Why Young Writers Need an Authentic Audience
For me, writing nonfiction is a fun adventure. A game to play. A puzzle to solve. A challenge to overcome. But many students don’t feel the same way. According to them, research is boring. Making a writing plan is a waste of time. And revision is more than frustrating. It’s downright painful. Why do young writers have a point of view that’s
Getting Inside the Head of the Long Dead
Don’t be alarmed by the ghoulishness of my title. Trying to resurrect the life of someone who turned to dust centuries ago is a challenge, especially if the person left behind no personal writings such as letters or diaries. But it can be done. In preparation for writing Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune,
I long for the good ol’ days when everyone agreed that facts were true and fiction was make-believe and made-up facts were lies. Several years ago, the disseminating of current events entered the truthiness zone — only to emerge in today’s surreal “alternate facts” parallel universe. It is understandably difficult for many people — and especially young people — to know how
Unearthing the Good Stuff
Five Steps to a Successful Nonfiction Interview I love flowers but no one would ever call my thumb green. Each spring however, I drag the pots to the front step, fill them with soil, plant red geraniums surrounded by marigolds, and water when nature forgets. And when the school buses rumble down the street, I am delighted to
Three Tips for Writing Teachers
Teachers often feel frustrated when the revisions students make to their writing aren’t improvements. And so they ask me how to help the children make their manuscripts better. I wish I had an easy answer for these teachers and for their students, but here’s the truth: Revision is messy. It’s fraught with detours. Even experienced writers
What the Heck is Creative Nonfiction?
The term creative nonfiction was first used by Lee Gutkind in the 1980s as a synonym for narrative nonfiction. Gutkind wished to convey the idea that nonfiction wasn’t always dry and utilitarian. By employing such elements as character, dialogue, scene building, strong voice, innovative structure, point of view, and literary devices, writers could craft nonfiction that sings.
Why Students Copy Their Research Sources,
and How to Break the Habit
By third grade, nearly all students know what plagiarism is and understand that it’s both immoral and illegal, and yet, again and again, we catch them copying their sources. Why don’t students express ideas and information in their own words? Because they haven’t taken the time or don’t have the skills to analyze and synthesize