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					                      Smiley Face Tricks
                  Good writers use these, so can you!
                                 Designed and compiled by M. E. Ledbetter



  Trick           What is it?                                                   Examples
             Three examples in a          In those woods, I would spend hours listening to the wind rustle the leaves, climbing trees
             series can create a poetic   and spying on nesting birds, and giving the occasional wild growl to scare away any pink-
                                          flowered girls who might be riding their bikes too close to my secret entrance. (Todd,
             rhythm or at least add
                                          college freshman)
             support for a point,
 Magic 3     especially when the three    First grade is the place where you learn that it’s ABC, not AQZ, where you learn that there
             items have their own         are numbers past ten, where you learn that “See Jane run.” isn’t the most complicated
             modifiers (adjectives and    sentence in the world. (Jerrod)
             adverbs).
             Nonliteral comparisons,      When we first moved into the house on Orchid street, I didn’t like it. My room was hot,
             such as similes,             cramped, and stuffy as a train in the middle of the Sahara. And the looming skeleton-like
                                          gray and white frame of the place scared me. I dared not imagine living there, but the
             metaphors, and
                                          backyard, oh, the backyard. It was a huge, long mass of plentifully growing trees and
             personification. These
                                          blackberries. Goodness, how I loved them. (Teri, grade 7)
             add “spice” to writing and
             can help paint a more
Figurative
                                          I live with my mother and my little brother on an old dirt road where silence is heard and
             vivid picture for the        always about like a plague. And even now, when I look down upon this dirt road, I start to
             reader.
Language
                                          wonder if the Pre-Cambrian days are still welded inside the rock, for this very road is as
                                          old as a clear sky in the city. Willow trees stretch to the ground and yawn deep inside
             Figurative language can      each other. Butterflies seem to float past, skipping over this desolate road, up and over
                                          the canopy of trees that embrace this burden with fierce force, and fly away with no
             also include alliteration,
                                          worries, just their vibrant color that they fail to leave the empty fields. There is no color,
             hyperbole, imagery,          no life, only the low humming of a whispering wind on fall evenings. (Lindsey)
             foreshadowing, and
             onomatopoeia.
                                          It’s one of those experiences where you want to call a radio station and tell your problems
                                          to some guy who calls himself Dr. Myke, but who isn’t more of a doctor than your pet
                                          Hamster is, one of those experiences where you want to read a sappy Harlequin novel and
                                          listen to Barry Manilowe with a box of bonbons as your best friend, one of those
                                          experiences where you wouldn’t be surprised if someone came up to you and asked
                                          exactly what time yesterday you were born. Yeah, one of those. (Ilieana, Grade 7)

                                          Remember the time I worked all day Sunday on and English paper? Sunday, I accidentally
                                          left the only copy I had at your house. You politely handed it back to me the next day, first
                                          period, when it was due. But all over page one you’d drawn zombies; page two contained
                                          detailed pictures of yet-to-be-discovered worms; page three was visited by various space
                                          aliens; the fourth page featured scenes from Australia and Florida; and the last page was
              Instead of general, vague
 Specific
                                          covered with “Mr. Jenkins is a dork,” “English stinks,” and “Mr. Jenkins is a four-eyed
              descriptions, specific      geek.” Maybe that’s why he gave me a D-. (Liz, Grade 8)
              sensory details help the
Details for   reader visualize the        I remember seeing you when you first came to Applegate Elementary. You slowly strolled

  Effect      person, place, thing, or    down the hallways, your eyes wandering, legs shaking, teeth chattering. You looked
              idea.                       confused, like you didn’t know where or how on earth you were going to get where you
                                          were going. You looked amazed at how big the school was, like it was the Taj Mahal or a
                                          queen’s palace. Your appearance was awfully different and caused everyone to stare and
                                          point. It was like you were something off the Sci-Fi channel, but you didn’t even notice
                                          the kids because you were so intent on the size of the school. You were bone skinny, legs
                                          the size of a supermodel’s arms, had dark tree-bark skin, two shades darker than mine.
                                          Your long black hair was like MO-hair mixed with wool and covered your head like a hair
                                          bonnet of microscopic braids that lined your scalp. You had on an old worn-out T-shirt
                                          that looked like something I threw out or gave to the Salvation Army. Your pants were a
                                          pair of hundred-year-old-need-to-be-tossed-or-burned-jeans. Your skinny feet were
                                          devoured by oversized working boots that resembled blocks of cement. When you finally
                                          realized all the attention you had gathered, you bowed your head and let your feet lead
                                          the way to Mrs. Jackson’s room, where I was going. (Sara)
                                             The veranda is your only shelter away from the sister in bed asleep, away from the brother
                                             that lays in the treehouse in the field, away from your chores that await you. (Leslie, Grade
                                             7)

