How many times have your teachers told you that your writing needs more creativity, length, sentence variety, etc.?



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SMILEY FACE TRICKS

  • This is a great way to get you to think and write more creatively.

How many times have your teachers told you that your writing needs more creativity, length, sentence variety, etc.?

  • That kind of information is worth about as much as a snow blower in the Mojave Desert on a 102 degree afternoon. That kind of information does not show you SPECIFICALLY HOW to fix your writing. However, Smiley-Face tricks show you how you can enhance your writing like never before.

What are smiley-face tricks? Smiley-face tricks are writing “riffs” or “moves” that a writer has (and uses) in order add pizzazz or spice to his or her writing (along with adding creativity, length, sentence variety, etc.). In basketball, a player might have moves that consist of “driving the lane” or the “fade away” shot. In ballet, the dancer might perform a pirouette or maintain a fifth position. However, whether you are a basketball player, ballet dancer, or writer, you need “riffs” or “moves” in order to execute what exactly it is that you want to do.  By utilizing smiley-face tricks correctly, I guarantee an improvement on your writing. The 8 smiley-face tricks that you are responsible for mastering are as follows.

  • What are smiley-face tricks? Smiley-face tricks are writing “riffs” or “moves” that a writer has (and uses) in order add pizzazz or spice to his or her writing (along with adding creativity, length, sentence variety, etc.). In basketball, a player might have moves that consist of “driving the lane” or the “fade away” shot. In ballet, the dancer might perform a pirouette or maintain a fifth position. However, whether you are a basketball player, ballet dancer, or writer, you need “riffs” or “moves” in order to execute what exactly it is that you want to do.  By utilizing smiley-face tricks correctly, I guarantee an improvement on your writing. The 8 smiley-face tricks that you are responsible for mastering are as follows.

1) MAGIC 3 (or 4, 5, 6, etc.):

  • Three examples in a series can create a poetic rhythm, or at least add support for a point, especially when the three items have their own modifiers:

Example of Magic 3

  • If I had a sticker on my shirt that read “Loser” or if my hair looked like a zombies or if I had spinach stuck between my teeth, she would tell me the truth no matter what.
  • .”

Another example of Magic 3

  • Sometimes I wonder why the geeks get picked on. It’s always, “Hey, look, it’s nerd boy again, going to his daily session of chess club,” or “Where you think you’re going, smarty pants, I thought we had a deal––you carry my lunch tray, and I won’t give you a wedgie,” or “Brain on feet, do my homework for a while––say till school’s out––and I’ll try to get you a date with the girl who has glasses thicker than yours
  •     A. "She blinked her blue-green eyes, chewed on a lacquered nail and frowned at the interviewer.”
  •     B. "I'm afraid to jump," said one chicken.
  •     "Oh, " said the others.
  •     "Me too."
  •     "Me three."
  •     "Me four."
  •     "What if we can't jump that far?"
  •     "What if we fall in a ditch?"
  •     "What if we get sucked into the mud?"
  •     The chickens tutted, putted, and flutted. They butted into themselves and each other until... (Helakoski)

2) COLON/SEMI-COLON MAGIC 3:

  • Like the magic 3 except the examples are longer.

Example:

  • Last night was awesome! We did the following: Worked arduously on our homework to where our brains were frazzled beyond repair; drank so much coffee to where we started acting like a bunch of knife-wielding ring-tailed lemurs; engaged in a ton of it-is-not-so-important-but-it-is really-fun conversation; and played “Yikes! You’re Blue”—the Hold-Your-Breath game until one of us had to be resuscitated.
  • She really likes Snooky a lot. You can tell by the way she: gets nauseas to the point of vomiting when he’s around; screams, “Yee haaaaaa! Whoop-de-doo” at the mere mention of his name; and perpetually denies her admiration for him when her friends tease her about her Snooky-adoration.

Exercise for Magic Three:

  • Exercise: Write a paragraph about a person using the Magic Three to describe that person’s actions.

2. Figurative Language

  • Nonliteral comparisons–– such as similes, metaphors, and personifications–– add “spice” to writing and can help paint a more vivid picture for the reader.

