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A Writer's Heart
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Writing: A Writer's Heart

Letting Your Feelings Show


Today's Snack: When you want your emotions to show clearly in writing, you want your "heart" to be clear in your words. We call that your "voice." One way to clear your physical voice, and help your heart, too, is to drink grapefruit juice! It's great for your vocal cords, and a heart-healthy, nutritious drink. You might enjoy a few whole-wheat crackers to go with.




Print out the bottom of this Treat

or use lined writing paper and No. 2 pencil


Write the list of attitudes, below, on a chalkboard or whiteboard,

or project onto a big screen



A good writer is able to communicate feelings and emotions along with facts and ideas, when feelings and emotions are appropriate to share - which is just about any writing task EXCEPT when you are writing a factual report.


For all but factual writing, it's a good idea to reveal your heart along with your mind. It's pleasing to the reader to get "the big picture" of not only what you know, but what you feel. It helps the reader's understanding a lot.


Instead of just writing, "I feel sad" or "I feel happy," though, a good writer will select words and write sentences that convey that feeling without coming right out and saying how he or she feels.


An effective writer will show, rather than tell, the reader what that writer is feeling. You do that by making particular word choices and setting the scene with particular connotations (secondary meanings) that guide the reader into knowing how the writer feels.


For example, if you are trying to create a homey atmosphere in a short story, you might choose to include the fact that there is a glowing fire in the fireplace when you describe the living room. In most cases, the image of a fire in a fireplace connotes coziness and warmth, and the word "glowing" brings up the ideas of beauty and peacefulness in your reader's mind.


On the other hand, if the emotions you want to bring out of your reader are fear and suspense, you might write that the fireplace was "cold and dark," which has a connotation of a LACK of coziness, warmth, beauty and peace, and makes the reader wonder why, and start to worry that there might be an ominous answer.


It's pretty easy to "weave" feelings and emotions into your writing, once you get the hang of it. Let's practice!


Consider these word choices in deciding whether the writer is happy or sad. Have a student act out these scenes as you read aloud:



First Scene:

The new puppy was lonely, and barking like crazy out on the porch. Plagued by guilt, I knew the neighbors were being bothered by the noise. I looked out there, and was dismayed to see three puddles. Sighing, I trudged over to get the mop and bucket to clean up the mess. When the mop broke off in my hand, my chest felt heavy and my eyes filled with tears.



Second Scene:

The new puppy was wriggling and full of fun, barking her excitement out on the porch. Thank goodness the neighbors love animals as much as we do. I looked out there, and saw that there were only three puddles, compared to seven yesterday. With a smile, I hopped over to get the mop and bucket to clean up. When the mop broke off in my hand, the humor of situation grabbed me and I burst out laughing.



Now let's try it. Write two paragraphs, both answering the following question, but showing two completely different attitudes or tones.


Choose your two attitudes or tones from the following list.


Then write two different paragraphs answering the same writing prompt, and share with other students. Can they guess which attitude you chose?


Choose two attitudes, and write one paragraph for each:





Humorously sarcastic







Other: ________________



Here is your writing prompt:



What is the hardest thing for you to share with someone else, and why?




(You can either print this out and write your paragraphs on this pagfe, or use lined writing paper)



Paragraph #1:


_______________________ (Attitude)









Paragraph #2


_______________________ (Attitude)








By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010






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