What a fun class today!
Watching some of my students sit and contemplatively stare off with a pen in hand was a satisfying sight. The process of writing takes so much careful consideration to create not only what is familiar but also have a personal take on it and I think after reading some of your work out loud, we were successful. Yes, we were able to use the class to write and joke about some cliches or familiar idioms we know. But what is more, we were also able to take a few run-of-the-mill sentence and create depth, a third-dimension if you will.
It was my goal that after taking a class period to develop three sentences, that it would alert you of the time consuming, yet satisfying task it is to create in the form of the written word. Take heed of this lesson and allow yourselves much time to go back and daze off again while writing like you did today, trying to remember what you were smelling, what it looked like up close, where you had seen something similar before and how it ties to your "realization".
I'm really looking forward to reading your memoirs already. Next class we will be talking about characterization, another element that must be considered in your memoir writing process.
After turning in REDO's that were assigned for the 'How to Write a Memoir' article by William Zinsser, we concentrated the hour on developing our writing skill.
We first took a literal sentence (e.g. I ran to the store) and added the following:
+ Interesting word choice
We then also considered including Figurative Language:
+ 5 senses (hearing, touch, smell, sight, taste)
Finally, we considered the inclusion of:
An example of this transformation included going from
'I ran to the store' to
'My legs pumped and thudded like the pistons of an engine as I dashed to the corner of the corner mart with the red and white awning. The hot pebbles ricocheted off my calves and the smell of warm spring, like the Spring that tempted Persephone, floated in the air."
The important thing to note here is no action or event has taken place. Remember, we didn't add more story but rather developed a world around the action and humanized our character. Also, students should beware of dropping in name brands or pop culture
items to avoid the task of a personalized description. Also be wary of
adjective and adverb over usage.
We did more work like the above and students shared their work with other sentences they transformed, such as "I ate a sandwich" and "I fell in love. / I love her."
Homework for Tuesday:
1. Read and annotate "By Any Other Name" by Santha Rau. You will find a PDF file on the Contents section of our Edline page.
2. Come to class on Tuesday with a hard copy of your memoir after having thoroughly edited your work after the last in-class peer edit. That means work should be in MLA format (consult the Purdue MLA website if you are unsure of the format here), be edited for content, have both a plot arc AND a realization, as well as sentences that have been given the same consideration sentences were given in class today. No more I + verb sentences that report the actions of story, please.Your self-edited copy should be a clean copy of edits you made on the computer and then be overtaken by your own pencil-markings.
3. Comment below with the sentence(s) you wrote. Include your name and section (either 3 or 4). Also include the original sentence and then final edit like the example below. This is also due Tuesday.
Grade 10 L&L -3
Literal Sentence: I ate a sandwich.
Edit 1: I inhaled the turkey, bacon sandwich on bread speckled with grain my mom made for me.
Edit 2: The cold cut gave in to the grinder-like rotation of my teeth and the bacon unearthed its flavor. The bread was speckled with grain and I looked up at her just in time so my forehead met the weight of her hand.
Edit 3: The bread speckled with grain jacketed the cold cuts and bacon that gave in to the grinder-like rotation of my teeth. The suction and slapping of eating filled my head so much so that I failed to hear my mother's beckoning to take a bite of her apple. I looked up at her just in time so my forehead met the weight of her hand.