1123 account writting


Published on

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

1123 account writting

  1. 1. Chapter Menu Writing Workshop Writing an Eyewitness Account A n account of the Titanic disaster in the words of a survivor…The story of a calf being born, told by the 4-H member who witnessed it…These firsthand observations are called eyewitness accounts. Through an eyewitness account, a writer can share an experience with someone who has never seen the event. A writer’s vivid retelling of an experience can create something like a movie in the reader’s mind, allowing him or her to imagine every detail and action. It is your turn to create a mental movie for your reader. In this workshop you will write a letter giving an eyewitness account of a memorable event. You will use detail and sensory language to show your reader an event. W H AT ’ S AHEAD? In this workshop you will write an eyewitness account. You will also learn how to I narrate an experience by using details and chronological order I describe by showing rather than telling I choose exact nouns and adjectives I punctuate dialogue Prewriting Choose an Experience Seeing the World Have you ever had an experience like this? You are walking through the park when you come across a dog show. You are thrilled to be seeing dogs of every breed. Mainly though, you wish someone were there to witness the event with you. If you have ever witnessed something that you wanted to share with a friend or family member, write about that experience now. Choose an event that you think is interesting. Your goal will be to communicate your interest and enthusiasm to your reader. Writing Workshop Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved. Chapter Menu 27
  2. 2. Chapter Menu An eyewitness account takes the form of a narrative, or story. Therefore, choose an event you saw from beginning to end and can recall clearly. Your reader should be able to see the account as you did, so be sure you can remember plenty of details. KEY CONCEPT T I P When choosing experiences, focus on events that you observed rather than participated in. For example, you would write about the soccer game you saw instead of the basketball game you played in. THINKING IT THROUGH Choosing an Experience Use these steps to choose an event for your eyewitness account. Ǡ STEP 1 Brainstorm a list of events you have witnessed. You might consider I sports events such as a soccer game or track meet I school events such as a science fair or art exhibit opening I natural events such as a flood or sunset I neighborhood events such as a parade or street festival Ǡ STEP 2 Decide which events I you find most interesting I you remember most clearly I you saw from beginning to end I you observed without participating in Ǡ STEP 3 Choose the event you most want to write about. The writer whose example appears below chose the snowboarding exhibition because she had the most fun watching it and remembered the most details from that event. state championship track meet Cinco de Mayo parade my brother’s soap-box car race snowboarding exhibition YOUR TURN Go to the Chapter Menu for an interactive activity. 28 Chapter 1 4 Choosing an Experience Use the Thinking It Through steps above to brainstorm and evaluate events you have seen and to choose an experience for your eyewitness account. Narration/Description: Witnessing an Event Chapter Menu Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Chapter Menu Think About Purpose and Audience Share Your Vision Your purpose, or reason for writing, is to share a memorable experience. You would not need to write a letter describing a snowboarding exhibition to a friend who saw it with you. Instead, you would want to tell a friend who was not there about the thrill of watching people glide on the snow and flip through the air. YOUR TURN 5 Identifying Your Audience To identify the audience for your eyewitness-account letter, think about a person who would be interested in the event but who did not get to see it. Go to the Chapter Menu for an interactive activity. Gather Events and Details What Happened? You are thinking about the snowboarding exhibition and all you can remember is the woman who amazed you by flipping through the air. Your mind may jump to the most exciting moments or to your favorite part of the experience. However, there is more to an eyewitness account than the big moments. You are telling a story, so think about and list the small events that made KEY CONCEPT up the experience from beginning to end. Who, What, Where, How A good eyewitness account will give plenty of specific information to create a complete picture of the event for the reader. You can flesh out details from the events by asking yourself these four questions. Who? questions about people, such as Who took part in this event? Who caught my attention? What? questions that get at sensory details, such as What did I hear (including dialogue), see, smell, feel, or taste? Where? for unnecessary events— those that don’t really add to the narrative. Think about these questions: Does each event add something to my story? Can I make each event vivid for my audience? questions about places, such as Where did this event take place? How? T I P Check your list questions about feelings, such as How did I feel watching this event? Writing Workshop Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved. Chapter Menu 29
