Smiley Face Techniques • 8 techniques that will enhance your writing– See LAP handout #3 • Use at least 3 of these in your final draft– if you use 2 more you will get up to 6 bonus points!
Magic 3 Listing things/examples in groups of 3 for effect. Sample Magic 3: “If I had a sticker on my shirt that said “Loser” or if my hair looked like a zombie’s or if I had spinach stuck between my teeth, she would tell me the truth no matter what” (Maggie Dancel).
Another Sample Magic 3 • Sometimes I wonder why the geeks get picked on. It’s always “Hey, look, it’s nerd boy again, going to his daily session of chess club,” or “Where you think you’re going, smarty pants, I thought we had a deal– you carry my lunch tray, and I won’t give you a wedgie,” or “Brain on feet, do my homework for a while– say till school’s out– and I’ll try to get you a date with a girl who has glasses thicker than yours” (Cameron Campbell).
Smiley Face Technique #2 • Figurative Language: Using non-literal comparisons such as similes, metaphors, or personification. • Simile: Comparison using “like” or “as,” ex. “The clouds were like cotton.” • Metaphor: A comparison without using “like” or “as” Ex. “The cottony clouds.” • Personification: Giving human traits to something that isn’t human. “The tree’s arms shook in the breeze.”
Sample Smiley Face Techniques: • “My hair is like peach fuzz.” • “It was a hot July morning, and the last few days of freedom before school were slipping by faster than a greased ten-foot-long boa constrictor at the ice capades. In other words, I only had a week and a half to play my brains out, both inside and outside, and a week and a half before the evil schoolwork monsters took over my time, a week and a half before life as I had known it these past two months was over.”
Smiley Face Trick #3: Specific Details for Effect • Use showing language to draw your reader into your writing. Be specific rather than vague. • Ex. My boyfriend is in my class. • Ex. “My boyfriend sits in the second row from the left, third seat, in front of Claudia and behind Milton.”
Another Example It was the first day of school and I wasn’t prepared for it, I took a look at my watch, sat down on my bed, and started to crochet. I was no good at it, but I had to learn. I looked at the crooked doily I had made and unraveled the whole thing. “I will do this if it’s the last thing I do before she…” Tears rolled down my face and I walked out of the house to catch the bus. I was hoping to find a new bus, but my wishes never came true because here came bus 33, the bus with torn seats, a coughing, hacking engine, and holes so deep in the aisle we could see the road beneath us (Greaux, Tasha).
Smiley face technique #4: Repetition for Effect • Repeating specifically chosen words to make a point. • Ex. Replacing junk food at IWA with healthier choices could have a great effect upon students. It could affect their health, it could affect their habits, and it could affect their concentration in class.
Another example • She said it as though I had my own carriage I could ride on Thursdays or any day or at the snap of my fingers, like she does. She knows I’m only allowed a driver on Sundays. She knows the old woman lives three estates and one house down the way– the long long way. She knows I have to walk the road and back, and she knows the maid was supposed to hem up that stupid petticoat– too long and all. The only reason I was asked to do such an outrageous favor for her was because everybody else on the estate was concentrating on her– how lovely her hair looked, how lovely her dress fit, and how lovely her gold broach looked with the pearls she had had to buy for herself (Erin Haifley).
Smiley face techniques cont’d. • #5: Expanded moment– emphasize a moment by expanding the actions. • Ex. “I sat down, crossed my legs, flipped my hair away from my face, and began to write.”
Expanded Moment– another example. • “I wonder where them dumb old girls went?” one asked. “They’re probably off painting their nails,” the other said. A few more insults like that, and by then my friend and I had heard enough. I looked at Annie and noticed she had the same look on her face. Two windows stood before us so we walked to one quietly and looked at each other. She had that same expression on her face that she had before she rolled down “Dead Man’s Hill” in a barrel. I knew what she was thinking. She mouthed, “One, two, three…” Then we jumped from our fifteen-foot-high tree house and landed miraculously on our feet. We scared the living daylights out of those boys, and they took off running like two little sissy girls. Annie and I burst out laughing until our jaws hurt. We spend the rest of the day giggling and remembering (Manzak, Lauren).
Smiley Face Trick #6: Humor • Injecting a bit of humor into your paper can turn a boring paper into one that interests your reader. • Ex. “There I was on the first day of school– the picture-perfect girl. My new outfit looked like something from my big sister’s magazine, my hair—for once– was having a good day, and I was strutting in my new shoes. Little did I know that I was trailing a three-yard piece of Charmin behind me. So much for using the bathroom right before class!”
Another Example of Humor • “Why you lyin’, cheatin’ stinkin’, hairy, little double-crossin’, yellow-bellied sapsucker! Me and Pa done looked all over fifteen dadgum counties for you, and yer just roaming around out here in a bear suit laying monkey eggs or something all over creation. You think gasoline comes cheap nowadays? That receipt had a three-digit figure on it! Pa’s gonna turn you over his knee and beat the livin’ daylights outa you! I’m tellin’ you, girl, I’m a slap you so hard your uncle’s gonna say ‘Ouch!’ Now take off that mask.” The creature did as it was told and removed the mask. “Good lord, sis! Am I going blind or are you just gettin’ uglier? For the love of Snoopy put that thing back on before you get arrested” (Paul Roberts).
Smiley Face Trick #7: Hyphenated Modifiers • Brings attention to your adverbs and adjectives. • A chance to be creative. • Ex. “My mother gave her famous you-better-get-to-your-room-now-and-make-it-shine-before-I-get-to-your-behind look.”
Another Example of a Hyphenated Modifier • Little did I know that Mom asked if I liked the new neighborhood in town that that one innocent question would be the beginning of the destruction of my life. I was going to choose “yes” as my answer, but I had once of those I-don’t-want-to-lose-my-friends looks (Brian Fontenot).
Another Smiley Face Technique • #8: Full Circle Ending– Try repeating a phrase from the beginning of the piece for effect. • Ex. Math class– it’s like a foreign language, a mystery, a puzzle. First day– my luck– we do fractions. Invert and multiply, I’ve got it memorized, but when do I do it? The teacher talks in numbers, not words, and when she uses words, there’s always a catch– something about trains or planes leaving cities at some time and how fast were they going. She calls them “story” problems. What kind of story is that– the boring kind? Math class– it’s like a foreign language.
Full-Circle Ending Example G:\IWA\composition 1b\LAP 3\smiley face technique #8, full circle ending.doc