Ingredients of great writing!
Comparisons such as similes, metaphors and
personifications—can bring interest, humor and
connection for the reader.
"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."
Simile – comparing two UNLIKE things
using ―like‖ or ―as‖
Ex. I was as angry as a raging bull.
Make Your Own Similes :
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_______________.
Metaphor: comparing two UNLIKE
things, implying one IS the other.
Ex: I was a raging bull.
Make your own:
Her stomach was a growl ________________________.
The howl ripping through the air was ______________.
The breeze from the window was _______________.
Fear crawled over him and was_______________________.
Personification: giving human
characteristics to something non-
Practice Personification: Personify extreme Hot or Cold. Write
about what the heat or the cold does to you. Try doing so
without using the words hot or cold.
MAGIC 3—Giving three examples in a series is
pleasing to the ear and adds support to a point being
made. Using modifiers before each item in the series can
emphasize the effect.
A. "She blinked her blue-green eyes, chewed on a lacquered nail and frowned at the
B. B. "I'm afraid to jump," said one chicken.
"Oh, " said the others.
"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
Exercise: Write a paragraph about a farm animal using the Magic
Three to describe the animal's actions.
Use Strong Verbs: eliminate the use of
am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been.
Use specific words instead.
Molly went to the store.
Molly skipped and jogged to the store.
The third graders go into the gym.
Third graders charged into the gym.
How did your sensory images change when you read the second example?
What other verbs might work? Why?
Instead of “go,” try: Instead of “fall,” try:
Sensory Details: use words related to
your 5 senses of sight, sound, smell,
taste and touch.
The tinkling of broken glass.
He reminded her of her grandfather, a scent of peppermint
The sour taste of vomit.
He was tied tightly, and the rough bark gouged his back.
Read more at Suite101:
Recognize a concrete noun when you see one.
Nouns name people, places, and things. One class of nouns is
concrete. You can experience this group of nouns with your
five senses: you see them, hear them, smell them, taste them, and feel
Check out the following example:
Reliable, Diane's beagle, licked strawberry ice cream off her chin.
Ice cream, for example, is a concrete noun.You can see the pink.You
can taste the berry flavor.You can feel your tongue growing numb
from the cold. Any noun that you can experience with at least one of
your five senses is a concrete noun.
Don’t get confused…
Not all nouns are concrete. A second class of nouns is
abstract.You cannot experience abstract nouns with your
senses. Read this example:
Diane pushed Reliable off her lap to register her disapproval.
Disapproval is an example of an abstract noun. What color is
disapproval? You don't know because you cannot see it. What
texture is disapproval? Who knows? You cannot touch it. What
flavor is disapproval? No clue! You cannot taste it! Does it
make a sound? Of course not! Does it smell? Not a bit!
Eye-catching openings: write an
Use action. Ex. Running down the stairs, I heard my mom yelling
from the kitchen
Use dialogue: Ex. “Do I have to mom?” I complained as I ran down the
Use a quote: Ex. “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”
Use an onomatopoeia: ex. Bang! I heard something crash below.
Use a startling fact: Ex. Scientists at the University of Illinois have
demonstrated that in fact, sugar doesn’t melt, it decomposes.
Use a question: Ex. What would you do if you found your mother had
Use the word “imagine”: Ex. Imagine walking through the hallways
and not hearing a word.