It's In the Bag
Today's Snack: Have a bag of pretzels with a Capri Sun, which is a
drink that comes in a sort of a bag.
All kinds of small toys and objects that are "characters"
Each one should be in a different paper sack
Writing notebook or paper and pencil
"voice," in writing, is your style and personality. Your "voice" is revealed by
the words you choose, the way you put your sentences together, and the picture
that you "paint" with your writing.
people read what you write, they should feel as if you're standing right there,
talking to them. Your "voice" should be the REAL you.
it's your voice, and nobody else's, your writing should "sound" like you.
like your fingerprint or the sound of your real voice.
it comes to talking and singing, every single human being on Earth has a
different, distinctive voice. You can tell all your friends apart by the sounds
of their voices. Right?
writer's style, or "voice," is as diverse as anything else. No two people paint
pictures that are identical . . . no two basketball players dribble the ball in
exactly the same style . . . no two people play the guitar the same way, to the
same beat and with the same choice of chords.
what "voice" is in writing. Each of us is distinctively, deliciously different!
do so many kids still write in a flat, serious, boring style that sounds like
an encyclopedia? Maybe they think that's what teachers want.
Everybody wants your personality to shine through your writing. And you're not
flat, serious and boring, are you? Of course not!
unique! Be yourself! Be willing to take a risk and expose yourself a little bit
through bold and lively writing.
proud of yourself and how you write! If you feel good about your writing, your
reader will feel good about it, too.
write with personality, you have to know the answers to these three things:
Who are you?
- Your writing should "sound like you," and nobody
- Your written words should match your spoken
- Be yourself! Don't try to impress anyone. Be
natural. Be honest. Be interesting!
- Express your real feelings.
- Keep it simple, plain, orderly and sincere.
- Make your writing come to life by pretending you
are talking to a friend, and just happen to be writing it down.
- Let your enthusiasm shine in your writing, and
it'll be contagious.
Who is your audience?
- What kind of person is likely to read what you
are writing? A writer has to know. It's the key to matching the way you
write your message with the people you want to get the message.
- Are your readers other kids? Then you'll
probably use shorter sentences and more slang and easy-going, casual
language or humor.
- Is your only reader your teacher? Then you'll
want to use a combination of simple and complex sentences.
How does your writing sound when you read it aloud?
- Your goal is to get your reader so "into" your
writing that he or she wants to rush out and read what you wrote to the
first person who walks by! So write as if you are going to be quoted.
- Make the rhythm and sound of your words as
pleasant and interesting as the rhythm and sound of your words when you
- Next time at lunch, sit still and listen to your
friends' voices. Do they speak in boring monotones? No! They speak with
lots of feeling and emotion . . . they express strong opinions and beliefs
. . . they have fun or they kindly sympathize . . . but the ONE thing they
DON'T do is be boring and blah!
you're doing this Treat alone, find a stuffed animal, plastic figure, leftover
fast-food giveaway toy, or other object around the house. Anything but a human
figure will do. You know: a dinosaur, a superhero, a snowman, a toy horse, a
finger puppet that looks like a one-eyed alien . . . something like that.
you're doing this Treat in a group, the leader should put a lot of little
characters like that into brown paper sacks in advance. Then have the students
choose a sack and boom! They have to write that character's life story so far,
using their own voice.
kinds of things can you write that will show your "voice"?
Name your character.
Use words your
character would use if he, she or it really were alive.
Show strong feelings!
Be funny, or dead serious.
Invent some facts and
personality traits about your character, and let your writing reflect them.
to be "you," and remember that your audience is your friend.
it aloud to yourself, and rewrite parts that don't sound as much like "you" as
you'd like. You can be the narrator, or it's OK to pretend that it is the
character writing, in the first person.
a time limit, and every five minutes, make everybody bring their sacks back,
and choose a new one to write about. See if you can write about three different
characters and really expand your voice with each one.
fun . . . and the more you practice, the more you'll see that being able to
write with a strong "voice" is . . . in the bag!