MAKE WRITING VISIBLE

The purpose of this blog for teachers and my mission as a kids’ book author who does frequent visits to schools is to MAKE WRITING VISIBLE. So much of writing is invisible, inside our brains. That’s where we get our ideas. That’s where we figure out what will happen in our stories. That’s where our creativity lives. That’s where our characters come to life. But are there ways to make all those invisible happenings more visible? YES! I believe we can and we must. By making writing more visible, we take the mystery out of the process. We offer young authors help and hope for becoming better authors. So please join me in MAKING WRITING VISIBLE!

Writing TITLES

Titles are an important part of stories. They are sort of like commercials for the stories. They might make the difference between whether someone decides to read or NOT read stories. All authors want the best titles they can think of.

In the video above (please show to students Gr. 3 and up), Lynn models ways to analyze the titles of published books. Did the authors choose the best titles? What purpose does the title serve--does it tell what the story is about (like School Picture Day), does the title serve a dual purpose (like One Cool Friend), does the title tell you a book rhymes (like A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee), or is the title mysterious (like The Dump Man's Treasures)?

When writing stories, consider writing a title at the END. If you add a title after the story is written, you can better generate a title that matches your story.

In reverse, try writing ONLY TITLES. Don't worry about writing stories for the titles--just try to be creative and come up with interesting titles that would make a reader want to read those stories IF they were written. By practicing writing titles only, you'll boost that one writing skill.

Also, remember that titles need to keep a PROMISE. The title must match the story. It can't be misleading. The reader should think, "Yes!"--it's a perfect title.

See the "Writing Titles Handout" below for ideas for boosting title writing skills.

HANDOUT:
Writing Titles Handout

LINKS:
School Picture Day, Book Fair Day, Field Trip Day by Lynn Plourde & Thor Wickstrom
Wild Child by Lynn Plourde & Greg Couch
A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen
One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo & David Small
The Dump Man's Treasures by Lynn Plourde & Mary Beth Owens
Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness by Donn Fendler, Lynn Plourde, & Ben Bishop
Smile by Raina Telgemeier

RELATED BLOGS:
Sprinkling Make Believe on Stories
Dot Day: Imaginative Brainstorming
Saving Ideas

 

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CHARACTER TALK


Characters in stories talk in unique ways--with words that reflect their personalities. You can't just move dialogue between characters in a story. Someone bossy says things in a different way than someone with a big ego or someone who has an over-the-top personality. In the video above, you'll see examples of how each of these types of characters talk.

Encourage your students as READERS to notice how characters in picture books talk and then discuss why their styles or ways of talking are good matches for their personalities. Next challenge your students to go one step further and generate NEW conversation for picture book characters. What would Fancy Nancy or Skippyjon Jones or Amelia Bedelia say if they were running late or were at a movie premiere or relaxing at the beach? (Note: This generating-conversation activity is modeled in the video above.)

As students notice how characters in books talk, then challenge them to improve the conversation of characters in their own stories. How can they WRITE conversation that matches their characters, that reveals their personalities?

During SHARE TIME, have students share strong "character talk" examples from books they are reading and from their own writing.

In the COMMENT section, suggest names of YOUR favorite DISTINCT CHARACTERS.

HANDOUT:
Character Talk Handout

LINKS:
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham & Paul O. Zelinsky
Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud by Lynn Plourde & John Schoenherr
You're Wearing THAT to School?! by Lynn Plourde & Sue Cornelison

RELATED BLOGS:
Writing Speech Bubbles for Wordless Books

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