Greetings, Quillers and Thrillers!
Welcome back to Quills and Thrills: Creative Writing for the Google Generation! If you were here last week, I hope you got your Ten Commandments of Digital Citizenship pledge and permission form signed by your parents because this week’s prompt is all about building your online presence!
If you are new to Quills and Thrills this week, welcome! You can check out last week’s prompt here, or just jump right into this week’s. Before you start building your online presence, however, you need to review the Ten Commandments of Digital Citizenship pledge and permission form with your parents and turn it in as soon as possible.
Dont have your Ten Commandments of Digital Citizenship permission form signed yet? No worries, you can still create the tools needed to build your online presence and set them aside until you get that permission form signed.
Figurative Language Throw Down Challenge
Prime your mind for creative thinking every week with the Figurative Language Throw Down Challenge! Check out the rules for the weekly challenge before playing.
— Ms. Hayes (@mskellyhayes) November 11, 2015
Submit your weekly entry to Twitter using #QuillsandThrillsFLTD!
New Experience: Chewing Cotton Balls!
A small percentage of writing happens with a pen in your hand or a keyboard under your fingers. In fact, the bulk of writing happens through new experiences both profound and mundane. After all, how can you write about exciting new adventures without having a few adventures yourself?
This week’s experience requires fresh cotton balls and an open mind. Chew on a cotton ball. How does it feel against your cheek? Between your teeth? Under your tongue? What happens to the cotton ball the longer it is in your mouth?
Before moving on to this week’s writing prompt, jot down your observations from this new experience in your journal. As always, try to use imagery and figurative language to make a reader experience what you’ve just experienced. Brainstorm different scenarios in which this experience will help your writing come alive.
Without revealing any personal details about yourself (such as your name, your hometown, your school, your address, your phone number, or your photograph), introduce yourself to your future followers by writing a series of connected anecdotes that highlight who you are and what you stand for. Make sure you use imagery and figurative language to show and not tell!
Before you start writing, ask yourself: what’s the point?
In case you’re wondering, an anecdote is a short and amusing story about a real event or a person. There are many types of writing that use connected anecdotes to prove a point, the most common being memoirs and narrative essays. While this prompt doesn’t demand something as long as a memoir or as boring as an essay, it does expect you to find some way to connect your anecdotes together somehow so you prove a point to the reader. As for finding the point you want to prove, you have options:
- What are you passionate about? Your point could be to show the reader how you discovered your passion. Lead them there by writing about the journey.
- What personal characteristics define you? Your point then may be to prove that you’re loyal to your friends yet not to yourself, or that you are extremely artistic but also painfully shy. Give the reader a taste of who you are by revealing both some of your best and worse traits by showing them specific instances in your life that best exhibit these traits.
- Maybe you don’t know what you’re passionate about or you’re not comfortable writing about your defining characteristics, but you do have something else to say to your potential audience. If so, say it! But how can you use a series of anecdotes to lead your reader to your message? If you want to take a stand against bullying by writing about random acts of kindness around school or the world, tell the reader about what inspired you to choose that topic. You may not have a story from your own life to tell, but you could write about an inspirational movie, book, commercial, or news article.
- Maybe you don’t know what the point is, and that’s your point. Great! Readers love a journey of self-discovery. Write a series of anecdotes that best illustrate the confusion you’re feeling. The confusion could be the point you wish to communicate to the reader.
Once you’re finished introducing yourself to your future readers with a series of connected anecdotes, start brainstorming a title for your blog or YouTube channel. The best titles are witty puns, oxymorons, or based on something meaningful to you and your topic. For example, I once had a blog called Log In to Literacy that focused on how teachers could use technology in the classroom. That title worked well because it alluded to my blog’s topic: digital literacy, and used a play on words with the computer term “log in.” It also used alliteration with the repeating “L” sound in log and literacy. Super fun! I’ve since merged that blog with the website you’re on now, but I still think about that blog name with fondness and a smile.
That’s All, Folks!
I’ve written many blog posts in which I use short anecdotes to prove a point. My favorites are both about writing. Check them out by clicking on the links below!
- On Writing – Ms. Hayes’ personal writing journey from kindergarten to teaching high school seniors.
- (Somewhat) Random Thoughts about Writing – A little something I wrote about writing while teaching writing.
If you publish your own response to this prompt somewhere on the interwebs, please share it with me by linking to it in the comments below! Just make sure to check out the Ten Commandments of Digital Citizenship before creating your own blog or YouTube channel. Safety comes first!
Tune in next week for a new writing prompt!