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Creative Writing. LITERARY NONFICTION UNIT. VOICE IN WRITING. Introduction: Purpose, Diction, Tone, Syntax. Quick Write: Why do people read/ write? Give as many reasons as possible. Also, generally speaking, why do you read/write?. John Green's Thoughts.

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Voice in writing

Introduction: Purpose, Diction, Tone, Syntax

Creative writing

Quick Write:

Why do people read/ write? Give as many reasons as possible. Also, generally speaking, why do you read/write?

Situational practice groups
Situational Practice (Groups)

Your little sibling has just snuck into your room (AGAIN) to steal something he/she has no business with (i.e. your iPad).

Establish a clear tone for each of the purposes implied below. Write down these messages.

  • You decide to present your case to your parental figure, attempting to persuade him/her to your side to effect change (i.e. keep the brat out of your stuff)

  • You talk to your little sibling and want to scare him/her into staying out of your room

  • You vent to your friend about the little sibling’s offenses

  • You write an essay in English class on sibling rivalry, and choose the example with your sibling as an anecdote for the essay

What is voice
What is voice?

  • Definition: The quality of writing that sets the writer apart as a human and not a robot/machine

  • Components:

    • Word Choice (AKA Diction)

    • Sentence Structure (AKA Syntax)

    • Tone (established by diction as necessitated by purpose)—attitude toward topic/ reader

    • Emotions (or lack thereof)– how do you affect your reader?

Example of voice 1
Example of Voice #1

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge Signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.

Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail.

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Example of voice 2
Example of Voice #2

First the colors.

Then the humans.

That’s usually how I see things.

Or at least, how I try.

***Here is a small fact***

You are going to die.

I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations. Please, trust me. I most definitelycan be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that’s only the A’s. Just don’t ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.

***Reaction to the aforementioned fact***

Does this worry you? I urge you—don’t be afraid. I’m nothing if not fair.

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Example of voice 3
Example of Voice #3

“You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied, one time or another, without it was Aunty Polly—Tom’s Aunt Polly, she is—and Mary, and the Widow Douglas, is all told about in that book—which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before.”

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Example of voice 4
Example of Voice #4

So what I did, I wrote about my brother Allie’s baseball mitt.  It was a very descriptive subject.  It really was.  My brother Allie had this left-handed fielder’s mitt.  He was left-handed.  The thing that was descriptive about it, though, was that he had poems written all over the fingers and the pocket and everywhere.  In green ink.  He wrote them on it so that he’d have something to read when he was in the field and nobody was up at bat.  He’s dead now.  He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18, 1946.  You’d have liked him.

JD Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Example of voice 5
Example of Voice #5

I don't think that there is a favorite kid in our family. There are three of us and I am the youngest. My brother is the oldest. He is a very good football player and likes his car. My sister is very pretty and mean to boys and she is in the middle. I get straight A's now like my sister and that is why they leave me alone.

My mom cries a lot during TV programs. My dad works a lot and is an honest man. My Aunt Helen used to say that my dad was going to be too proud to have a midlife crisis. It took me until around now to understand what she meant by that because he just turned forty and nothing has changed.

My Aunt Helen was my favorite person in the whole world. She was my mom's sister. She got straight A's when she was a teenager and she used to give me books to read. My father said that the books were a little too old for me, but I liked them so he just shrugged and let me read.

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

What is literary nonfiction
What is Literary Nonfiction?


In some ways, creative nonfiction is like jazz—it’s a rich mix of flavors, ideas, and techniques, some of which are newly invented and others as old as writing itself. Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these.

The words “creative” and “nonfiction” describe the form. The word “creative” refers to the use of literary craft, the techniques fiction writers, playwrights, and poets employ to present nonfiction—factually accurate prose about real people and events—in a compelling, vivid, dramatic manner. The goal is to make nonfiction stories read like fiction so that your readers are as enthralled by fact as they are by fantasy.