~SIMILIES~ comepare using like or as...stiff AS a board ~METAPHORS~ compares without using like or as... her face is an opsn book ~HYERBOLE~ an extreme exaggeration... so hungry i could eat a horse ~ONOMATOPOEIA~ a word that sounds like what it means... BAM! BOOM! ZAP! CRUNCH! ~ALLITERATION~ repetition of beginning consonant sound...peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers...gives noise and music to the piece of writing ~ASSONANCE~ related to alliteration, the dark side of it, repetition of vowel sound in neighboring words...rain in spain....but it doesn't have to rhyme...hEat of the mEan girls' argument is a near rhyme

  • ~SIMILIES~ comepare using like or as...stiff AS a board ~METAPHORS~ compares without using like or as... her face is an opsn book ~HYERBOLE~ an extreme exaggeration... so hungry i could eat a horse ~ONOMATOPOEIA~ a word that sounds like what it means... BAM! BOOM! ZAP! CRUNCH! ~ALLITERATION~ repetition of beginning consonant sound...peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers...gives noise and music to the piece of writing ~ASSONANCE~ related to alliteration, the dark side of it, repetition of vowel sound in neighboring words...rain in spain....but it doesn't have to rhyme...hEat of the mEan girls' argument is a near rhyme

Example of Figurative Language:

  • It was a hot July morning and the last few days of freedom before school were slipping by faster than a greased ten-foot-long boa constrictor at the ice capades. In other words, I only had a week and a half to play my brains out, both inside and outside, and a week and a half before the evil schoolwork monsters took over my time, a week and a half before the life as I had known it these past two months was over.

    "When the teacher asks us all to hold hands and Wyatt reaches for mine, this jolt of electricity floods out of his fingers and ricochets through my whole body like I'm this human pinball machine and Wyatt's the ball."

Exercise:

  • Exercises:
  •     Make Your Own Similes and metaphors
  •     That girl was as skinny as________________________.
  •     The chickens were as nervous as__________________.
  •     Grandma's hug was as warm as__________________.
  •     The librarian was wound as tightly as_______________.
  •     He was as skittish as___________________________.
  •     Her stomach growled like________________________.
  •     The howl ripped through the air like a______________.
  •     The breeze from the window was like_______________.
  •     Fear crawled over him like_______________________.

3. SPECIFIC DETAILS FOR EFFECT

  • Instead of general, vague descriptions,
  • specific sensory details help the reader visualize the person, place, thing, or idea that you are describing.

Example of Specific Details for Effect

  • “The smell rushed at me as soon as I stepped inside. The hallway had that mama-don't-cook-nothin-without-onions smell. It lingered on top of musty cigarette smoke, the kind that never quite comes out of the carpet, no matter how long ago the smoker left. My arms rippled with goose bumps. I'd been here before."

Exercise:

  •    Exercise: Describe a place you have seen. Use specific details and appeal to at least 3 of the 5 senses as you describe the scene.

4. Repetition for Effect––

  • Writers often repeat specially chosen words or phrases to make a point; to stress certain ideas for the reader.

Example of Repetition for Effect:

  • She said it was as though I had my own carriage I could ride on Thursdays or any day or at the snap of my fingers, like she does. She knows I’m only allowed a driver on Sundays. She knows the old woman lives three estates and one house down the way–– the long, long, way. She knows I have to walk the road and back, and she knows the maid was supposed to hem up that stupid petticoat–– too long and all. the only reason I was asked to do such an outrageous favor for her was because everybody else on the estate was concentrating on her–– how lovely her hair looked, how lovely her dress fit, and how lovely her gold broach looked with the pearls she had had to buy herself.

Another Example of Repetition For Effect

  • "I’m going away from this place.  Away from my disapproving mother, away from my groping brother and away from this infernal heat.” (Leslie)

Exercise:

  • Write a paragraph about your typical school-day morning.  Use repetition to emphasize a particular thought or idea.

5. Expanded Moment

  • Instead of “speeding” past a moment, writers
  • often emphasize it by “expanding” the actions.

Example:

  • “I wonder where them dumb old girls went?” one asked. “They’re probably off painting their nails,” the other said. A few more insults like that, and by then my friend and I had heard enough. I looked at Annie and noticed she had the same look on her face. Two windows stood before us so we walked to one quietly and looked at each other. She had that same expression on her face that she had before she rolled down “Dead Man’s Hill” in a barrel. I knew what she was thinking. She mouthed, “One, two, three....” Then we jumped from our fifteen-foot-high tree house and landed miraculously on our feet. We scared the living daylights out of those boys, and they took off running like two little sissy girls. Annie and I burst out laughing until our jaws hurt. We spent the rest of the day giggling and remembering.

