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Develop a Personal Voice when Writing VOICE shows your personality when writing. The writing has a sound different from everyone else's. It has feeling and emotion so that it does not sound boring. The reader should be able to tell if you are happy or sad. The writer should be writing from the heart and bring the topic to life for the reader. One day my mom took me to the circus. I LOVE the circus. There are always some very funny clowns. My favorite clown there came up to me and told me he had a secret for me. He got real close to me and I thought he was going to whisper in my ear when POW he squirted me in the face with his water flower. I never laughed so much. I had a great time at the circus and will remember it for the rest of my life. Funny
It was the day for the big test. I studied all week and knew I was ready. I was still a little bit nervous, but knew once I started I would be fine. The teacher asked us to get some books out to read when we were finished so we wouldn't bother the other kids if we finished early. The test was a breeze. When I was done I started to read my favorite book. Serious
Yesterday when I was on my way to the grocery store I saw a very strange man. He had on a brown trench coat, red hat and was carrying a purple umbrella. I'm sure he was some kind of investigator. As he began walking I noticed he was just peeking over the top of his coat and I could only see his eyes. He was very sneaky looking. I'm sure he was watching somebody, I just wonder who! Mysterious
As a baseball let me tell you I have some pretty frightening experiences. Imagine being hit by a hard bat. OUCH, I want to scream every time someone hits me. Then for the flight through the air. You can't believe how scary that is. I am always asking myself three questions. Will someone catch me? Will I fly over the fence and land with a hard thud? Or will I just go bouncing across the field? The next time you are frightened, stop a minute and think about how I feel. That is the true meaning of frightened! Frightening
Look at the picture below and reading the short paragraph. Choose the voice that you think is being used in each paragraph. Remember when writing with voice it can be: Funny, Serious, Mysterious, Frightening Have you ever seen two Martians in a play before? Well you should have been at the same show as I was. I never laughed so hard in my life. These two green creatures were trying to back to their land safely, but came across many strange people. They never saw humans before. They kept trying to act like us. Well, that is where the fun begins. You should go see the Martian's On Earth if you get a chance. It is your chance to sit back and laugh!
Halloween night was finally here. I was very excited to trick or treating with my friends. There is always one house that everyone is afraid to go to and this year we decided we would go. We slowly crept up the steps and tap lightly at the door hoping nobody would hear us and we could get out of there quickly. Before we could turn around there she was. There were bats flying around her head, a frog in one hand, a broom in the other hand and a black cat next to her leg. Before she could speak my friends and I let out a scream and ran all the way home. That is one house we will NEVER go to again.
The first day of school is always a tough one. You are always waiting to see who is in your class, what your teacher will be like and how your day will run. Usually everyone is very quiet trying to set a good example. We all get out our books, sit in our seats nice and tall and do everything the teacher says with very little noise. I bet this is the teachers favorite day of the year!
I will never forget my 5th birthday. My mom surprised me with a clown to entertain my friends and I. This clown was very funny and had many tricks up his sleeve. When his show was over he made everyone at my party a balloon animal. This was a great day for me!
Exercise: You and your friends were playing a ball game outside on the top quad. You know that you are not allowed to kick balls on the quad. When the ball was passed to you, you kicked it back. The ball didn’t go where you wanted it and you broke Mrs. Jones’ office window. Describe what happened to Mrs Jones, using a serouis voice, and then in a funny voice described to your friends what happened.
Point of View When a writer begins a new story he must decide:"Who will tell my story?" An author can tell a story from the first-person point of view. OR The author can use the third-person point of view
Third-person Point of View
The story is being told by an outside observer - someone who is not in the story. The author uses the pronouns he, she, and they.
In third-person point of view, the author can tell about the thoughts, actions, and feelings of the other characters .
First-person Point of View
A character in the story is the narrator. This character is telling the story. The narrator uses the pronouns I, me and we.
In first-person point of view, readers learn about events as the narrator learns about them .
