A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
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Start with What Isn't There

setting moods in setting descriptions


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.

Interactive Choices for Writing:

If you're struggling to start, click the buttons below for some ideas that might inspire you to launch your piece of writing.

    
(It's okay to come up with your own setting for this activity, if you think of a better one.)

     
(It's okay to come up with your own mood for this activity, if you think of a better one.) 


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