Showing posts from August, 2008

A Trip Down Memoir Lane

A memoir is not a review of an entire life. It is merely a piece of that life – a snippet, a chunk, an event that has taken place during that person’s life. It's the snapshot, not the album. The events are told from that person’s point of view.

“The writer of a memoir takes us back to a corner of his or her life that is usually vivid or intense.”
Zinsser,W (Ed). (1987). “Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft Of Memoir”

A memoir incorporates a sequence of feelings, thoughts and observations surrounding the chosen event. Often the writer comes to a personal reflection on this event.

How does this event reflect my life?

What feelings, thoughts and observations are keys to this event?

In teaching students to write a memoir piece, it is important for the writer to narrow the topic before commencing the task of committing words to paper.

To begin, it may prove beneficial to read examples of memoirs or have examples read to them before they begin to generate their own potential topics.It allow…

Excavating Writing Ideas

Try This!

Find an old diary or writer’s notebook. Open it to any page and reread the entry. Let that be the inspiration or launching pad for a new piece of writing. Even if it’s not what you thought you’d ever write more about, give it your best shot, and see what happens.
Ah,the value of rereading your entries!

Lifting A Line -Two Examples

Lifting A Line from a text –Example 1

Here is a writing idea I picked up from listening to David Morely’s Writing Challenges, (Warick University UK). Those of you with technological pretensions may choose to download these writing challenges as podcasts. I found this link in the Itunes store but there is also a link through David's webpage.

For those of you who wish to contact David Morley’s web site, check out the Writing links to the right of this post, and it will take you directly to the place you are seeking, -It's as easy as that!

David challenged me to randomly open a book and point to any part of the facing page without sneeking a peek before hand. Then he asked me to choose a line from somewhere in the text near to where my finger landed. I had to choose a phrase that caught my eye. I was then asked to lift that line and write it in my writer’s notebook. David directed me to repeat this process until I had gathered approximately a page of random phrases. In the end my li…

The Challenge of Teaching Effective Endings?

Let’s face it, as teachers of writing we have been much better at teaching students about effective leads and introductions than we have about constructing effective endings. It has certainly been a feature of the way we teach expository writing, where the conclusion is promoted as a careful restating of the writer’s viewpoint, but generally we have devoted more attention to introductions. Our students need to understand that the energy they devote to writing an effective lead needs to be evident in the endings they create.

Endings are the final contact the writer has with the reader. It is the last opportunity to make an impression.

For this reason young writers should be encouraged to take time with their endings and write them carefully. A great ending will not only make reading a satisfying experience, but prospective audiences will be more likely to want to read more of your work!

Endings matter! How many times have you as an adult reader been deeply involved in your reading only to…

Something Worth Sharing About Writing

It goes by several names. That brief few minutes at the end of the writing workshop. Sometimes it’s called ‘share time’. Some people refer to it as ‘share out’ or simply “share.” It’s that time at the conclusion of a lesson that all too often gets squeezed out, which is a tragedy because it represents a critical stage in the lesson, -It’s the finale that’s provides closure to an effective lesson. It’s when the fat lady of writing sings. And the aria is in praise of the writing that has just taken place! Deny her and you are diminishing the integrity of your writing program.

We should never underestimate the intrinsic value of ‘sharing’ writing. It remains an incredibly valuable teaching and learning opportunity. It should be protected within the workshop structure as one would protect anything of value. For the teacher it provides an invaluable opportunity to provide feedback on elements of the lesson just concluded. Sometimes it’s a chance to celebrate a discovery, a breakthrough,…