First - Person Point of View I walked home from school today with my friends. We stopped for ice cream. I had vanilla. It's my favorite. When I got up this morning I brushed my teeth. Then I got dressed and ate my breakfast. Third - Person Point of View Ted plays on a baseball team. He loves to play with his team. He has a game next week. His coach thinks he's a good baseball player. The princess was locked in the tower. She had no way to escape. She hoped that a prince would rescue her . Her wish came true. He came and took her to his castle.
Read each group of sentences. Decide if it is written in first person or third person point of view. The hunter had a cottage in the woods. He lived there all alone. I ride the bus to each every day. I like to sit with my friends. My friends and I went camping. I toasted marshmallows over the fire. Joey likes to go swimming. Sometimes he asks his friend Sam to go with him. He brings his ball to play with. Frosty the snowman had a hat on his head. He also had a pipe and a carrot nose. He held a shovel in his hand.
The role of the narrator is vital as her or his bias can affect the way the story develops.
Retell Little Red Riding Hood from two of these points of view:
Red Riding Hood’s mother
the wood cutter
Use the first person “I” when you write your two or three paragraphs.
Narrative Writing In a good narrative, the reader relates closely to the story, feels involved with the plot and often identifies with the characters. A good story is hard to put down and the reader feels a sense of loss when it ends. The features of a narrative are:
the plot this is what happens
characters the people or animals in the story
the setting where the narrative takes place
theme the aurthors message
Planning your Narrative Brainstorm your ideas. This does not need to take to long and can be added to.
Plan the path your writing will take. This plan is in a flow-chart form.
Opening Paragraphs The opening paragraph of a narrative will often give us an introduction to the characters, the setting, or both and will often give us a hint about the plot. Another name for this is orientation . You orientate your readers, give them an idea, right from the start, that your text is going to be worth reading.
Opening Sentences The Opening Sentence To write an opening sentence which will grab the reader’s attention. Stories can start using the following ways: Dialogue: “Hands in the air this is a stick up!” he hollered roughly. A statement: The school principal had to collect the boy from the roof. Problem: David didn’t know what to do: the school bully, Ted was expecting him to hand over five doallars and all he had was fifty cents. Action: Without a moments hesitation, Maude Drinkwater lifted the revolver and fired. Description of people: Mr Sherman looked ordinary for someone who had just solved one of the world’s most difficult maths problems. Description of place: The sky was the colour of dish water. Description of time: As the clock struct twelve it echoed around the hall.
Write an opening sentence for one of these stories using the different ways to start a story:
A mysterious stranger
An act of bravery
The arrival of a new pet
Try two other ways of starting the same story.
Active Beginings In order to capture your reader’s attention, the beginning of your story must be interesting and lively enough to make your reader want to keep reading. One way to do this is to begin with an action. Directions : Revise each story beginning. Put your main character in the setting, and have the character do something relevant to the story. Example: One rainy day I went to the mall. Revision: I splashed across the parking lot, yanked open the tall glass door, dripping wet, stepped into the mall.
Hi. My name is Kate. This is a story about the time I went to the zoo.
Put Kate at the zoo doing something
This is a story about the time I built a robort in my basement.
Put yourself in the basement doing something
I will tell you about my adventure swimming at the lake
Is the youth sleeping peacefully? Give reasons for your answer.
What do you think the story is going to be about? Making reference to the text, give reasons for your answer.
Here is an orientation that gives a setting.
Exercise 3: Uncles Three at Kamahi The following extract also starts with a setting.
Is the book set in New Zealand? Give a reason for your answer.
Is the setting in the past, the present or the future? Give a reason for your answer.
What is meant by “the clemantis was shining in start palaces in the bush”?
Exercise 4: Opening Paragraphs Choose a title and opening sentence from the list below. Use the sentence beginnings to write an opening paragraph which will orientate a reader into your narrative.
Plot A plot starts with an introduction to the narrative. A plot will include problems or crises and how these are solved, and the conclusion to the narrative. If it is a good plot, there will be situayions which happen throughout the narrative thaat will make you want to read on. What happens in a novel has been carefully planned by the author. Some authors use a flow chart to plan their work. Others might write a brief overview of events noting each crisis, climax or problem and how each will be resolved.
