Mrs. McGriff's Reading Blog

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Playing with Time

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Did you know that writers have the power to control time?  They do, and so do you, as you are writing your memoirs.  In his book After the End:  Teaching and Learning Creative Revision, Barry Lane discusses how writers can explode a moment or shrink a century.

After looking at the drafts you typed yesterday, I think we need to explode some moments.  What is the important moment in your memoir?  That is the moment you want to explode.  How do you do it?  Writers explode those big moments by adding in details, details, details.  Movies do it, too.  Here is the BIG scene from The Natural, starring Robert Redford.  (If you love baseball and haven’t watched it, go rent if over fall break.)  Notice how the action slows down.  What are the details that the camera focuses on to create and prolong the tension of the moment?

Now go and help each other explode the big moment in your memoir.  During your peer conference, ask the writer at least five questions that will help him or her add details to the big moment.  Use the “Sensory Words” and “Juicy Color Words” handouts to help you think of just the right words.

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