Let's Write: Writing 101

Let's Write: Writing 101

            People who want to write have a few choices: be a wanna-be and talk about writing; be a hobbyist and write for themselves occasionally; be a professional and write regularly. Whichever we decide we will be in fine, if that’s what we wish. How does one begin?

 1.  Have a good grammar foundation. Yes, the story is the main part of writing, but grammar helps what we write make sense to readers.
good basic grammar text    McDougal, Littell Basic Skills in English   8th grade level for basic help

 2.  Find ideas (keep notebook):
            Observation: real life, people watching, people “listening,”

 3.  Gather information:
            Research                                                           “What if …”
            Brain storm                                                      Clustering

 4.  Organizing
            Story boards                                                      Plot
            Outlining                                                         Characters
            File cards                                                          Events
            Mental movie                                                   Timeline

  5.  Begin                                                                     Title, at least working title
            Attention grabber – hook               Interesting action (doesn’t have to be violent or climatic)
                                                                   Can include dialogue – but NOT info dumps or back story

1.)          The town was dull and drab. The trees were colorless. The people matched      
             everything else. They were walking with their eyes looking at the ground, and they were  
             shuffling their feet as they walked. They were silent when they happened to meet on the

2.)        The dullness of the town spread to the trees surrounding it. The drab forest of brown, withered branches matched the people who shuffled along the dirty streets, with no one raising his or her eyes. One stooped old man stumbled into a post. Without raising his eyes, he mumbled, “Sorry,” before he scooted away.

             3.)        The gaunt man stood atop a hill, gazing at the town below him. “Strange,” he muttered to
             himself, “I’ve never in my life seen such a drab place”
                          His eyes searched for any sign of life, real life. Trees sat bent and twisted, nothing but brown 
            leaves in late spring. “The place looks dingy, almost as if a film covers it.” He shook his head. “The
            people don’t even look alive.” He watched one old man shuffle down the street, never lifting his gaze
            from the ground.

 6.  Must have plot                            beginning, rising action, conflict, climax, resolution

 7.  Good stories include emotion, action, strong characters, dialogue, and the 8 C’s (see list)           

 8.  Write your story.
      Assignment:  write the first paragraph or two of a story.

8 Cs of Good Writing

1.               Clarity

2.               Conciseness

3.               Concreteness

4.               Correctness – includes research as needed

5.               Coherency

6.               Completeness

7.               Courtesy

8.               Character (fiction)

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