, you may read the student’s work, ask questions that occur to you as a reader, and make general suggestions for improvement. All authors should receive adult help to correct all spelling, grammar, and punctuation.


How do I register students for Scenario Writing?

Click on the "Scenarios" button here. You will be directed to our registration page where you will find buttons to click on for scenario information (guidelines for submission, tips for coaches and students, evaluation information, a sample scenario), official entry sheets (these may be duplicated) and a publication release form.  The fee per entry and publication release are submitted along with the story.  The postmark date is in late January.


How are scenarios evaluated?

State evaluators read scenarios during the month of February.  The aspects they consider include mechanics/structure, audience, purpose, style, idea development, character development, creative thinking, and futuristic thinking.  The top three scenarios in each division are published in a booklet by the Wisconsin FPS Program.  Their authors are invited to attend the opening or closing ceremonies of the State Bowl to read their stories.  These winning stories are also submitted for consideration in the international level competition.

See REGISTRATION & FEES for participation information and entry forms.

Excerpt from

Skittles for Calisto

Middle Division 2007

Topic: Cultural Prejudice

1st Place, Wisconsin FPS

1st Place, International FPS


     Earth humans are dumber than space rocks. Earth humans are short, with piggy little eyes, stupid clothes, and they listen to horrible music. You may ask: why am I different from them? Well, because I’m a Martian. No, I am not an alien. I’m a human… a real human. The humans that never left that ugly blob they have the audacity to call The Blue Planet are so yesterday. Me? I’m an all-Martian girl. I’m a human of today.

     Here’s the deal. In 2031 a colony of two hundred people was established on Mars, Colony Olympus. My mother, Marusu Sasaki, was the very first baby ever born on Mars. In the eyes of the Earthlings, she was nothing short of a goddess. A couple of decades later, she married my dad and had me, Calisto Sasaki. My parents nicknamed me Cali when I was little, but no one who wanted their skull to stay intact ever called me that in public.

     Anyway, I grew up on Mars, where there is a reasonable amount of gravity, instead of bowling-ball weight, where you wear an oxygen tank and a space helmet whenever you go outside, where it’s nice and cool instead of boiling hot, where you work as a team and stay in a dark, tight space instead of the dizzying openness of Earth’s atmosphere. I didn’t think it would be so bad when my mom decided we should launch on the four-year journey to the Blue Planet, but now, two months after the landing, I’d give anything to be back on Mars.

Click here for excerpts from a publication containing 24 Wisconsin Scenario Writing winners that also placed at the International level. Purchase on the Sales page under COACHES.

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