Wednesday, January 30, 2013

She's Crafty: The Five Senses

So I started teaching creative writing to my oldest daughter and her friend back in August and we've met almost every Monday. It was to disguise how to learn where a period should go but we also focus on a different aspect of creative writing too. And I've discovered my own writing has improved because we discuss the different crafting techniques. So I thought I would share every Wednesday what comes out of our creative writing group.

This week we went over possessive nouns (seriously, you would think 5th graders would know when to put in an apostrophe, but they struggle) and the five senses.

You hear it all the time: Show, don't tell.

What does that mean? It means you show details versus telling the reader what happened.

Example Tell:  The kids came home from school.

Show It: The door swung open testing the strength of its hinges. Sneakers squeaked against the tile. "Mom, we're home," called Lore pushing in front of Bryn to claim the first brownie off the kitchen counter.

To help the girls understand when they were telling, I had them look over a page of their writing and underline every sentence that was a Tell. Then I told them to replace each of those sentences with a Show.  Easier said than done. "How do I show this?" they kept asking.

My trick to show details: the five senses. I would ask them:
How did it smell?
What did it sound like?
How did it feel?
What did it look like?
What did it taste like?

For the exercise, I required them to use at least 2 senses other than sight to replace each Tell. When you incorporate the five senses, you create more than just a visual to the reader. It was fun to see them as they thought about details like smell and taste.

When I'm editing my own manuscript, if a paragraph falls flat or I find a bad tell, I replace it with a few of the five senses and it creates more depth.

What's your trick for eliminating the dreaded Tell?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland And Led The Revels There

I picked up this series for two reasons: the titles and the artwork. Seriously, I'm in love with the covers of this book series. Also, my little Bryn loves dragons and the fantastical, so I thought this series would be her cup of tea.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M Valente

Published in Oct 2012

Other books in this series:
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (#1)

The Hook: After returning to Fairyland, September discovers her shadow (lost in the first book) has become the Hallow Queen of Fairyland Below and has been stealing the shadows and magic of those who live in Fairyland. September must confront her shadow and rescue the stolen shadows before their magic is lost.

Why I loved it: The writing. It is like delicious butter, smooth and silky. The style is as whimsical as the story. The story is imaginative and reads like a twisted fairytale and I want my daughters to read it. But this is definitely a girl book and not for reluctant readers. While it is a fun adventure, the writing slows the pace of the story and may not move fast enough for a reluctant reader.

Want More? Go to Catherynne M Valente's website.

Other Fabulous MMGMers:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My return from obscurity

I'm back from outerspace. I know, it has been too long. Why the break? Ummm, I unexpectedly...most impossibly got pregnant with my 5th child. Yeah! It blew my mind too. AND I had a boy! What am I going to do with a boy? It's been a learning curve for my now really large family. Gray (family name not after Christian Grey) was born October 20, 2012. It was a really really sick whirlwind before he was born and now I'm in recovery from newborn (he finally sleeps through the night and I'm no longer a walking zombie).

I never stopped writing or reading so I have a lot to tell you. I'll be back to book reviews on Monday and other shenanigans. Can't wait to catch up with everyone.