  4. 4. Chapter Menu As you list details, you may include terms or information that your reader may not know. Support your descriptions and details with definitions or background information. Order Up Once you list the events and details involved in your experience, you’ll need to put them in order. The best order for an eyewitness account is chronological (or time) order. Tell the events in the order they happened—first, second, third, and so on. Chronological order helps the reader follow the story. To make the chart below, the writer first listed the events that made up the experience. Then, for each event, she listed details that answered the Who, What, Where, and How questions. KEY CONCEPT Snowboarding Exhibition Events Details: Who, What, Where, How? 1. arrived and waited for the competition to begin who: crowd of people what: cold; people stamping feet to keep warm; crunchy snow where: around the exhibition area; overlooking the half-pipe how: surprised at how many people were there definition: a half-pipe is a U-shaped snow structure, about 10 feet high and 360 feet long; it is like a pipe cut in half 2. half-pipe jam session what: cheers of the crowd and crunch of the snow how: amazed by the skill of the athletes 3. big air session what: a woman doing an inverted 720; riders framed by the sky when they were in the air how: impressed by the tricks; want to take more lessons background info: riders fly off a jump and do tricks in the air 4. drove home how: asked Dad to let me take more snowboarding lessons YOUR TURN Go to the Chapter Menu for an interactive activity. 6 Gathering and Organizing Ideas Chapter 1 Create a chart like the one above for your event. In the first column, write the events of your experience in chronological order. I 30 I In the second column, include details for each event. Use the questions on page 29 to find details. Narration/Description: Witnessing an Event Chapter Menu Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Chapter Menu MINILESSON WRITING Showing Instead of Telling The stomach flu keeps you away from the state championship basketball game. Later, when you ask a friend about the game, he says, “It was fun. We won.” “That’s it?” you think. “I want to hear more!” What you want is a dazzling description. You want to hear the stomping of the crowd’s feet, smell the sweat of the packed gym, and sense the thrill of cheering your team on to victory. You want your friend to show you the victory, not tell you, “We won.” Showing rather than telling allows your style, the way you express ideas, to come through. Showing lets the reader see through your eyes and hear your voice, which indicates your attitude toward the event. There are several ways to show an event rather than tell it. Show by adding I dialogue—actual words of the people involved in the events I precise words—strong verbs, vivid adjectives, precise nouns You can also show details through figures of speech, expressions that describe one thing in terms of another. Two figures of speech you can use are similes and metaphors. A simile uses like or as to compare two unlike things. The runner looked as graceful as a cheetah. A metaphor says directly that one thing is another thing. Her eyes were a well of disappointment. Here is an example of the difference showing can make. Telling: Betsy is a clumsy girl. Showing: Betsy usually trips through a doorway, her arms flailing toward any object that might keep her from falling. “My mom keeps telling me to wear more sensible shoes,” she says to cover up the near fall. She then teeters along, looking like a flamingo with a twisted ankle. This example shows by using strong verbs (trips, flailing, teeter), a simile (looking like a flamingo), and dialogue. PR ACTICE Turn the following telling statements into descriptive showing passages. 3. Jordan was angry that his parents had taken him to the symphony. 1. I look forward to lunch every day. 4. My dog misses me when I am at school all day. 2. Anna-Marie was fascinated as she watched the play. 5. Paco looks happy today. Writing Workshop Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved. Chapter Menu 31
  6. 6. Chapter Menu Writing Eyewitness Account Framework Directions and Explanations I I I Statement of the event Elaborate on each detail from your prewriting chart by using descriptive language that shows, rather than tells, what the experience was like. Provide additional background information, including definitions, for anything that might be unfamiliar to your audience. I Attention-grabbing opener Put each event of your experience in a paragraph. Combine two or more short events into one paragraph. Leave your reader with an understanding of the importance of the event. You might summarize why you liked the event and wanted to share it. Remember the reason you decided to write this letter. Then, close with a personal note to your reader. Salutation I Use a question, a story, or a personal note to get your reader’s attention. Try two different attention grabbers. Then, ask a peer which is better. I I Open with a greeting, or salutation. (For more on letter form, see page 798 of the Quick Reference Handbook.) I Introduction Body I First event and details I Second event and details and so on Conclusion I Your feelings or questions about what you observed I Importance of the event I Closing for the letter YOUR TURN Go to the Chapter Menu for an interactive activity. 