Writing is painful for my son. It's his Achilles heel.
During the last parent-teacher conference, his teacher told me all the things I already knew. My son's writing needed work. A LOT of work. So even though it was agonizing for him (and it was a little for me too) we forged ahead.
I created a story-in-four-days file folder. (Download a free 2-page PDF here and make your own file folder progressive story.) The idea was that the story would unfold over four days. He didn't need to know where it was going. He needed to answer questions, use descriptive words, and craft those answers and adjectives into sentences - writing a story in small pieces.
The question prompts page was glued to cover of the file folder and it was cut into four sections: 1) character & setting, 2) problem, 3) solution, and 4) conclusion.
The lined story paper was glued to the inside of the folder, directly underneath the other page.
Each day he completed a section of questions on the outside, opened the flap, and wrote three or four sentences about the details he'd just provided on the inside.
This activity reminds me of the cliché, "There's only one way to eat an elephant - one bite at a time." Writing stories is like eating an elephant for my son.
Day 1 there was crying.
Day 2 there was no crying, just whining.
Day 3 there was reluctance, but no whining.
Day 4 there was willingness and an end.
My son had written a short story. I was elated. But more importantly, he was extremely proud.