Examples of literary nonfiction
Examples of Literary Nonfiction

  • Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

  • Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

  • Pat Conroy, The Water is Wide

  • Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

  • Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

  • David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day

  • Danny Wallace, Yes Man

  • Richard Wright, Black Boy


  • Personal memoirs begin in the late 20th century (1980 onward, for those of you who don’t know how to count centuries)

  • Literary representations of memory (not of history)

  • [T]he best memoirists allow their life experiences to shed light on a culture, a historical moment, a time, a place, a social problem, a political issue that remains timely. –Natalia Rachel Singer

Popular memoirs
Popular Memoirs

  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey

  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

  • Night by Elie Wiesel

  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

  • Marley and Me by John Grogan

  • A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer

  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

  • A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Authenticity and style
Authenticity and Style

  • Write the way you talk. Stop trying to impress people.

    • This does not mean you can write poorly—you still need to think through your writing and revise/edit your drafts. But you want your personality to shine.

  • Be simple and clear.

  • Write honestly. Don’t censor yourself.


Let’s look at this example from a memoir and explore how the author is being authentic.

We will try to identify elements of his style, too.

Excerpt from don miller s blue like jazz
Excerpt from Don Miller’s Blue Like Jazz

In Houston, where I grew up, the only change in the weather came in late October when cold is sent down from Canada. Weathermen in Dallas would call weathermen in Houston so people knew to bring their plants in and watch after their dogs. The cold came down the interstate, tall and blue, and made reflections in the mirrored windows of large buildings, moving over the Gulf of Mexico as if to prove that sky holds magnitude over water. In Houston, in October, everybody walks around with a certain energy as if they are going to be elected president the next day, as if they are going to get married.

Literary nonfiction assignment
Literary Nonfiction Assignment

  • For our unit on literary nonfiction, you will read several examples of memoirs, and then compose your own memoir.

  • Sure, you could be lame and write a brief memoir about your first day of kindergarten (which you don’t even really remember).

  • But why would you want to do that when you could dig deeply into memories of experiences that shook the foundations of your being? That molded you into the young adult you are now?

Creative writing

  • Whether you seek to fill the minimum of the assignment or to pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

    • Your memoir must be at least two pages long

    • Conventions should be followed, but can be stretched for creative purposes (i.e. use a sentence fragment for effect). Don’t try to excuse bad grammar as “creative writing.” You won’t fool me.

    • First-person narration is a must. It’s a memoir, after all.

    • Exercise those literary techniques. Throw in some dialogue, and be creative in your story-telling. Follow your VOICE.

    • Tell the truth!

    • Avoid unnecessary details, but make sure to finish painting the scene for the reader. Have a purpose, and convey your message completely but concisely.

    • Write first, edit later. Don’t worry about your grammar while you’re getting your ideas on the page. But please, do edit later. Seriously. Do it.

Memoir due dates
MEMOIR DUE DATES pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:



DIALOGUE pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Dialogue pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Some vocabulary to know…

  • Dialogue= character conversation

    • An essential part of most short stories and novels. It is always better to show or have happen than to explain or to describe, and dialogue is one way to “show” and not “tell.”

  • Dialogue Tags= identify who is speaking

  • Examples of common dialogue tags include:

    I said Sallie yelled

    She said muttered Janice

    Fred said said Max

    Mark commented asked William

Dialogue rule 1
Dialogue Rule 1 pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

All talking needs to be surrounded by quotation marks (").

"Go to your cupboard - I mean, your bedroom," he wheezed at Harry.

The comma has to go inside the quotation marks.

Dialogue rule 2
Dialogue Rule 2 pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Instead of using a period at the end of the speech, use a comma if you are going to tell who is talking.

"Las' time I saw you, you was only a baby," said the giant. "Yeh look a lot like yer dad, but yeh've got yer mum's eyes.”

Dialogue rule 3
Dialogue Rule 3 pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

If you use a question mark, you don't need a comma too.

"What do they think they're doing, keeping a thing like that locked up in a school?" said Ron finally. "If any dog needs exercise, that one does.”

Dialogue rule 4
Dialogue Rule 4 pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

If you use an exclamation mark, you don't need to change to a comma.

