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Style/Voice Workshop

A lesson to help students develop their voice by adding diction, details, imagery, and figurative language to their writing. Uses an excerpt from "Under the Royal Palms" by Flor Ada
by

Mark Schoenfeld

on 25 February 2015

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Transcript of Style/Voice Workshop

Style and Voice Workshop
Descriptive Sentences
1. Write a descriptive sentence consisting of just an article, a noun, a "to be" verb, an adjective, and a prepositional phrase.
Examples of prepositions:
under, over, by, around, from, into.
Think: "The dog went _________ the barn."
EX: The moon was bright over the land.
2. Replace the "to be" verb with an action verb while keeping the same meaning of the sentence.
The bright moon shone over the land.
The moon was bright over the land.
EX:
3. Add a detail about sound, taste, touch, smell, or sight.
The bright moon shone over the land with yellow light.
Ex:
4. Add a detail or image using a simile (like or as) or metaphor.
Ex: The bright moon shone over the land with light as yellow as butter.
Manipulating Tone
The tone conveyed in writing is determined by the author's choice of diction, details, figurative language, and other devices.
Ex: The dark moon brooded over the land like a sullen night watchman.
How was the tone changed in this sentence?
-->The tone in this sentence is now...
Take your sentence from activity 4 and change the details and images to create a different tone from your original sentence.
Determine the tone of each sentence.
The paragraph below was taken from the memoir "Under the Royal Palms," by Alma Flor Ada. The details have been removed to give it a neutral tone.
Now read the paragraph with added diction/details/images.
What is the tone of this paragraph?
-->The tone of this paragraph is...
Imagine you are at a place you know very well. Write a description of this place. Where is it? What is there? What does it look like, smell like, sound like? Be aware of the choices you make in creating your style/voice.