32 Chapter 1 7 Writing Your Eyewitness Account Now it is your turn to write a letter about an eyewitness account. As you write, refer to the framework above and the Writer’s Model on the next page. Narration/Description: Witnessing an Event Chapter Menu Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Chapter Menu A Writer’s Model The final draft below follows the framework for a letter relating an eyewitness account. 1825 E. Avenue B Salt Lake City, UT 84103 January 21, 2000 Dear Jake, Have you ever seen a snowboarding exhibition? I have been wanting to see one ever since I took a lesson a month ago. This past Saturday, my dad and I went to see a competition. I had a great time, and I got to see some of my favorite professional riders. When we arrived, we were surprised by how many people were there. We worked our way through a crowd around the exhibition area and waited for the first session to begin. People were stamping their feet to keep warm in the twenty-degree weather. The gray snow crunching under our feet sounded like pieces of plastic foam rubbing together. My skin felt tight and prickly, and I could see my breath in puffs of fog on the chilly air. As we waited, we talked about how good the half-pipe looked. A half-pipe is snow packed into a U-shape, about 10 feet high and 360 feet long. It is like a big pipe that has been cut in half. Riders drop in from the top at one side and glide down and then up the other side and perform tricks in the air above the pipe. The tricks involve twisting and flipping in the air, usually while grabbing the board with at least one hand. As the half-pipe jam session began, I could sense a rush of excitement from the crowd. The whooshing and crunching sounds of the boards in the snow were soon muted by the whooping cheers of the crowd. We were all amazed by how graceful the athletes looked. Once in a while, a rider would fall. One rider missed the edge of Salutation Attention-grabbing beginning First and second events Descriptive language Details (sensory) Definition Precise words Third event Details (sensory) Detail (feelings) (continued) Writing Workshop Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved. Chapter Menu 33
  8. 8. Chapter Menu (continued) Detail (dialogue) Fourth event Detail (sensory) Descriptive language Last event Importance of experience Closing the pipe and fell to the other side of the wall. “Ouch!” Dad said, “Did you see that fall? You know that hurt.” The second part of the competition was a “big air” session. In this event, riders go off a jump to perform tricks in the air. Sometimes the riders would hang in the air with one arm extended. It looked like they were holding on to a handle in the sky. The last woman in the exhibition performed an inverted 720, which means she rotated twice in the air while flipping! I was so excited that I talked the whole ride home, trying to convince my dad to let me take more snowboarding lessons. He must have been impressed, too, because he is going to let me. Next winter when you visit, I will show you what I have learned. All my best, PEANUTS reprinted by permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc. 34 Chapter 1 Narration/Description: Witnessing an Event Chapter Menu Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Chapter Menu A Student’s Model When you write an eyewitness account you want to show the event to your reader. Matthew Hutter, a student from Lansing, Illinois, uses vivid descriptions and dialogue to pull readers into a snowy morning event. The following excerpts are from a letter he wrote. It was 6:30 in the morning, and I was in dreamland. Suddenly, my dad threw open my bedroom door with a loud bang and started tickling me until I got all tangled up in my covers and fell out of bed. “Gosh Dad, how can you be so energetic at 6:30 on a Monday morning?” I asked with a bit of an attitude. “Look outside and that will answer your question,” he said. It was amazing! There were snowflakes of every imaginable size. Some were as big as two inches, and some were as small as an eraser on a pencil. I could hear the wind howling past my window, as the snowflakes flew in every direction. . . . Dad drove slowly to the school because he couldn’t see. On the way we saw fallen trees and damaged houses. About a block away from school we saw a tree that had fallen on a car. The whole back of the car was smashed. As we turned the corner to school, I noticed that the whole east side of the school was covered with snow and ice. . . . I put my book on my desk and sat down. I kept the lights off because I liked to listen to the silence of an empty school. For some odd reason, I was counting the lines on the chalkboard when all of a sudden I heard a buzzing sound and a green glowing light filled the room. I whirled around and to my astonishment, I saw a power box outside, exploding. After about four seconds, the explosion stopped as abruptly as it had started. I walked to Mrs. Hall’s room where it was also dark. She was sitting at her desk. “Pretty cool huh,” I said. . . . “Very cool,” she said. . . . First event Detail (dialogue) Second event Descriptive language Third event Descriptive language Fourth event Fifth event Details (sensory) Writing Workshop Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved. Chapter Menu 35
