On Tuesdays, the writing community at Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Everyone is welcome to join in by writing, commenting, or just reading slices from around the world!
Over the weekend, I participated in a writing retreat hosted by Brenda Power. Throughout the time, she gave us snippets of articles and ideas to push our thinking about writing--both other people's and our own. Once of the ideas she shared will change my information writing.
Highlight the scenes
We had all been writing posts and articles, not the genre of writing where we typically think about scenes. She gave us highlighters and we went to work with our own writing, highlighting the parts of our posts where we'd included scenes. Some of us had several lines of highlighted text, but others had very little highlighting on our papers.
"You don't have to have highlighting," Brenda was quick to say. "Not all articles and posts have scenes."
But as we talked about scenes within other genres of writing, we realized that these snippets of story woven into information or opinion writing engage readers.
"It's the scenes that pull the readers in," I said to my daughter as I explained the activity to her. She was working on an explanatory essay, and it was packed full of information. "Create some spots where you could have people on a stage, even if it's just for seconds."
That line made sense to her, and her writing gradually gained voice, a trait of writing that is so hard to define, so hard to teach, but so important in engaging readers.
It's October, so I'd guess many of us are in the middle of narrative units with students. As we shift into other genres of writing, I love the idea of continuing elements of our narrative writing and creating scenes within other genres.