Makings of A Sandwich Story!

There is a creative writing method called the "sandwich story technique". Here's a version of the technique from story-teller David Heathfield using a story from Papua New Guinea as an example:

The instructor dictates to the class these first lines of a story:

'Do you know why dogs in Papua New Guinea always sniff each other’s tails when they meet? Well, you’ll soon find out. Long long ago all the dogs on the island came to the hilltop for a meeting.'

The instructor then asks students to provide a written description of all the different kinds of dogs that came to the meeting place. Then the instructor dictates and asks them to write the following sentence:

'The meeting place was a huge hall at the top of a hill.'

Students write descriptions of the sort of building they imagine. Once again the instructor dictates the next part of the story:

'Before the dogs arrived the place had been very, very quiet.'

Students write about what it sounded like with more than 1000 dogs all moving around, then the instructor continues to dictate the story.

'Before they went into the great hall all the dogs had to go and hang their tails up in a special tail-house'.

Students are asked to explain why the dogs could not enter the great hall with their tails on. Dictating:

'Halfway through the meeting the dogs smelt something burning. They rushed for the doors of the great hall and saw smoke billowing out of the tail-house'.

Lastly, asking students to finish the story in any way they like.Students then read both the dictated parts and the parts they have written. The result; half the text is the students’ own free invention boosting confidence in each student.

The Papua New Guinea ending is that the dogs rushed into the tail house and grabbed any tail they could find in the smoke. From that day to this all dogs have wanted to find their own tail, lost on the day of the great meeting!


  1. A very interesting writing exercise. I bet students have a lot of fun with it!

  2. I love that!! I was getting kinda sad for those poor dogs whose tails were on fire!! Thanks for stopping by and I am now following you!

  3. Thanks for following my blog!

    That exercise is interesting indeed!!!

  4. Thanks for the comments about this. Once again, it is easy to see why S365 exists. Someone has to extole the many virtues of the sandwich, no?


  5. Oh this blog is so much fun - thanks for stopping by - I really adore your profile photo:)

    Stay in touch, ok?

  6. Taking you up on your invite to pop over and say hello. Thank you for your nice comments left on my blog today. Your site is so interesting, I'll have to come back and really peruse your posts. How interesting! I love making sandwiches and use my panini maker all the time. I have long pined for a sandwich from my youth and have spent hours googling as to whether another one exist out there. Alas, I have been unsuccessful. Thanks again for visiting today. "I'll be back!" :)


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