Improve your Plot Who are your story’s main characters? What are their main needs?(motives) Who or what tries to stop or thwart them from achieving their needs? (conflict) Do the characters succeed or fail in achieving their goals? How do they succeed or fail? (resolution)
Exercise 1: Plot Development The folowing extract from The Keeper is an example of a crisis in a plot.
How do you think the group felt after this crisis?
This text gives a good example of the rise and fall of a crisis within the plot. There is a build up with all the action of trying to get out of the way of the tiger and it leaping, then the feeling of relief when the animal is dead. Short quick sentences: “Then it looked at me. It did not see me.” keep the feeling of excitement and suspense going.
This is how the plot of The Keeper might look in graph form. The plot may have many parts to it. It may have subplots within the main plot. Whether the plot is action-packed or slow and leisurely, a good plot will keep the reader interested. A crisis is a turning-point, a moment of danger or suspense. A climax is the highest point in a series of events. There is often a build-up to a big climax near the end of the narrative.
Characterisation A person’s appearance, their posture and ways of walking, their hobbies, the way in which they express their emotions, their secret wishes, fears, prejudices and religious beliefs are all pointers to their character. We develop character through the following: Dialogue what the characters say and how the say it Action what the characters do Reactions how the characters think and feel in different situations Relationships how the character interact with each other, and how others view them Crisis a turning point in the story for the character; the way in which the characters respond in a crisis revaels true character
Write 4-6 sentences, using the ‘Show, don’t tell’ method, which reveal the characters of the following people:
a greedy child
a stressed teacher
a bossy bus driver
an impatient explorer
a terrified airline passenger
a mother trying to get her reluctant todler to eat
Characters Narrative Characters may be people of animals. Although they are imaginary, the author may have modelled their character on people they know. A reader can usually identify with characters, either through a character’s personality, actions or experiences, or physical appearance. Characters in a book may be built up over several chapters with the reader getting an impression of their personality through actions, reactions and relationships to other characters.
Things to think about These settings all paint a picture for the reader. Think carefully about which style of scene setting appeals to you. Do you prefer to be given a clear description? Do you prefer imagery where the writer’s use of words lets you use your imagination? Do you prefer a character in the text to help establish the mood of the setting by talking about it?
Create a setting Write a setting that vividly portrays the background to the plot. The setting is where the action is happening and when the action occurs ie. Time of day, month, year.
Choose one of the following and write a short description of it. The description should include:
time of day,
sound and smells.
Inside a restaurant
A city street
A favourite park
Add Phrases Phrases add information and interest to short, dull sentences. To add an adjectival phrase, you can ask questions like ‘how’, ‘when’, or ‘where’. Adjectival phrases: The boy was a culprit. The boy with a cheeky grin was a culprit. Adverbial phrases: We skipped. We skipped across the playground. We skipped across the playground with great abandon after our win in soccer.
Add phrases to:
The girl cried.
The door opened.
They killed his parents.
Join Short Sentences Sometimes short sentences can be combined to create longer, more interesting sentences. Example First Draft: The rosella was feeding in the tree. It was attacked by another bird. It flew away Revised: Attacked by another bird as it fed in the tree, the rosella flew away.
Rewrite the following examples to turn each example into one interesting sentence.
It was Sunday. The cricket match was cancelled. The pitch had been ruined by rain
I was not pleased with my sister Natalie. She scribbled on my homework. I told mom.
I’ve been working all day. I’m tired. I think I’ll take a rest.
Every night for dinner we have boiled rice. I don’t like boiled rice. It is my least favourite food.
Vary Sentence Length When you vary your sentence lengths, it creates a pleasant rhythm. A story can become boring if all the sentences are the same length. Example Listen to what is happening. These sentences have five words. Here are another five words. Five more words to follow it. The sentences begin to drone. There is no variety here. It’s like a stuck record. It goes on and on.