In your paragraph, use:
vivid verbs and not many "to be" verbs
at least five adjectives
two examples of figurative language
Make a chart like the one below with the choices you made in your paragraph about verbs, adjectives, and figurative language. Then choose an alternative for the choices you made, both positive and negative.
Verbs
Positive
Negative
Adjectives
Figure of Speech
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
1.
2.
1.
2.
Now rewrite your paragraph from exercise A, using alternative choices to change the tone of your paragraph.
Review your paragraphs from exercises A and C. Describe your writing style. How might it be different from other writers in your class?
WNB Entry
Exercise B
Exercise C
Exercise D
article
noun
"to be" verb
adjective
prepositional phrase
Take out your Tone vs Mood chart from your Writer's Craft section of your NOTES book.
Life at La Quinta Simoni provided constant invitations for adventure. One morning I met my cousins Jorge and Virginita by the fallen tree. It was a huge poplar, possibly uprooted by a hurricane. But the tree had refused to die and, although fallen, had sprouted new branches. The new branches, covered with heart-shaped leaves, projected upward like spears pointed at the sky. The tree was an excellent palace for playing. Sometimes it became our pirate ship: On it, we crossed the Caribbean while the wind filled our green sails. At other times it was a castle, and from its turrets we defended our fortress from invading warriors. Or perhaps it was a covered wagon crossing the plains, or a sleigh crossing the Russian steppes pursued by a wolf pack. This day, the fallen tree was our camp, in the middle of the jungle, and from there we planned to go exploring.
What is a verb?
-->A verb is...
What verbs do you see in this passage?
To be verbs: A friend IS / The moon WAS / The class WILL BE
Noun: person, place, or thing
Adjective: describes a noun
What is a simile? What is a metaphor?
-->A simile is... -->A metaphor is...
Life at La Quinta Simoni provided constant invitations for adventure. One morning I met my cousins Jorge and Virginita by the fallen tree. It was a huge poplar, possibly uprooted by a hurricane. But the tree had refused to die and, although fallen, had sprouted new branches. The new branches, covered with heart-shaped leaves, projected upward like spears pointed at the sky. The tree was an excellent palace for playing. Sometimes it became our pirate ship: On it, we crossed the Caribbean while the wind filled our green sails. At other times it was a castle, and from its turrets we defended our fortress from invading warriors. Or perhaps it was a covered wagon crossing the plains, or a sleigh crossing the Russian steppes pursued by a wolf pack. This day, the fallen tree was our camp, in the middle of the jungle, and from there we planned to go exploring.
Life at La Quinta Simoni was pretty cool. I met my cousins by this tree. It had fallen down. It still was still alive, though. Some of its branches still had leaves. We liked to play there sometimes. We pretended it was a pirate ship. Another time we pretended it was a castle. Another time we pretended it was a wagon, but that got boring. This time we pretended it was a jungle. We were going exploring.
Life at La Quinta Simoni was pretty cool. I met my cousins by this tree. It had fallen down. It still was still alive, though. Some of its branches still had leaves. We liked to play there sometimes. We pretended it was a pirate ship. Another time we pretended it was a castle. Another time we pretended it was a wagon, but that got boring. This time we pretended it was a jungle. We were going exploring.
Life at La Quinta Simoni provided constant invitations for terror. One morning I met my cousins Jorge and Virginita by the fallen tree. It was a huge poplar, possibly uprooted by a hurricane. But the tree had withered and died and had splintered its branches. The splintered branches, full of zigzagging stems, projected upward like thorny needles. The tree was a horrifying place to pass by. Sometimes while walking nearby it became a haunted pirate ship: On it, undead buccaneers sailed searching for brains. At other times it was an eerie castle, with a mad scientist inside who captured children who came nearby. Or perhaps it was a giant monster invading our ranch, or a ghost, come to take revenge.
What is the tone of this paragraph?
-->The tone of this paragraph could be considered...
Essential question: How does a writer develop his or her own unique voice?
Answer to the Essential Question:
Style and Voice Workshop
Descriptive Sentences
1. Write a descriptive sentence consisting of just an article, a noun, a "to be" verb, an adjective, and a prepositional phrase.
Examples of prepositions:
under, over, by, around, from, into.
Think: "The dog went _________ the barn."
EX: The moon was bright over the land.
2. Replace the "to be" verb with an action verb while keeping the same meaning of the sentence.
The bright moon shone over the land.
The moon was bright over the land.
EX:
3. Add a detail about sound, taste, touch, smell, or sight.
The bright moon shone over the land with yellow light.
Ex:
4. Add a detail or image using a simile (like or as) or metaphor.
IMAGERY
Ex: The bright moon shone over the land with light as yellow as butter.
Manipulating Tone
The tone conveyed in writing is determined by the author's choice of diction, details, figurative language, and other devices. The examples above use positive images and details such as bright, shone, and yellow light to convey a sense of calm or serenity. By changing the details and images, another tone can be conveyed.
Ex: The dark moon brooded over the land like a sullen night watchman.
How was the tone changed in this sentence?
-->The tone in this sentence is now...
Take your sentence from activity 4 and change the details and images to create a different tone from your original sentence.
Highlight or underline the stylistic choices you made in both the original and revised sentences.
Determine the tone of each sentence.
The paragraph below was taken from the memoir "Under the Royal Palms," by Alma Flor Ada. The details have been removed to give it a neutral tone.
Now read the paragraph with added diction/details/images.
What is the tone of this paragraph?
-->The tone of this paragraph is...
Imagine you are at a place you know very well. Write a description of this place. Where is it? What is there? What does it look like, smell like, sound like? Be aware of the choices you make in creating your style/voice. Use vivid verbs, at least five adjectives, and one figure of speech in your description.
Make a chart like the one below with the choices you made in your paragraph about verbs, adjectives, and figurative language. Then choose an alternative for the choices you made, both positive and negative.
Verbs
Positive
Negative
Adjectives
Figure of Speech
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1.
2.
1.
2.
1.
2.
Now rewrite your paragraph from exercise A, using alternative choices to change the tone of your paragraph.
Review your paragraphs from exercises A and C. Describe your writing style. How might it be different from other writers in your class?
Exercise A
Exercise B
Exercise C
Exercise D
article
noun
"to be" verb
adjective
prepositional phrase
pass out dictionaries after students write first draft.
Double-space your paragraph!
Take out your Tone vs Mood chart from your "reference" section
Life at La Quinta Simoni provided constant invitations for adventure. One morning I met my cousins Jorge and Virginita by the fallen tree. It was a huge poplar, possibly uprooted by a hurricane. But the tree had refused to die and, although fallen, had sprouted new branches. The new branches, covered with heart-shaped leaves, projected upward like spears pointed at the sky. The tree was an excellent palace for playing. Sometimes it became our pirate ship: On it, we crossed the Caribbean while the wind filled our green sails. At other times it was a castle, and from its turrets we defended our fortress from invading warriors. Or perhaps it was a covered wagon crossing the plains, or a sleigh crossing the Russian steppes pursued by a wolf pack. This day, the fallen tree was our camp, in the middle of the jungle, and from there we planned to go exploring.
What is a verb?
-->A verb is...
What verbs do you see in this passage?
To be verbs: A friend IS / The moon WAS / The class WILL BE
Noun: person, place, or thing
Adjective: describes a noun
What is a simile? What is a metaphor?
-->A simile is... -->A metaphor is...
Life at La Quinta Simoni provided constant invitations for adventure. One morning I met my cousins Jorge and Virginita by the fallen tree. It was a huge poplar, possibly uprooted by a hurricane. But the tree had refused to die and, although fallen, had sprouted new branches. The new branches, covered with heart-shaped leaves, projected upward like spears pointed at the sky. The tree was an excellent palace for playing. Sometimes it became our pirate ship: On it, we crossed the Caribbean while the wind filled our green sails. At other times it was a castle, and from its turrets we defended our fortress from invading warriors. Or perhaps it was a covered wagon crossing the plains, or a sleigh crossing the Russian steppes pursued by a wolf pack. This day, the fallen tree was our camp, in the middle of the jungle, and from there we planned to go exploring.
Life at La Quinta Simoni was pretty cool. I met my cousins by this tree. It had fallen down. It still was still alive, though. Some of its branches still had leaves. We liked to play there sometimes. We pretended it was a pirate ship. Another time we pretended it was a castle. Another time we pretended it was a wagon, but that got boring. This time we pretended it was a jungle. We were going exploring.
Life at La Quinta Simoni was pretty cool. I met my cousins by this tree. It had fallen down. It still was still alive, though. Some of its branches still had leaves. We liked to play there sometimes. We pretended it was a pirate ship. Another time we pretended it was a castle. Another time we pretended it was a wagon, but that got boring. This time we pretended it was a jungle. We were going exploring.
Life at La Quinta Simoni provided constant invitations for terror. One morning I met my cousins Jorge and Virginita by the fallen tree. It was a huge poplar, possibly uprooted by a hurricane. But the tree had withered and died and had splintered its branches. The splintered branches, full of zigzagging stems, projected upward like thorny needles. The tree was a horrifying place to pass by. Sometimes while walking nearby it became a haunted pirate ship: On it, undead buccaneers sailed searching for brains. At other times it was an eerie castle, with a mad scientist inside who captured children who came nearby. Or perhaps it was a giant monster invading our ranch, or a ghost, come to take revenge.
What is the tone of this paragraph?
-->The tone of this paragraph could be considered...
Essential question: How does a writer develop his or her own unique voice?
Answer to the Essential Question:
Good writers help their reader experience what they're writing about by using compelling sensory details, interesting figurative language, and appropriate word choices to fit a certain tone.

