This is an unusual program which aims to motivate children to write stories. In Storymaker, children are introduced to a picture character called Alpha, who helps them to choose the structure for a story First of all, the time setting for the story must be chosen from a list containing ideas such as' In the days of the cavemen' and 'In the year 2082AD'. Then the main character must be selected and this might be a wounded man, a kidnapped young lady, someone of the children's own age, an astronaut, a sailor or a blind person.
A choice of setting for the story is also made, together with some other characters and an outline of plot. After the ending of the story has been selected, the title is chosen, and finally the computer displays a copy of the story plan, which might be something like this:
TITLE: Rescue; THE TIME: In the days of the cavemen; MAIN CHARACTER: A kidnapped young lady; THE PLACE: the middle of the sea; OTHER CHARACTER: A friendly boy or girl; THE PLOT: They travel through time; ENDING: Their goodness is rewarded.
The success of this program lies in its ability to motivate even the most reluctant writer. Children see the task of story writing as a game when given the instructions by the computer, and soon become aware of the importance of planning their structure before they start to write. The screen text is clear and easy to read, and if a ZX printer is attached, a print-out of the plan can be obtained.
: single key commands onlyKeyboard play
: confined to the character AlphaUse of colours
: very limited - blue background with text in yellow or whiteGeneral Rating:
A useful program which lays the basis for structured creative writing.