Write a five sentence story; the first sentence should have one word, the second two words, the third three words and so on.
Write a five sentence story with a different number of words in each sentence.
Study sentence lenghts in a page from a published story.
Smooth Transitions One way an author can get the reader’s attention is by using pharases that we call “red flags.” red flags, such as all of a sudden or the next thing I knew , indicate a new twist in the plot. Red flags can replace predictiable words and phrases, like next and then. Read the sample sentences below. Create your own “Red Flag Menu” by filling in the blanks. Suddenly I manage to escape from the monster. Just then I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster.
Improve Your Dialogue What is Dialogue? It's the conversation that takes place between characters in a story. You can tell more about your characters' thoughts and feelings if you include dialogue in your stories.
Let's add some dialogue to that story. Sharing a room with her sister wasn't always fun. Kristi was tired of always having to clean up their room. "Ashley, you've left your clothes on the floor again! I'm not picking them up for you this time," said Kristi. "I'm sorry, Kristi, I don't mean to be a slob!" joked Ashley. "I just don't notice the mess--really! I guess it just doesn't bother me.“ "Well, it bothers me! You know it does," said Kristi. "I'll try harder, I guess," sighed Ashley. "But I can't promise anything. Neatness just isn't my thing!" Let's look at a story without dialogue. Sharing a room with her sister wasn't always fun. Kristi was tired of always cleaning up after her sister Ashley. Just because they shared a room, that doesn't mean they had to share the mess! Ashley was always leaving dirty dishes on her desk, and there were always dirty clothes under the bed. Kristi had tried to talk to Ashley about cleaning up the mess, but somehow talking didn't help.
Your audience will have a better understanding of Kristi and Ashley after reading the conversation that takes place between them. It's more interesting to read... AND ...it helps to understand how both Kristi and Ashley FEEL .
Dialogue lets you tell so much more about your characters.
It allows your readers to understand your characters more too.
Reminder When writing dialogue you must remember to:
Use Quotation Marks.
Identify who is speaking.
Indent each time the speaker changes.
Use commas correctly.
Read the following story: Paul and his dad were planning their first fishing trip of the year. Paul wasn't sure what to bring with him, so he asked his dad. His dad told him to bring his pole. His dad would bring everything else. His dad also told him to dress warmly because it's always cold in the morning near the lake. Paul told his dad he was excited about going and would have trouble sleeping. Rewrite the story adding dialogue.
Here's a sample of what your story might look like. Notice the quotation marks and commas. Check your story to make sure you have the correct punctuation. Paul and his dad were planning their first fishing trip of the year. "What should I pack, Dad?" said Paul. "I don't want to forget anything." "Just bring your pole, Paul. I've got everything else we'll need already in the car," said Dad. "Mom's already packed us a big lunch. We want to get an early start!" "Should I bring a sweatshirt?" questioned Paul. "Oh, it's always cool in the morning near the lake. You'll need more than a sweatshirt. You need to make sure you dress warm." Paul headed up to bed. "I don't think I'll be able to sleep, Dad. I'm too excited!"
After our huge dinner of fish and chips, we felt like…
LEARNING INTENTION: To liken something to something else, by using similes. Examples: My attention was as far away as love on a battlefield. Her skin is pale as eggshells.
METAPHORS A metaphor is like a simile. That's because it is a comparison that is made between things, which is not always likely or obvious. We don’t use ‘like’ or ‘as’ in a metaphor. We often use metaphors without realising it. For instance, when we say that your parents 'bark a command ' at you, you are comparing them to a dog, and hence engaging in metaphor! Other Metaphors A heart of stone He has the heart of a lion You are the sun in my sky You are the light in my life She is my East and my West, my compass. You had better pull your socks up Love is a lemon - either bitter of sweet
Create Metaphors Try to write three metaphors for each of the following examples: the sun an apple clouds cheese a cat the ocean fog anger LEARNING INTENTION: to understand that a metaphor is a word picture in which the writer replaces the thing to be described with another image. It makes a more direct and vivid comparison to a simile. Examples: The moon is a pearl from a necklace. The moon is a cold, cheesy pizza. The moon is earth’s halo
LEARNING INTENTION: to understand that in personification, the non-human is identified with the human or given human characteristics. Examples: The steel beam clenched its muscles. Clouds limped across the sky. The pebbles on the path were grey with grief. Cricket has been good to me. The New Zealand dollar had a quiet month. Life dealt him a heavy blow.