If you can tell the author has a certain style or personality in their writing, we call that VOICE.
SENSORY DETAILS
Do Now -
Do Now is on the paper you picked up on your way into class. Give definitions and examples of parts of speech. The first one is done for you.
Person, place, thing, idea
Action word
Describes a noun
moon, sun, dog, cat, school, love, anger
run, dive, drove, dropped, tossed, lunged
cold, brown, beautiful, sunny, cloudy, adorable
Having trouble? Fill in the blanks!
The _______ was _______ (over, under, by) the _______.
By changing the details and images, another tone can be conveyed.
The examples above use positive images and details such as bright, shone, and yellow light to convey a sense of calm or serenity.
#___ Title Date
30 - teacher's choice
If you're having a hard time, try brainstorming details using a sensory detail web:
Name of
place
What you see
What you hear
What you smell
What you feel
What you taste
***You don't have to do every sense.
You probably see and hear more than any other sense.
In the paragraph below from the memoir "Under the Royal Palms," Alma Flor Ada describes a place very special to her.
The details have been removed to give it a neutral tone.
Put a box around "to be verbs"
Double underline action verbs
Circle adjectives
Take your blank piece of paper and fold it in half
Write your original sentence on the front (fold facing up)

Fold the paper up and write your new sentence so you see it when you open the paper.
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