  10. 10. Chapter Menu Revising Evaluate and Revise Content, Organization, and Style Checking It Twice When revising your first draft or evaluating a peer’s, read through it at least twice. In the first reading, look at the content and organization of the letter, using the guidelines below. In the second reading, examine the letter at the sentence level, using the Focus on Word Choice on page 38. First Reading: Content and Organization Use the chart below to evaluate and revise your eyewitness account so it is clear and interesting. Eyewitness-Account Letter: Content and Organization Guidelines for Self-Evaluation and Peer Evaluation Tips Revision Techniques 1 Does the introduction include Underline the personal note, question, or story that grabs the reader‘s attention. Add an interesting question or brief story, if necessary. 2 Does the account provide Put stars next to terms that might be unfamiliar to readers. Circle information that helps the reader understand the terms. Add information or replace unclear information with more helpful details. 3 Are the events retold in Number each event in the letter. Check that the numbers match the order in which the events happened. Rearrange events in the order they happened, if necessary. 4 Are there enough details to With a colored marker, highlight details and vivid descriptions. Elaborate on the experience by adding descriptive language to help the reader “see” it. 5 Does the letter’s conclusion Put a check mark next to statements that explain why the event was important. Add thoughts or feelings that will show the importance of the event. Evaluation Questions an attention-grabber? background information to help the reader understand unfamiliar terms and ideas? chronological order? make the experience real for the reader? show why the experience was important? 36 Chapter 1 Narration/Description: Witnessing an Event Chapter Menu Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. Chapter Menu ONE WRITER’S REVISIONS This revision is an early draft of the letter on page 33. People were stamping their feet to keep warm in the gray twenty-degree weather. The snow was crunching under sounded like pieces of plastic foam rubbing together. our feet. My skin felt tight and prickly, and I could see my in puffs of fog breath on the chilly air. As we waited, we talked about how add add add good the half-pipe looked. A half-pipe is snow packed into It is like a big a U-shape, about 10 feet high and 360 feet long. pipe that has been cut in half. Responding to the Revision Process add PEER REVIEW 1. Why do you think the writer added a sentence to the end of this passage? 2. What is the effect of the other additions the writer made to the passage? Second Reading: Style You have already evaluated and revised what you say in your letter. Now look at how you say it. Look closely at each of your sentences to polish your writing. For this assignment, focus on using precise nouns and adjectives to create clear and descriptive writing. Use the following guidelines and the Focus on Word Choice on the next page to see if you need more exact words in your writing. If you are evaluating a peer’s eyewitness account, ask yourself: I Can I picture the events the writer is describing? I Does the order of the account make sense? Reference Note For more on precise words, see page 31. Style Guidelines Evaluation Question Tip Revision Technique Does the account use precise nouns or adjectives that clearly describe the event? Draw a wavy line under precise nouns and adjectives. If you see few wavy lines, look through your letter for dull nouns or adjectives. Replace them with descriptive ones. Writing Workshop Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved. Chapter Menu 37
  12. 12. Chapter Menu Precise Nouns and Adjectives “How was that thing you went to?” “It was nice.” That brief dialogue did not tell you much, did it? Nouns like “thing” and adjectives like “nice” are vague. Vague words—words that are not clear or precise—cannot give the reader of an eyewitness account enough information to understand what happened. Precise words quickly tell a reader exactly what a writer means. I Precise nouns illustrate particular persons, places, or things. A noise can become a clank, squeak, clatter, shriek, or rattle. I Precise adjectives describe nouns specifically. A fun amusementpark ride can be transformed into a thrilling, exhilarating, pulsepounding ride. Do not settle for vague, dull words in your eyewitness accounts. Make an impression with precise words. Word Choice T I P If you cannot think of the precise noun or adjective for what you are describing, use a thesaurus. Look up the word you want to change and you will find many synonyms— different ways of expressing a similar idea. ONE WRITER’S REVISIONS whooshing and crunching The loud sounds of the boards in the snow were soon whooping cheers crowd. muted by the loud sounds of the people. Responding to the Revision Process How did adding precise words improve the sentence above? YOUR TURN 8 Evaluating and Revising Your Eyewitness Account Chapter 1 First, evaluate and revise the content and organization of your letter following the guidelines on page 36. Next, use the Focus on Word Choice above to help you use more precise nouns and adjectives. I 38 I I Go to the Chapter Menu for an interactive activity. Finally, have a peer evaluate your paper. Think carefully about your peer’s comments as you revise. Narration/Description: Witnessing