Another Example:

  • Placing my foot on the edge of the shovel, I push down with my arms and leg. My muscles strain as the blade breaks through the soil. Once it’s in, I tilt the handle back toward the ground and push until the earth is loosened. I dump the pile of soil onto the ground. Bending down I grab clumps of earth and begin shaking away the loose dirt and returning stray worms to their underground homes. The unneeded grass is deposited in my garbage sack. The ground is tilled to break up the clumps of sod and to smooth the dirt. Using my hand spade, I dig small holes in which to plant my future flowers. I then tuck my tulip and daffodil bulbs into their new beds so they can sleep warmly through the winter.

Exercise:

  • Write a scene where you wake up in a dark house after hearing an odd sound. Expand the moment to build suspense.

6. Humor

  • Professional writers know the value of laughter; even subtle humor can help turn a “boring” paper into one that can raise someone’s spirits.

Example of Humor:

  • “Why you lyin’, cheatin’, stinkin’, hairy, little double crossin’, yellow-bellied sapsucker! Me and Pa done looked all over fifteen dadgum counties for you, and yer just roaming around out here in a bear suit laying monkey eggs or something all over creation. You think gasoline comes cheap nowadays? That receipt had a three-digit figure on it! Pa’s gonna turn you over his knee and beat the livin’ daylights outa you! I’m tellin’ you, girl, I’m a slap you so hard your uncle’s gonna say ‘Ouch!’ Now take off that mask!” The creature did as it was told and removed the mask. “Good lord, sis! Am I going blind or are you just gettin’ uglier? For the love of Snoopy put that thing back on before you get arrested!”

Exercise:

  • Write a paragraph that places a character in an environment or situation you wouldn't expect him to be.  Example: A city boy in a ballet class or a pig in a chicken coop.  Exaggerate the circumstances to create humor.

7. Hyphenated Modifiers

  • Sometime a new way of saying something
  • can make all the difference; hyphenated adjectives often cause the reader to
  • “sit up and take notice.”

Example:

  • Little did I know that when Mom asked if I like the new neighborhood in town that that one innocent question would be the beginning of the destruction of my life. I was going to choose “yes” as my answer, but I had one of those I-don’t-want-to-lose-my-friends looks.

Example:

  •     "She rolled her eyes at her mother and turned her nose up with a "god-I-can't-believe-you-actually-said-that sniff."

Exercise:

  •     Write your own hyphenated modifiers.
  •     1. Mom and Dad went in the back room for one of their_________________________________talks.
  •     2. The most popular girl in school threw me one of her_________________________________looks.
  •     3. The dog had a_______________________face.
  •     4. His fingernails were of the____________variety.
  •     5. She put her feet into the _____________shoes.

8. Full-Cirlce Ending

  • Sometimes writers need a special ending, one that effectively “wraps up” the piece. One “trick” is to repeat a phrase from the beginning of the piece.

Example of a Full Circle Ending:

  • Do I seem mad to you? I’m not mad! I’m furious! Does my face seem as red as an apple? It’s not! My face is a fire! The divorce was taking my heart and crushing it into oblivion. My tears were a flowing steam, my brain an exploding bomb. My dad had this I-don’tcare- about-my-family-I’m gonna-get-wasted kid of look,. But do I seem mad? He used to have my sister and me in his back pocket, but now he has his new I-like-you-right-now-but-when-we-get-serious-I’ll-stab-youin- the-back “perfect” girlfriend there instead. But do I seem mad? Dad just got married. They had been dating for about an hour and he popped the question. But do I seem mad? I just sit there with my fake smile while she puts on the biggest show and says, “Oh, I love your kids, they’re so cute” and fake smiles back at me. But do I seem mad? My dad used to be my best friend and protector of my childhood. Now he is my enemy. But do I seem mad? His new wife has me in her death-grip, waiting for me to do something bad. She is a cobra waiting to strike. But do I seem mad? I’m not mad! I’m furious!

Exercise:

  • A 300-400 word descriptive narrative essay about a time in your life when you made a choice that did not make you feel good. You may want/need to embellish (to improve by adding details; often fictitious details.) the story a bit. The idea is for you to tell a story that is both descriptive and entertaining. Use 5-7 Smiley Face Tricks in your essay. Have fun with this. To help with ideas, you can brainstorm by listing words that relate to your topic or by stream of consciousness writing


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