                                             The bed cradling her held no sentimental value. Patients came and went too quickly for it
                 Writers often repeat        to become cherished or familiar. No one had hidden a journal between the mattresses, a

Repetition for
                                             tooth under the pillow. Memories of late-night phone conversations while gazing at the
                 specially chosen words or
                                             stars had no hope of forming her. No one searched under the bed skirt and cried joyfully,
                 phrases to make a point,
   Effect
                                             “Oh look, it’s those sunglasses I thought I lost two weeks ago” or “But I just had it last
                 to stress certain ideas     night. I was lying here talking on the phone to…” There was no “Jenny loves Bob” in
                 for the reader.             permanent marker under the mattress or “Todd is hot” as a friendly reminder. No one
                                             had, with their knees, made a tent out of the sheets so they could read by flashlight
                                             without waking up the person beside them. No one could look at it fondly and claim they
                                             had spent some of the best nights of their life in that bed or anticipate lying down on the
                                             stiff, scratch pillows that made an unbearable wrapper-crumbling sound every time you
                                             made a head adjustment. (Rachel)
                                             But no, I had to go to school. And as I said before, I had to listen to my math teacher
                                             preach about numbers and letters and figures…. I was tired of hearing her annoying voice
                                             lecture about “a=b divided by x.” I glared at the small black hands on the clock, silently
                                             threatening them to go faster. But they didn’t listen, and I caught myself wishing I were in
                                             a bathing suit again, walking carelessly on white sand and looking down at almost
                                             transparent pale-blue water with Josh at my side…. I don’t belong in some dumb math
                 Instead of “speeding        class. I belong on the beach, where I can soak my feet in caressing water and let the wind
  Expanded       past” a moment, writers
                                             wander its way through my chestnut-colored hair and sip Doctor Pepper all day long. I
                                             want to grip a straw all day, not a mechanical pencil that will try unsuccessfully to write the
                 often emphasize it by
   Moment        “expanding” the actions.
                                             answers to unsolvable questions. (Shelly, Grade 7)

                                             It begins just before dawn. Sunlight filters through the rows of pines and begins to warm
                                             the air. A steady breeze moves through the trees. Moisture has condensed on the leaves
                                             of the plants during the night. It has collected in frozen droplets and now slowly drips
                                             onto the soil near a quail feeding in the morning shade of the tree line. As the sun appears
                                             higher in the sky, our side of the world begins to wake up. Her I am perched precariously
                                             on a boulder, watching wildlife as it is meant to be. (Greg)
                                           He laughed? I’m nothing. I’m the rear end of nothing, and the devil himself smiled at me.
                                           (Andrew, Grade 7)

                                           An you—yes, you, Justin!—Were the guilty party who, after I took off my shoes to enjoy
                                           the hot pavement in early spring, put a frog in them. Of course, I didn’t look at the shoes
             Professional writers know     when I put them back on; it was the squish that gave your prank away. (Liz, Grade 8)
             the value of laughter;
                                           Billy wasn’t really that bad of a kid. Sure, you can ask any teacher in the entire hall exactly
             even subtle humor can
  Humor      help turn a “boring” paper
                                           how long his discipline report is (last time I heard it was two pages with a ten-point font).
                                           It is even rumored that Billy actually started D-Hall at our school (the first elementary to
             into one that can raise       have it) although Jenkins, a short, nerdy fifth grader, claims he did for hacking into Mrs.
             someone’s spirits.            Hybrid’s computer and changing his grade a single point up (72 to 73). I think Jenkins is
                                           criminally insane for not changing it to an “A,” but that’s just me. In fact, Mrs. Hybrid can
                                           and must type faster now so that Jenkins will not see her password. Back to Billy, though.
                                           Although he supposedly started D-Hall and has the longest criminal report of all, he was
                                           just another striped-shirt, short-pants kid. Billy was the one that actually led everyone to
                                           the big crime of the elementary. (Ben)
                                           She’s got this blonde hair, with dark highlights, parted in the middle, down past her
             Sometimes a new way of        shoulders, and straight as a preacher. She’s got big green eyes that all guys admire and all
             saying something can          girls envy, and this I’m-so-beautiful-and-I-know-it body, you know, like every other super
Hyphenated   make all the difference;
                                           model. (Ileana, Grade 7)
             hyphenated adjectives
 Modifiers                               That was the first time I ever lost control of life, and I should have known better when I
             often cause the reader to saw him looking at me with those sly, sky-blue eyes and an I’m-about-to-do-something-bad
             “sit up and take notice.”   smirk on his face. It wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t come to our school that day.
                                         (Morgan)
             When sentences all sound Refer to the examples presented in our grammar exercises:
 Varied      alike, it can have a sleep- Opening/delayed adjectives and adverbs
             inducing effect. Switch     Absolute, appositive, prepositional, participial, gerund, and infinitive phrases
Sentence     up your sentence
                                         Adjective, Adverb, and noun clauses

