Changing Your Slant
Today's Snack: Make a smoothie (6-oz. container of yogurt, a
splash of orange juice, half a cut-up banana and a handful of frozen
strawberries) in the blender. Add more o.j. if it's not runny enough. Then
drink it . . . at a SLANT!
Print out this Treat |
No. 2 pencil
Writers have to be flexible and
adaptable in accomplishing each kind of writing task. You can't use the same
style, mood, tone and "voice" for everything you write. You aren't a machine,
You will make completely different
writing choices when you change the place you are coming from - your angle -
your motivation, or "mo." Writers call that a "slant" - a direction for the
So let's work on our ability to change
the "slant" of any given sentence. Let's take a plain sentence, and change it
to a completely different tone.
You can invent new reasons and
motivations for the actions to fit the new purpose of the writing. You can
choose certain details to include with one slant that would be inappropriate
Naturally, you'll select different words
to go with each version. That will help you communicate better! Then let's look
at what completely different sentences we create.
First, here's an example of an original
sentence and different versions. Circle words that you think show the tone
The bird hopped onto the branch.
The eagle's glistening talons seized the quivering limb.
Still clutching Mrs. Fuddbuster's diamond ring in its
beak, the escaping chickadee suddenly paused to perch on a branch, and,
incredibly, seemed to smile and wink at her.
The legless bird gradually pulled itself along the branch,
using its beak and wing.
The bird hopped onto the branch, not seeing the cat
poised in the crotch of the tree, and met its doom in the jaws of the invader.
The vulture landed with an ominous "whomp!" next to me as
I stared at the cow's carcass.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that a bird had hopped
onto the branch outside the window. But that was no bird. That was a South
American jungle parrot!
The cascade of downy white feathers rustled gracefully
onto the branch, agleam with thousands of diamonds, or perhaps drops of morning
how much different the mood and tone is with each different slant?
you write new versions of this basic sentence. Choose your favorite. Then write
a story that includes that sentence. Use that sentence as a centerpiece of your
story, connecting it to what happened before, during, or after this happened:
The dog came toward me.