"A stone that makes gold and stops you ever dying!" said Harry. "No wonder Snape's after it! Anyone would want it.”

Dialogue rule 5
Dialogue Rule 5 pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

If you have interrupted speech, to let the reader know who is speaking, a comma is needed before the break, and after the speaker's name.

"Professor," Harry gasped, "your bird - I couldn't do anything - he just caught fire –”

Dialogue rule 6
Dialogue Rule 6 pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

If someone is thinking about something, but doesn't say it out loud, you can either use quotation marks or not. Either way is acceptable.

Of course, he thought bitterly, Uncle Vernon was talking about the stupid dinner party.

Rowling chose not to use quotations around Harry's thoughts. She could just have easily used them like this...

"Of course," he thought bitterly, "Uncle Vernon was talking about the stupid dinner party.”

Show don t tell
Show, Don’t Tell pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

The “Art” of Good Writing

The show don t tell technique
The “Show, Don’t Tell” Technique pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Helps the reader experience the story

  • How?

    • Well-chosen details– “Theory of omission”– what you leave out is as important as what you include

    • See Hemingway’s “Iceberg Principle”

      If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.

    • VIVID scenes

    • Don’t do it all the time—it takes more words and time to develop

Example pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:



Mr. Bobweave heaved himself out of the chair. As his feet spread under his apple-like frame and his arthritic knees popped and cracked in objection, he pounded the floor with his cane while cursing that dreadful girl who was late again with his coffee.

Mr. Bobweave was a fat, ungrateful old man.

A quote to consider
A Quote to Consider pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

“Good writers …let us see people and ideas in action rather than depend on qualifiers. They give us specifics: strong nouns, precise verbs, actions we can see and hear, reactions we can feel. An apple is big, red, round, crisp, shiny, and juicy. Unless this is a commercial for McIntosh apples, so what? Instead, a writer would try to show something about the apple only if there’s something to be shown—if a quality of the apple reflects some meaning in the sentence or story. For example: I gobbled the green apples I found in the clearing. Now we have specific: hunger, unripe apples, a forest setting: now the apple beings to have a significance we can understand (Atwell, p. 165).

How can i show and not tell
How Can I Show, and Not Tell? pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Strong diction (word choice)

  • Vivid images

  • Inference

  • Metaphor

  • Understatement

  • Unreliable Narrator

  • Ambiguity

  • Dialogue

Try it out
Try It Out! pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Describe a young boy who is waiting in line to go on a ride at an amusement park for the first time in his life. Do not use the words excited, fun, or line.

Try it out1
Try It Out! pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Any suggestions for situations?

A word of warning
A WORD OF WARNING pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Don’t ALWAYS show instead of telling. A balance of the two is very important to avoid being too dramatic and wordy. As you read your work, make sure you are choosing the best details to use, and avoid unnecessary words/descriptions.

Diction aka word choice
DICTION (AKA “WORD CHOICE”) pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Diction information
DICTION– INFORMATION pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • An author’s dictionis the word choices he/she makes to convey a particular tone (attitude)

  • Dictionis one part of an author’s voice, or personality

  • Diction is also an important part of Show, Don’t Tell—the words you choose to convey the thought can either show or tell

Tips for your diction
TIPS FOR YOUR DICTION pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • There are SO MANY WORDSin the English language—choose the words that best fit your purposes/ desired tone

  • Some authors spend hours/days/weeks agonizing over a single word choice (particularly in poems)—do you care enough about your words? Should you?

  • Consider how your word selection(s) fit in their position(s)– is that the best word for that phrase? That sentence?

  • Consider also CONNOTATION and DENOTATION

Connotation and denotation
Connotation and Denotation pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Denotation: the literal, “dictionary definition” meaning of a word

  • Connotation: the commonly understood, subjective cultural association of meaning with a word, in addition to the dictionary definition

    • For example, we use many different terms for young people. While “little one” and “brat” both literally refer to a young person, “little one” usually has a positive connotation (association), whereas “brat” typically has a negative connotation. You wouldn’t want to compliment a young mother by calling her child a “cute little brat.” (Child usually has a neutral connotation).

