Smiley Face Tricks Magic 1. Magic Three: three parallel groups of words usually separated by commas, that create a poetic rhythm or add support for a point, especially when the three word groups have their own modifiers. Simple Example: He stood up, spun around, and then sat back down. Example #2 Instead of staying dark, day and night, every morning shutters fly open, the sun streams in a tidal wave of gold light, and our family cat meows persistently until we all awaken to greet our day. (Monica) Example #3 Although I try to inhale deeply, I cannot regulate the rise and fall of my heavy chest. My palms become sticky and shaky, my neck tingles with anticipation, and my body begins to feel limp and cold and white like a corpse (Kay) Figurative Language 2. Figurative Language—Non-literal comparisons— such as similes, metaphors, personification, and hyperboles—add “spice” to writing and can help paint a more vivid picture for the reader. A simile is a comparison using the words like or as. A metaphor is a comparison without using comparison words. Personification is writing about an inanimate object as if it is had thoughts or feelings. A hyperbole is an exaggeration. Similes A simile uses a comparing word such as ‗like‘, or ‗as‘. It compares two things that may or may not be that much alike. ―He is like a tree.‖ He is tall and so is the tree, but the tree has roots and branches and squirrels, while he has homework and mental problems. They are alike in some ways and different in others. Simile Examples He was strong as an ox. She was like a marshmallow. He smelled bad, like mold. A simile is NOT like this: She liked him. Metaphor A metaphor is also a comparison, but unlike a simile, it says that the one thing is the other thing… even though the author is really just comparing. ―Jim is a rock.‖ The author doesn‘t mean Jim is really a rock. The author means that he is solid and unchanging and you can depend on him, so he is similar to a rock in those ways. Metaphor Examples His words were knives piercing my very soul. The missing homework was a big hammer about to come down on me. Greg was a big pig when it came to eating tacos. Personification Personificationis the use of words in a sentence to make it appear as though an inanimate object has feelings or thoughts. Personification Examples My dad’s truck hated me: Every time I had to be somewhere on time, it refused to start. The sky was threatening and angry. The report card glared at me evilly, mocking me with its low numbers. Hyperbole A hyperbole is an exaggeration that’s obvious to the reader. The author isn’t trying to fool you with it. He’s just trying to make the writing more interesting by sharing the fun exaggeration with you. “My brother smells like an open sewer in a tropical third-world country.” The reader knows that the brother doesn’t smell like thousands of gallons of festering sewage – he just smells like unwashed armpits and feet – but the obvious exaggeration makes the writing more fun. Hyperbole Examples There is no escaping my five-year-old daughter: Every time I really need to do something, she sets something on fire or cuts her leg with a chainsaw or pours five gallons of canola oil onto the kitchen floor. I looked up and saw a buzzard the size of a 747, flying off with the carcass of a dead cow. The frog was such a celebrated leaper that it could jump all the way across Lake Lewisville! Specific Details 3. Specific Details for Effect: Instead of general, vague descriptions, specific sensory details help the reader visualize the person, place, thing, or idea that the writer is describing. The author tries to help you feel like you are seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, or smelling the things that are in the writing. Example: The truck was white a faded dirty white color. Its old engine rumbled and belched loudly as it chugged along. Its sides felt rough and dirty under our grubby little fingers. It smelled horrible, like exhaust fumes and old rotten milk. But the ice cream tasted like melted sunshine with sugar and cream. Oh, how we loved to hear that corny old music getting louder in the distance… Repetition for Effect 4. Repetition for Effect—Writers often repeat specially chosen words or phrases to make a point. Bob ate some pizza. After that, Bob ate more pizza. Then, finally, Bob ate some pizza. Repetition for Effect Example: I‘m going to win this contest – even if it means working day and night. I‘m going to win this contest – even if it means lying to my mom. I‘m going to win this contest – even if it means I have to cheat. I‘m going to win this contest! Example: This kid is strong. This kid is honest. This kid is brave. This kid is my brother Expanded Moment 5. Expanded Moment—Instead of ―speeding‖ past a moment, writers often emphasize it by ―expanding‖ the action. • Example: • When I pedal to a stop, I kick off my sandy shoes and remove my gold and lavender kite from my backpack. The wind picks up the graceful creature and lets it soar among the seagulls. As I ease myself into the water—the string wrapped securely around my wrist--I can first smell, then taste the ocean’s saltiness. (continued) Freezing cold, the water numbs my toes, and I feel nothing but a sharp, teasing sensation. As I sit on my cushion of sand, I slowly wiggle my fingers and toes, gradually submerging them completely. I hold the sand up in the air and let it slip through my fingers like stickier versions of particles in an hour glass. I stretch out completely now and watch the wind’s fingers take my kite higher still. (Marcus) Humor 6. Humor: Good writers know the value of laughter; even a little bit of humor can help turn an otherwise boring paper into something more interesting. Do you know what I hate? I hate rhetorical questions. I married "Miss Right". Unfortunately, I didn't know that her first name was "Always". Humor Examples I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather... not screaming like his passengers. Politics: From the Greek "poli" meaning "many", and "tics―, meaning blood-sucking parasites. Hyphenated Modifiers 7. Hyphenated Modifiers—Sometimes a new way of saying something can make all the difference. Hyphenated modifiers are modifiers that use a hyphen between two or more descriptive words to emphasize the words. Hyphenated adjectives often cause the reader to ―sit up and take notice.‖ Ex: The boy‘s caramel-brown eyes scanned the long-awaited letter. Example Sarah‘s head was down, her neck bent into a ―C‖, and she was moving her hand across the page of her notebook in what I recognized as the I‘m-pretending- to-take -notes-but-really-planning-the- complete-and-total-social-ruin-of Kathy-Hollis posture. (Erin) *Note that there is NO hyphen between the last adjective and the noun. Correct He had a gopher-like appearance. Incorrect He looked at me with blackish-blue-eyes. Full-Circle Ending 8. Full-Circle Ending—Sometimes students need a special ending, one that effectively ―wraps up‖ the piece. Full- circle ending is when the author starts and ends the first paragraph or portion and the last paragraph or portion with sentences that are similar or the same. The sentences can be a little bit different, but will have similar structure and/or wording. Example I sit quietly on the old wooden deck, watching the birds soar through the humid air. The ocean’s waves are like wrinkles gathered up in place. The clouds are so delicate, so fragile, yet a single plane could not break their perfect form. I sit quietly on the old wooden deck, watching the birds, the waves, the clouds. (Lee) Why use Smiley Face Tricks? It’s what good authors do. It makes your writing more specific. It helps paint a picture for your audience. It helps make your writing more interesting. A more interesting paper makes for an entertained grader. A happy grader is a generous grader! Make the effort to get the score you deserve! You’ll be glad you did.
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