Saturday, November 7, 2009

tips for an interesting composition

Techniques to make your writing come alive for your readers:
  • Give vivid and specific details about a character's personality, interests, characteristics, and so on.
  • Include some direct quotes.
  • Place the most interesting points at the beginning or end of a sentence, where they stand out.
Here is a short story from Myths and Legends of California , by Katharine Berry Judson. Read the story for enjoyment. Then, read the story to see what details Katherine Berry gives about the origins of the Apache people. What points does she make in this short story?

Why the Apaches are Fierce

Pima (Arizona)

Elder Brother, Coyote, and Earth Doctor, after the flood vanished, began to create people and animals. Coyote made all the animals, Elder Brother made the people, and Earth Doctor made queer creatures which had only one leg, or immense ears, or many fingers, and some having flames of fire in their knees.

Elder Brother divided his figures of people into four groups. One of the Apaches came to life first. He shivered and said, "Oh, it's very cold," and began to sway back and forth. Then Elder Brother said, "I didn't think you would be the first to awake," and he took all the Apaches up in his hand and threw them over the mountains. That made them angry, and that is why they have always been so fierce.

Myths and Legends of California, by Katharine Berry Judson can be read online. The story can also be accessed through Rick Walton's Online Library. Rick Walton has many stories that can read online. He also provides links to other resources for further online reading.


Read your first draft for organization and flow. It is best if you and a classmate check each others' work. Check your final draft for spelling, punctuation, and grammar, especially your use of verbs. Examine your draft for logical flow. Is the sequence of time logical and correct? Then examine the descriptive elements of your composition. Can the reader form an image of the character? Is the image colorful and interesting?


What other authors can you think of who possess powerful skills at descriptive writing? In the field of science fiction, Stephen King immediately comes to mind. Another example from an earlier age is Mark Twain. Good descriptive writing is personal and immediate. Read for example The Diary of Anne Frank. Other examples of personal writing are found in the works of Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Richard Wright.

Can you give other examples of descriptive authors and their works? Can you broaden the list of authors by nationality, gender, age, and subject? What gives their work meaning and impact? How do these authors and their stories relate to your life? What stories do you have to tell?

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