Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Realistic Fiction: The Event, Part I: Description

We are going to start the year in Language Arts studying Realistic Fiction. You’ll be reading Realistic Fiction and writing your own Realistic Fiction pieces. Later we’ll contrast Realistic Fiction with Fantasy. Later in the year we’ll study the genres of Mystery and Science Fiction literature.

For your first piece of Realistic Fiction, you are going to create a piece in which two characters watch an event. The event can be a sporting event, a celebration, a performance, a spectacle, a festival…I’m being broad because I want you to think of something you’d be interested in describing. You will describe the event the characters are watching. You can invent what happens during the event, but you should probably choose something you know something about, so that you can describe it accurately. The event doesn’t have to be The Greatest Event in the History of Mankind. It can be a normal event in which normal things happen. Your goal is to write a descriptive piece, not necessarily a suspenseful piece (though you can add suspense to your piece at your discretion).

You are telling a story in your Realistic Fiction piece, however. Think of yourself as a storyteller describing these two characters, where they are, and what they see.

You will describe three things in your piece:

1. The characters. Describe the appearance of the characters. Describe what is noticeable about them.

You are creating realistic characters. Give them realistic names and realistic appearances. You can base your characters on people you know. Make your characters fictional, however.

2. Describe where your characters are as they’re watching the event. Describe the venue, the weather, the crowd…anything applicable to the event.

3. Describe the event itself. What is happening? What do your characters see? The event should be somewhat prolonged so that the characters can watch it. It should not be over in an instant.

Your descriptions should happen in the past tense, as if the events have already happened.

Your description should be narrated from a third person perspective. This means that neither of the characters is narrating the description. It is the author, in effect, who is narrating the description.

Do not use any dialogue in your descriptions. You will be adding dialogue to your piece for Realistic Fiction: The Event, Part II: Dialogue.

Your weekend homework is to brainstorm ideas for your two characters, the venue in which they will be watching the event, and the idea itself. The brainstorming sheet will be due Tuesday, September 14.

The finished piece should be at least a full page in length, but no more than 3 pages. It can be typed or hand-written. If you type your piece, please use the following settings: Times New Roman font size 13, 1.5-line spaced.

We will be working on our pieces in class all of next week. You’re welcome to work on this over the weekend, but make sure you bring your work to class with you each day. We won’t be working on computers, so if you work on a computer at home, you need to print out whatever you’re working on to bring to class.

The actual piece will be due Tuesday, September 21, though it can be turned in Wednesday, September 15, if it is finished by that time. It can also be turned in Monday, September 20.

The brainstorming handout can be found here.

Photo Credit: Alex Trebek hosting the 2009 Geo Bee Finals,

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