Thursday, September 5, 2013

"The Surprise"

Your first writing assignment for Language Arts is a 2-3 page anecdote about a “surprise.”  The anecdote will be narrated by you (that means you will write in the First Person).  The anecdote should be based on something you remember well.  However, if you don’t remember the details exactly, you can invent them, so long as they sound plausible.  Remember, this is not a fantasy story; however, sometimes “truth is stranger than fiction.”  Mr. Gacek does not want you to have any help from home with the writing of this anecdote.  However, feel free to talk to parents or others about your ideas in terms of what to write about, or if you need help remembering a particular detail.  The actual writing, however, needs to be done entirely by you.

  • Typed (if you do not have access at home to a computer, please bring in a note from home to that effect and submit a handwritten paper)
  • 1.5 line spacing (Remove Space After Paragraph)
  • Appropriate font (size 13)
  • Heading
  • Title
  • 2-3 Pages in Length (This will require some planning on your part.  Your idea must be big enough that you can write at least two pages, but not so big that it needs more than three.)
  • Dialogue must be included in the anecdote
  • First Person Narration
  • Anecdote must reveal a “surprise”
Brainstorming #1: Before you start writing, you need to come up with an idea about something to write about.  On a blank sheet of paper, divide the paper into 3 rows and 3 columns.  In the first column, think up 3 possible writing topics and place a separate idea in each row.  In the second column, record the biggest advantage you can think of for writing about that topic (you can use a phrase instead of a complete sentence for this).  In the third column, record the biggest disadvantage you can think of for writing about this topic.  After you’ve filled in all nine boxes, you need to choose a topic.  Use your highlighter to highlight this idea.

Brainstorming #2: When you’re telling your anecdote, you’re going to want to tell a story.  Before you reveal the surprise you need to provide the reader with context.  You need to explain who the characters are in your story, where the story takes place, and what activities are taking place prior to the revealing of the surprise.  Some of this background detail can be provided through dialogue; the rest needs to be revealed by the narrator.

On the backside of the piece of paper, place your idea in the center of the circle and draw a circle around it.  Divide the space around the circle into 3 sections.  Label one section CHARACTERS, one section SETTING, and the last section ACTIONS. 

CHARACTERS: Place the names of characters which appear in the anecdote in that space and draw circles around the names.  Draw at least two spokes pointing outward from each name and record a descriptive detail about the character on each spoke.  Details should be words or short phrases.  Details can relate to age, appearance, personality, or relation to narrator.

SETTING: Record the specific place where the anecdote transpires in this space and circle that word or phrase.  Record words or short phrases which describe the setting on spokes pointing outward from that circle.

ACTIONS: In this space, record activities, events, or occurrences which occur over the course of your anecdote.  Record at least three things which happen in your story, including the revealing of your surprise.  Circle each separate action.  Then number each action in the order in which it is introduced in the anecdote.

After you complete your brainstorming, you are ready to write.  You will include description of characters, the setting, and events in your anecdote.  Don’t forget to include dialogue.  Have fun!

Mon, Sept. 9  Brainstorming #1 due
Tues, Sept. 10  Brainstorming #2 due
Wed, Sept. 11 First Page of Assignment due (hard copy due in class)
Mon, Sept. 16 Finished Assignment due (hard copy due in class)

Possible Arenas in Which You Might Encounter Surprises:

  • Sports
  • School
  • Family/Relatives
  • Holidays
  • Vacations
  • Hobbies/Activities
  • Chores/Errands
  • Friends
  • Moving
The surprise should be related to something you experienced or witnessed.  Do not re-tell a surprise from a book, movie, or TV show.

The narrator does not have to be the person experiencing the surprise.  The narrator can describe someone else being surprised.

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