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Showing posts from February, 2015

How to write: just do it

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I have been teaching people how to write for quite a while now. There are as many theories about how to teach writing as there are teachers. You can read thousands of books that outline techniques and exercises that will help people become more proficient and skilled at writing.

My theory is simple, and my technique follows closely: just write. Write in a variety of styles, for a variety of purposes, to a variety of audiences. In fact, what you write is not so important as that you write.

This is not a philosophy that my students accept without protest. Many of them do not want to write anything until they are sure it will be perfect. They want to instead spend time with stand-alone grammar worksheets with one right answer, hoping that if they can master enough worksheets, they will get good grades on them (they hope) and, somehow, magically learn how to write well.

But I believe that grammar worksheets, while morale-building if you can get the hang of them and get all the answers rig…

Another writing prompt

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Today's writing prompt asks you to write a  very short mystery story (3 pages).

Study this photo and answer these questions:

1.  who are these girls?

2. why are they running?

3. where are they?

Then consider these questions:

1. who lives in the house with the red tile roof?

2. what is for sale in the big white building?

3. what is in the fountain to the right?

Writing prompt for today

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Imagine that I am your writing instructor. Here is the writing prompt for today:



Type of writing: narrative (story). Length: 325-375 words (about 30-40 sentences).

Consider the photo above. Write a brief answer to the following questions:

What are these people doing? Where and when was the photo taken? Is there anything unusual in the photo? What do you associate with the shapes and colors in the photo?
Now develop your answers into a story. Use descriptive language (sight, sound, smell, touch). Here are some questions to consider as you build your plot, characterization, and setting:
What are the characters' wants and dreams? Where are they from, and where are they going? Why are they here now? What happened just before the photo was taken? If you were in the photo, what would you hear? Smell?Who is taking the photo? When your story is complete, review it for mistakes. Make a clean copy and send it to me as a comment on this blog. I'll be happy to read it and make comments!