    • Other examples:

      • “Stink” versus “aroma”

      • “Reckless” plan versus “daring” plan

      • “Easygoing” friend versus “lazy” friend

      • Answer with “arrogance” versus answer with “confidence”

Positive negative or neutral
Positive, Negative, or Neutral? pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

For the following images, write as many words as possible with POSITIVE, NEGATIVE, and NEUTRAL connotations.

Verbs over adjectives
VERBS OVER ADJECTIVES pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Verbs add power to stories, and can create description more effectively than relying on adjectives (which can clutter writing).

  • Let’s read this blog post by Donald Miller (creative nonfiction writer) to discover more…

Mccourt excerpt
McCourt Excerpt pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

“My father shakes his head. Doctor says he’ll have to take her to examine her and Dad signs a paper. My mother begs for another few minutes with her baby but the doctor says he doesn’t have all day. When Dad reaches for Margaret my mother pulls away against the wall. She has the wild look, her black curly hair is damp on her forehead and there is sweat all over her face, her eyes are wide open and her face is shiny with tears, she keeps shaking her head and moaning, Ah, no, ah, no, till Dad eases the baby from her arms. The doctor wraps Margaret completely in a  blanket and my mother cries, Oh, Jesus, you’ll smother her. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, help me. The doctor leaves. My mother turns to the wall and doesn’t make a move or sound. The twins are awake, crying with the hunger, but Dad stands in the middle of the room, starting at the ceiling. His face is white and he beats on his thighs with his fists. He comes to the bed, puts his hand on my head. His hand is shaking. Francis, I’m going for cigarettes.”

Diction activity
DICTION ACTIVITY pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Write about an interaction from the book you’re reading (or your life), using VERBS to describe…choose the most effective words possible

Syntax and flow
SYNTAX AND FLOW pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Why is syntax important
WHY IS SYNTAX IMPORTANT? pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Syntax= sentence structure

  • Like diction, it’s important that you vary your syntax to keep your readers engaged.

  • Choose the best possible phrasing

  • Part of your VOICE/STYLE

Techniques for varying syntax
TECHNIQUES FOR VARYING SYNTAX pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Review the sheet of suggestions for varying your syntax.

  • Keep this sheet! You should refer to it throughout the semester.

Syntax activity
SYNTAX ACTIVITY pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Follow the directions on the back of your sheet to practice varying your syntax.

Writing exercises

WRITING EXERCISES pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Character description exercise
Character Description Exercise pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Write a page description of your best friend. Consider his/her appearance, personality, hobbies/interests, family life, etc. Try to be as creative as possible and use strong diction/syntax.

Group story exercise
Group Story Exercise pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Without talking, each group member writes one sentence of a story…pass clockwise until time is up.

Individual writing prompt
Individual Writing Prompt pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Begin with the line “I remember” or “I don’t remember” and write for 15 minutes.


  • Freewrite about any topic you choose for 15 minutes.

Creative writing

SUDDEN FICTION pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:


Sudden fiction introduction
Sudden Fiction Introduction pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Information, Plot, Example

What is it
What is it? pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Says all it can in as few words as it can—under 2,000 words

  • May not include all elements of plot

    • Sudden “point of attack”

  • Freedom/variety within tight boundaries

  • Ideally created in one sitting

  • Should be read like a poem—slowly

Techniques pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Focus on specific mood, image, character quirk, scene, theme, etc.

  • Events as symbols

  • Use 1-2 characters in one setting for one conflict and one theme…begin conflict in first sentence

  • Aim for the gut…throw an emotional punch

Elements of plot intro
Elements of Plot: Intro pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

“Oh yes, the reader says: a couple quarreling in a sidewalk restaurant, a nine-year-old boy stealing a Scripto in Woolworth's, a woman crying in the bathtub. We've seen that before. We know where we are. Don't give us details; we don't need them. What we need is surprise, a quick turning of the wrist toward texture, or wisdom, something suddenly broken or quickly repaired. Yes, we know these people. Now just tell us what they do.” (SF. p.229) 

Another quote
ANOTHER QUOTE pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

According to Steve Almond, "readers are drawn to stories not because of your dazzling prose, but because they wish to immerse themselves in a world of danger. More precisely, in the heart of a particular character on the brink of emotional tumult... readers don't want typical. They turn to fiction for that particular slice of life when typical blows up or breaks down and gives way to the inherent chaos of the human heart.”

