Guide to identifying your story idea and focus statement

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When putting together your story idea and focus statement we want you to:

Write down the main CHARACTER(S) in your story. In your case these people will be real people not made up. Then, for this character (or characters), write down:

  • what was the PROBLEM
  • what was the GOAL (relative to the problem)
  • what was at STAKE (be specific and descriptive)
  • what (or who) were the OBSTACLES getting in the way.
  • what were the ACTIONS that overcame these obstacles to realize the goal
  • why is this an INNOVATION

Then, write the FOCUS STATEMENT for your story.

The table below uses the “farmer innovation story” to fill in the different categories.

What was the PROBLEM Depleted soil, low harvest
GOAL Improved soil, improved harvest
STAKE Family health, possible sickness, malnourishment, increased poverty
OBSTACLES Tradition, Fear of change
ACTIONS Year 1 intercrop ¼ field with cowpea, year 2 intercrop same way, year 3 intercrop whole field
Why this is an INNOVATION The farmer heard on the radio about a farmer from another country planting beans between rows of corn. He decided to see if using cowpeas would yield the same results. He experimented with cowpeas over a period of time and found that they do in fact improve soil fertility.
The FOCUS STATEMENT A poor farmer finds a way to improve the fertility of his soil, which increases the yield of his crops.