Structure    structure to keep your
             reader on his/her toes.
                                            Beginning: Hey, you, with the green and neon-orange striped shoelaces, you who always
                                            pulled on my old frazzled white ones in math. Hey, you, Justin, who always added your
                                            versions of “art” to my math problems for Mrs. Caton’s class so that 9x7=63 turned out to
                                            be a train with puffs of smoke and two boxcars and made me get an 83 instead of a 93
                                            since Mrs. C. doesn’t count locomotives as correct answers.
                                            End: Now Justin still sits behind me in math with his neon-green and orange striped
              Sometimes a writer            shoelaces and pulls on my old white frazzled ones. He still draws zombies on my
              needs a special ending,       homework, but he hasn’t dumped another pitcher of Kool-Aid on me—not yet at least.

Full-Circle
                                            Oh, and by the way, in case you’re wondering, his first words when he opened his eyes
              one that effectively
                                            were, “It was James Kenton who hid your clothes and made you walk around in a chicken
              “wraps up” the piece.
 Ending
                                            suit…I’m not that mean.” (Liz, Grade 8)
              One trick is to repeat a
              phrase from the               Beginning: Today I found out what caused my life to turn in a 360 flip from here to the
              beginning of the piece.       other side of the Atlantic, like a hurricane on a rampage. My best friend, Fay, has always
                                            been my buddy. Now she is lying in a hospital bed and I am tapping my foot to the rhythm
                                            of the respirator, trying to get my mind off the memories that keep repeating, playing,
                                            recurring over and over again in my head.
                                            End: Today, I received the phone call that made my world turn into a 360 flip, my heart
                                            thumping with the sound of my mother’s voice, because it announced my best friend’s
                                            death in full bloom. (Student)
                                            “Did you see Jerry today?”
                                            “No, why?” my friend asked.
                                            I couldn’t contain my excitement. “He’s wearing the shirt I gave him!”
                                            “Really? When did you give him a shirt?”
                                            I’ve never been more disappointed in my best friend. (Renee, Grade 8)
              When writers add speech
              to their writing, the         I hurried to organize my less-than-perfect-but-definitely-a-teenage-boy’s room by throwing
              change in voice is pleasing   piles of musty T-shirts, odor-smoldering socks, and stiff jeans into the already overflowing
              to the reader. Also,
 Dialogue
                                            hamper. I still needed to clean Freddie’s cage, change the sheets—where are the sheets
              adding dialogue allows the    anyway—and take the rotting pile of dirty dishes and empty soda cans down to the
              reader to feel closer to      kitchen. “Hurry, hurry, before mom gets home!” I thought to myself frantically as I
              the action, not separated     hucked a nasty football sock towards the pile covering the hamper. “If she finds out you
                                            didn’t keep your promise, you’re losing your cell phone!” My thoughts somehow set off
              from it.
                                            my cell phone. Ron was calling, but I couldn’t answer. Football jersey, soiled T-shirt, gym
                                            shorts, used towel, sheets—SHEETS!—all found their way across the room as I slowly
                                            excavated an ever-increasing clear space in the center of my floor. Excitement rose; I just
                                            might make it! “Kendall, are you home?” My mom’s voice calls up the hall. I feel like a
                                            deflated balloon. I didn’t even hear the door. (Kenny, Grade 10)

				
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