This Won’t Take But a Minute, Honey

Plot tips
Plot Tips pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Start in the middle

  • Don’t use too many characters

  • Deliberate on the title

  • Make your last line super important…twist? Punch line?

  • Write long, then cut short…sculpt it!

Creative writing

Sudden Fiction Example– pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

“Just Before Recess” by James Van Pelt

Creative writing

SUDDEN FICTION ASSIGNMENT pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

For our unit on sudden fiction, you will work to compose a 500-1500 word story that follows the conventions of the genre. Your rough draft is due Wednesday, October 2, and the final draft will be due Friday, October 4.

Your story should include the following components:

  • Dialogue—with the proper punctuation

  • Powerful and concise language (diction) and sentence structure (syntax)

  • Narrative arc (plot) for SF—troubling conflict, Iceberg Principle, etc.

  • Characterization—only significant details included

  • Proper grammar and mechanics

  • Strong and effective use of imagery

    Your story will be graded based on the above components. It will be graded with our 10 point system:

Sudden fiction characterization
Sudden Fiction: Characterization pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

Character and characterization
Character and Characterization pull brilliance from your past, here are the details:

  • Characterization—process of revealing personality of a character

  • Character- a person in a work (sometimes animals are characters)

  • Ways to reveal character:

    • Speaking

    • Appearance

    • Inner thoughts and feelings

    • What other characters think/say about the character

    • Actions

    • Tell us directly: cruel, kind, sneaky, etc.

  • Indirect Characterization- (first 5 ways) we have to use our own judgment to decide what a character is like, based on the evidence the writer gives us.

  • Direct characterization- (#6) we don’t have to decide; we’re told

Protagonist antagonist
Protagonist/ Antagonist personality?

PROTAGONIST—The character the story revolves around

ANTAGONIST—The character or force that opposes the protagonist

Character continued
Character (continued) personality?

  • Characters are classified as:

    • Static- one who does not change much

    • Dynamic- character changes as a result of the story’s events

    • Flat- has only one or two traits

    • Round- like a real person, has many different character traits (usually protagonists)

  • Motivation- the fears or conflicts that drive a character (ex: vengeance, fear, greed, love, boredom)

    • Motivation plays a role in characterization as well—by analyzing motivation, we can make judgments re: character traits

Character classification
Character Classification personality?

Static—always mean


Character classification1
Character Classification personality?

Flat—pretty much

just evil

Round—stubborn, tender-hearted, playful, loyal, etc.

Sudden fiction example characterization
Sudden Fiction Example: Characterization personality?

  • Read “The Bank Robbery” and look for elements of characterization.

Activity create a character

  • Fill in the Character Development Questionnaire to create your own character.

  • Place your character in a predicament. Start with what might be considered the end of the rising action/ beginning of the climax. Quickly explore and conclude the problem. Aim for about a page of writing.

Reading conflict character

“Sunday in the Park”

Read the story in groups of 3-4, and discuss how the author uses characterization to intensify the conflict—be prepared to share

Exercise choose one conflict

  • Couple stranded on a rural road with a broken-down car

  • Friend #1 reveals a lie he/she told Friend #2, either purposefully or accidentally


Be concise
BE CONCISE! personality?

6 word descriptions
6-WORD DESCRIPTIONS personality?

  • Describe yourself using only six words.

  • Examples:

    • Red hair. People expect me feisty.

    • Half Jewish. Half Italian. Totally Stuffed.

    • Miss being blond. People expect less.

    • Yesterday wounded. Today healing. Tomorrow peace.

    • My life is no longer mine.

Index card writing assignment
Index Card Writing Assignment personality?

