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Keys to Successful Interpretations

Choose Quality Literature

  • Content is key! Classical literature is a great choice. Look for stories worth telling.

  • Selections should be compelling, plot-based literature that appeal to a wide-ranging audience.

  • Be sure that your selection meets Stoa Publication Guidelines. Unless the piece was written before 1970, all sources must be published with a permanent ID number. Self-written Open Interpretations are exempt from this guideline.

Understand the Genres

  • Read the event rules and ballots before you begin!

  • Watch this interp tutorial video.

Cutting Interps: Keep the Main Theme the Main Thing

The goal of all interps is to relate an adventure that focuses on plot and character development. Plots must have a clear conflict and resolution and will include a clear beginning, middle, and end. The journey will include relatable, believable characters that change or learn something, and a good interp selection will portray a variety of emotions.

  • Read the entire story.

  • Identify the main themes and conflict.

  • Complete a basic plot diagram.

  • Flag pages corresponding to that plot.

  • Keep only those scenes that develop your theme and advance your plot.

To begin cutting, read the entire story. Identify the main theme of the story and the conflict (or problem) your characters will face. As you read, flag pages with content you might use. Next, complete a basic plot diagram like the one below. Don’t skip this important step! It will focus the cutting process and result in an understandable path. Then, reread your highlighted selections, choosing the parts that fit your plot diagram and advance your story. Keep ONLY those scenes that develop your theme and advance your plot.


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