LEARNING INTENTION: to understand that Onomatopoeia is found in a group of words that attempts to replicate certain sounds. We have words like woof-woof , or bow wow , tweet-tweet , and cock-a-doodle doo . However, these words are still the creation of the human mind. Examples: crackle, splat, ooze, squish, boom. The tyres whirr on the road. The pitter-patter of soft rain. The mud oozed and squished through my toes.
IMPACT Show Don’t Tell To write what is happening in the story without explicitly stating it. Telling sentence: Joe was old. Showing sentence: Joe creacked when he moved, his arthritic limbs bowed beneath the weight of his eighty years Below are some telling sentences which simply state facts. Transform them into showing sentences: 1. It was cold on the beach. 2. Dad was angry. 3. My friend is a great rugby player. 4. The house needed repairs. 5. The car braked suddenly.
Rewrite these sentences, eliminating all the unnecessary words to make each sentence more precise.
He looked at Mike. Mike was his brother.
The people that I would like to tell you about are my father and mother.
He let me know that the contest the Bulldogs were in resulted in a win for the Bulldogs.
In the vase were some daffodils. The vase of daffodils was on the table.
This recipe deals with and describes one method used to attain the desired result in the preparation of scrambled eggs.
You can improve your writing by removing unnecessary words. It is possible to eliminate unnecessary words but still retain the same information. First Draft The idea was thought of by Jim at four o’clock early in the morning. (14 words) Revised Jim’s idea came at 4 am. (6 words)
Create Word Pictures We can add details to a sentence to make an image more vivid and life-like. Bland The man had a hairy face. Interesting The hair on Mr Twit’s face didn’t grow smooth and matted as it does on most hairy-faced men. It grew in spikes that struck out straights like bristles of a nail brush.
Rewrite these sentences using details to make the image live.
The room was dark
The girl ran
His dog was unwashed and smelly
The lady next door is a busy body.
Focus on the Facts We can add on sufficient information to help the reader understand better. Example A boat came to the island. What kind of boat was it? Who was aboard the boat? What were the feelings of the passengers about reching the island? When did the boat arrive? What was the purpose of the visit? Read the following sentences. What questions would you ask the writer to ensure that all the essential information was given. 1. I don’t like school. 2. My aunt is in hospital. 3. We like going out for dinner. Select one of these sentences. Rewrite them with sufficient information.
Replace Overworked Words For my birthday I got lots of presents. It was a lovely day. We got off the train at Wellington. My sister got fifty dollars a week. In the war, lots of men got injured. Feeling annoyed, the teacher went out of the room. We had a nice holiday in Dunedin where we met many nice people. LEARNING INTENTION: To think of as many different ways as you can to express the same idea. Example: Mary is a good person. Mary is a lovely person. Mary is a wonderful person. Mary is a superb person. Mary is a delightful person.
Strong Verbs By using strong verbs we can express movement and help to create a picture in the reader’s mind. Well-chosen verbs can give writing power. With throttles open all the way, big bad bruce and his gang charge down the highway on their Harleys. Bruce blasts along the highway at top speed. Icy wind whacks into his face. He whacks it back, twice as hard. He zooms around corners and shoots up the straight. He pushes his bike to the max. from Big Bad Bruce by Dianne Bates
Write a description of the action in each of thes pharases using strong verbs.
a man kicking a door
a lion stalking prey
a rabbit digging a hole
a getaway car speeding around a corner
a dog chasing a cat
Using a Thesaurus A thesaurus extend your word power. declared exclaimed questioned replied repeated bellowed shouted responded whispered asked Don't Say "Said," Say