  • What is [happiness]?

    • You can insert another emotional noun here– i.e. regret; joy; guilt; anxiety; contentment, etc.

    • Only write on one side…all words must fit!

Index card writing assignment1
Index Card Writing Assignment personality?

Now, cut unnecessary words from your explanation. Rewrite the prompt with fewer words/ sentences on the back of the card, taking up NO MORE THAN ½ OF THE ORIGINAL SPACE.

IMAGERY personality?

Imagery personality?

  • Language that appeals to the senses

Examples of imagery
Examples of Imagery personality?

  • I sit in a small booth next to Jane, her hip against my hip. Our coats are all bunched up across from us along with Tiny. Her hair is falling in all these big curls on her shoulders, and she’s wearing this non-weather appropriate top with thin straps and quite a lot of eye makeup.

  • I awake to the sound of my alarm clock, blaring rhythmically, and it seems as loud as an air siren, shouting at me with such ferocity that it sort of hurts my feelings. I roll over in bed, and squint through the darkness: It’s 5:43 in the morning. My alarm doesn’t go off until 6:57. And only then do I realize: That sound is not my alarm clock. It is a car horn, honking, sounding some kind of terrible siren song through the streets of Evanston, a howling warning of doom.

Choose 3 of the following to explore
Choose 3 of the following to explore… personality?

  • List 5 questions you HATE not having the answers to

  • What’s one thing you learned that BLEW YOUR MIND?

  • What’s the biggest mistake you ever made?

  • What would you say if you had 60 seconds to talk a stranger out of taking his or her life?

  • What is one eye-opening experience every person should have?

With your 3 choices explore them in 3 different ways
With your 3 choices, explore them in 3 different ways… personality?

  • Write a journal entry to answer it

  • Write a poem in response

  • Write a list with explanations for the items

  • Write a letter (to a real person—you don’t have to give it to him/her)

  • Draw a picture

    Be ready to share one/ turn these in with 10 minutes left in class!

Differences between sudden fiction and short stories
Differences between Sudden Fiction and Short Stories personality?

  • Sudden Fiction– concise, to the point, usually under 1500 or 2000 words, one character focus (not fully developed), starts in beginning of climax

  • Short Stories—longer than sudden fiction, more space to develop setting, characters, situation, conflict, etc. Usually more than 1500 words

Plot triangle

Climax personality?

Rising Action

Falling Action



Plot Triangle

Types of conflict
Types of Conflict personality?

  • Internal: problem within oneself (person versus self)—examples: a major decision, insanity, difficult emotions

  • External: person has a problem with outside force(s)

    • Person v PersonPerson against another person—could be mental, emotional, physical, etc.

    • Person v Society Person against a collective group—could be oppressive society, etc.

    • Person v Nature Person against natural forces—ex: weather, terrain, etc.

    • Person v Supernatural Person versus forces that aren’t natural—ex: God, superheroes, etc.

    • Person v Technology Person against science/technology—ex: Terminator, robots, etc.

Creative writing

MOOD personality?

Creative writing
Mood personality?

  • Definition: the overall feel/atmosphere of the story


  • What are some examples of mood from short stories you have read?

Mood choice board
MOOD CHOICE BOARD personality?




  • Funny

  • Suspenseful

  • Creepy

  • Depressing

  • Joyful

  • Fearful

  • Heartbreaking

  • Bored

  • Calm

  • Abandoned hospital at night

  • Mountain valley in the fall

  • School during the day

  • Insane asylum

  • Coffee shop

  • Doctor’s office

  • The gym

  • Clown

  • 12 year old boy

  • Retired couple

  • Depressed teenager

  • Alien/ Zombie

  • Fake Santa

  • You

  • Insane doctor

  • Barista

  • Widow

  • Teacher

POETRY personality?

Creative writing

Form personality?

Poetry rhyme
Poetry: Rhyme personality?

  • Definition: Repetition of similar sounds in two or more words—usually at the ends of lines

  • Poetry can rhyme, but it doesn’t have to (free verse)

  • Poetry can have specific meter (pattern of stressed/unstressed syllables), but doesn’t have to

  • Rhyme is tracked by letters

Poem form stanzas
Poem Form: Stanzas personality?