an Event Chapter Menu Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. Chapter Menu Publishing Proofread Your Eyewitness Account Second Opinions Errors in your final letter will distract your reader. If you ask another person to proofread the letter after you have gone through it, you will be more likely to find all the mistakes. Punctuating Dialogue You may include dialogue, exact words spoken by people, in your account. Punctuate dialogue correctly so your reader can tell the dialogue from the rest of the text. Use quotation marks to enclose a person’s exact words. Incorrect Correct I Ouch Dad said did you see that fall? “Ouch!” Dad said. “Did you see that fall?” A direct quotation begins with a capital letter. Commas, a question mark, or an exclamation point can separate the dialogue from the rest of the sentence. Examples: The weather person said, “There is a seventy-percent chance of snow today.” “Should I wear boots?” Grace asked. I When the expression identifying the speaker interrupts a quotation, commas set off the expression. The second part of the quotation then begins with a small letter. Example: “I like to ski,” Ian said, “but I don’t like to wait in the lines.” I A period or comma always goes inside the closing quotation marks. Examples: “The snowboarding exhibition begins at 9:00 A.M.,” said the ticket taker. Dad remarked, “We have time to get some hot apple cider.” PR ACTICE Punctuate the dialogue in each of the following sentences. 1. It’s too bad that snowboarding can be expensive said Henry. 2. When you think about it Isabel sighed everything can be expensive. 3. Do you think individual lessons are less expensive Naomi wondered. 4. Let’s take lessons during the winter break Roshanda suggested. 5. I really like the clothes snowboarders wear Cesar added especially the hats. For more information and practice on punctuating dialogue, see pages 630–635. Writing Workshop Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved. Chapter Menu 39
  14. 14. Chapter Menu Publish Your Eyewitness Account C OM P U T E R T I P If you choose to e-mail your letter, you do not have to write it in one sitting. Most e-mail programs will let you save a draft, so you can work on your letter in stages. PORTFOLIO Show the World It is finally time to send your letter. You can now put it in an envelope and mail it, or you can e-mail it in a flash. However, with a few changes you can also use your letter in other ways. Take off the salutation and cut out any direct references to your audience, and you simply have an eyewitness account. What are some things you can do with an eyewitness account? I Submit your eyewitness account to your local or school newspaper as an article describing the event. I Submit it to your school’s yearbook as a historical record of events in your area, or include it in a class chronicle of the year’s events. I Narrative and descriptive writing are often read aloud. You might read your eyewitness account to classmates. Reflect on Your Eyewitness Account Building Your Portfolio Take time to reflect on your finished letter. Reflecting will help you strengthen your narrative and descriptive writing skills. Think about how you can use this kind of writing for other projects. I What was the best description in your paper? Why do you think it was effective? I How did you use sensory language, precise words, dialogue, and figures of speech in your writing? How could you use these types of descriptive language in other forms of writing? I In what other forms of writing could you use narration? In what kinds of writing assignments would chronological organization be helpful? YOUR TURN 9 Proofreading, Publishing, and Reflecting on Your Eyewitness Account I I Chapter 1 Publish your eyewitness account. I 40 Correct any grammar, usage, and mechanics errors. Be especially careful to punctuate dialogue correctly. Answer the Reflect on Your Eyewitness Account questions above. Write your responses in a learning log, or include them in your portfolio. Narration/Description: Witnessing an Event Chapter Menu Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. Chapter Menu Conn ections to Writing a Descriptive Essay Eyewitness accounts and descriptive essays are both based on observation. A descriptive essay focuses on an object, such as a statue or car; on a place, such as a room or park; or on a person. Two important skills to master in preparing to write a descriptive essay are making observations and using spatial organization. What You See Is What They’ll Get Close, accurate observation is essential to writing a descriptive essay. After all, how can you describe something unless you know exactly what it looks like? Once you choose the subject of your essay, you should spend at least twenty minutes observing it. When you write the essay, you’ll want to use descriptive language: sensory details, figures of speech, and exact words. You will show your object rather than tell about it. Asking questions about your subject can help you develop and record specific details for your essay. I What colors do you see? I What size is the object, person, or place in relation to the surroundings? I What shape or shapes do you see? I What specific adjectives describe the object, person, or place? I Can you create a simile or metaphor by comparing the object, person, or place to something else? As you observe, focus on the special characteristics