Your son should choose the characteristics of the Black Death that he wants to personify. Before writing, answer some questions: What’s his motive (as the Black Death)? How does he feel about the “work” he is doing? Does he have a visible form or is he invisible? If visible, how do humans see him? Try to keep the personification consistent throughout. Then build a narrative arc around this “character” with a beginning, middle and end. Perhaps tell the story of visiting on a particular family. What does he learn from the experience? What is the point (thesis)?
So, what is VTS?
With VTS, you use three questions only: “what’s going on in this picture?, “what do you see that makes you say that?” and “what more can you find?” That’s it! You basically just keep poking and prodding the student for more information and connecting his or her ideas together. Starting with that key question, “what’s going on?,” will spark a lot of ideas and stories in the student. The question hints at narrative but doesn’t limit the student’s response. I was really skeptical of this strategy when we discussed it in grad school, but honestly, I find it to be a very effective way of talking about art with students.