  • Line– similar to the sentence in prose

  • Stanza– a collection of lines (similar to the paragraph in prose)

    • Couplet- 2 lines (usually rhymed)

    • Tercet- 3 lines (triplet= 3 ryhmed lines)

    • Quatrain- 4 lines

    • Cinquain (or quintain)- 5 lines

    • Sestet- 6 lines

    • Septet- 7 lines

    • Octave (or octet)- 8 lines

Types of poems
Types of Poems personality?

  • Haiku– one tercet– 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables

  • Limerick—one quintain—funny—aabba

  • Tanka– one quintain– 5/7/5/7/7 syllables

  • Ottava Rima– contains octets rhyming abababcc

  • Sicilian Octave– octets rhyming abababab (10 or 11 syllables each)

  • Spenserian Stanza– ababbcbcc– mostly iambic pentameter until last line– hexameter

Activity personality?

  • Write the following:

    • A rhyming couplet

    • A tercet (ABA)

    • A quatrain in a rhyme scheme of your choice (label it)

    • A limerick (cinquain)—aabba

    • Either: a sestet, septet, or octave (choose one) with or without set rhyme scheme

Spoken word poetry


Poems videos
Poems (Videos) personality?





Villanelle personality?

  • Nineteen lines

  • It has five stanzas, each of three lines, with a final one of four lines.

  • The first line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the second and fourth stanzas.

  • The third line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the third and fifth stanzas.

  • These two refrain lines (above) follow each other to become the second-to-last and last lines of the poem.

  • The rhyme scheme is aba. The rhymes are repeated according to the refrains.

Creative writing

  • The House on the Hill personality?

  • Edwin Arlington Robinson

  • They are all gone away,

  • The house is shut and still,

  • There is nothing more to say.

  • Through broken walls and gray

  • The winds blow bleak and shrill:

  • They are all gone away.

  • Nor is there one today

  • To speak them good or ill:

  • There is nothing more to say.

  • Why is it then we stray

  • Around the sunken sill?

  • They are all gone away.

  • And our poor fancy-play

  • For them is wasted skill:

  • There is nothing more to say.

  • There is ruin and decay

  • In the House on the Hill

  • They are all gone away,

  • There is nothing more to say.

Creative writing

One Art personality?Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

Creative writing

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or personality?

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

––Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident

the art of losing's not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Sidewalk chalk

SIDEWALK CHALK personality?

Sidewalk chalk activity

  • Find 2 poems/ excerpts from poems to use to INSPIRE and/or ENCOURAGE other students

  • Record the poems on a piece of notebook paper

  • Give Ms. Sho the paper to approve your poems (you may only write what is approved)

  • Prepare to go outside to write the poetry ON THE SIDEWALKS leading to the deck

  • While outside:

    • Be SILENT

    • Write so that students heading to the deck from classrooms can read the words

    • Write BIG enough to read the lines

    • ONLY write on sidewalks.


One act plays

One-Act Plays personality?

What is a one act play
What is a one-act play? personality?

  • One basic idea/theme explored as fully as possible in a limited time frame

  • One dramatic action

  • Few characters

  • One set

  • No monologues

  • Dramatize (SHOW) don’t tell via narrator

Types of plays
Types of Plays personality?

  • Tragedy

  • Drama

  • Melodrama

  • Comedy

  • Fantasy

  • Allegory

What is our assignment for this unit
What is our assignment for this unit? personality?

Due Friday, December 6!

  • Get in groups

  • Brainstorm topic/plot outline/ characters

  • Draft Play

  • Edit Playand Finalize (min. 5 pages typed)

  • Rehearse

  • Perform plays and bring in typed scripts on Friday, Dec 6

Example personality?

  • Let’s read “The Game” to see how one-act plays work

  • Check out:

    • Plot/ Set Possibilities

    • Dialogue

    • Stage Directions/ Actions

    • Characterization

    • Theme