that draw your attention to the object, person, or place. Filling Up Space An effective way to organize a descriptive essay is by describing items according to their location. Using this spatial organization technique, you will start your description at a certain point and then move in a logical way around your subject. For example, if you were describing a dog, you might start with the dog’s face and then move along his body to his tail. Organize the description in your essay so that it moves I from top to bottom or bottom to top I from near to far or far to near I from left to right or right to left I from inside to out or outside to in Words Showing Spatial Organization next to across from between down up around close far near Picture This As you read the description on the next page, notice how author Jamaica Kincaid uses specific details and spatial organization when describing a child’s bedroom. Writing Workshop Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved. Chapter Menu 41
  16. 16. Chapter Menu Description of important objects in room Description moves from wall down to corner Description moves from corner to corner Explanation of the room’s meaning to the writer Lying there in the half-dark of my room, I could see my shelf, with my books—some of them prizes I had won in school, some of them gifts from my mother—and with photographs of people I was supposed to love forever no matter what, and with my old thermos, which was given to me for my eighth birthday, and some shells I had gathered at different times I spent at the sea. In one corner stood my washstand and its beautiful basin of white enamel with blooming red hibiscus painted at the bottom and an urn that matched. In another corner were my old school shoes and my Sunday shoes. In still another corner, a bureau held my old clothes. I knew everything in the room, inside out and outside in. I had lived in this room for thirteen of my seventeen years. I could see in my mind’s eye even the day my father was adding it onto the rest of the house. Everywhere I looked stood something that had meant a lot to me, that had given me pleasure at some point, or could remind me of a time that was a happy time. But as I was lying there my heart could have burst open with joy at the thought of never having to see any of it again. Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John Now You Try Think of the object, person, or place you want to describe. Choose a subject with plenty of details. After you have written a first draft, revise your essay by following the suggestions in the next column. YOUR TURN 10 Add details about the subject’s shape, size, or color. I Include information about its overall appearance or atmosphere. I Rearrange information to make the spatial organization clearer. I Writing a Descriptive Essay Before you write your descriptive essay, observe your subject for at least twenty minutes and record details. Then, use spatial organization to organize your observations and write your essay. Finally, revise your essay to make it clearer and more descriptive. 42 Chapter 1 Narration/Description: Witnessing an Event Chapter Menu Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Chapter Menu Conn ections to A Descriptive Poem An eyewitness account captures an event. A haiku captures a moment. A haiku is a special form of poetry that vividly describes a moment in nature. Short and Sweet Japanese poets began writing haiku hundreds of years ago to capture a quick, clear image from nature. The elements of haiku are simple. The poem has only three lines with a total of seventeen syllables. A syllable is part of a word that can be pronounced by itself. For example, the word thunder has two syllables, thun– and –der. In a haiku, the first and last lines contain five syllables each. The middle line has seven syllables. Notice the syllables in the following haiku. The light•ning flash•es! (5) And slash•ing through the dark•ness (7) A night-her•on’s screech. (5) – Matsuo Basho , translated by Earl Minor It’s Natural The traditional topic for a haiku is a moment in nature. Possible topics include a scene, such as a park or naYOUR TURN 11 ture trail; an event, such as a tornado or a sunrise; an action, such as a bird flying; a feeling, such as an ocean breeze. Choose a moment that you can describe vividly. Then, brainstorm details about the moment. You can use the senses of smell, hearing, taste, or touch, as well as sight. Not all details are equal, though. A detail such as a pretty beach doesn’t paint a specific picture for readers. However, the words pebbled sand, scattered footprints, and abandoned sand castles do. Notice the precise details in the example haiku. See page 38 for help in using precise words. Get Choosy To write your haiku, choose your best details and arrange them into three lines. Then, rearrange and replace words until you have re-created the moment and the feeling you want. Once you have written a first draft of your haiku, revise it to make sure it I clearly describes a moment in nature I uses precise words I captures a feeling I contains five syllables in the first and last lines and seven in the middle line Writing a Haiku Follow the steps above to write and revise a haiku. Share your haiku by reading it aloud or illustrating it and putting it on display. Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved. Writing Workshop Chapter Menu 43