Student Writer Instructions:
Science-Writer Stephen Kramer uses a great technique in the two-page opening of his nonfiction picture book called Caves. He needs to describe what a cave is like. Instead of simply telling the reader what is in a cave, he begins by telling us what isn't there...birds, wildflowers, etc. This establishes a cold and lifeless mood for his setting.
Then the flashlights come on for page two, and Kramer tells us what is there. It's a small but highly effective writing technique. It's a different way to show the reader a setting, and it establishes mood if it's done well. Look again at Kramer's first two pages of his book. Kramer does it well. Think you can too?
For this writing exercise, you will write about a setting other than a cave. Think about your place before writing and then compose two detailed paragraphs. First, what isn't there? Next, what is? Answer these two questions and attempt to establish a mood by making choices about what you choose to describe to your reader.