How to make your writing awesome

Tips and ideas to share with students

Easy, right? You just start typing… For kids, it’s a bit more challenging. Here are a few trips to improve their writing.

Step-by-step building blocks

  1. Take it one step at a time.
    1. Who’s your character? Write a few sentences/list of ideas.
    2. What’s the story arc? Write a few sentences about it.
    3. What’s the ending going to be? Again, just in a few sentences.
  2. Now build it up step by step
    1. introduction – introduce your setting, and main characters and start the plot
      You don’t have to do it all in one go. If you are struggling, write keywords in list format as a reminder and come back to it later.
    2. Plot/Story – This is the main part of your story.
    3. Ending – Remember: if you have more than one storyline, make sure that you end all of them. We only leave them open if we want to continue with the story. But the main storyline should have an ending even then.

Paragraphs: these are useful to visually break your text and make it easier to read. Then again, if you start every third sentence as a paragraph it will be really annoying. What to keep in mind:

  • one paragraph is about one key thing. A good exercise is to sum it up in one sentence. If you can do that it’s great!
  • This doesn’t mean that it can’t have anything else in it. It just means that the focus should be on just one thing.
  • Not all paragraphs have to have totally different focuses. I’ve heard it from more kids, that they are being taught in school that you should start a new paragraph only if you are starting a new line of thought. Let’s clarify that a little: A new line of thought doesn’t have to be a new topic! Let’s say you are describing your character. S/he has a lot of exterior qualities and you want to paint a really vivid picture. You end up with a paragraph that is one and a half pages long, and a bit hard to read.
    SOLUTION: group the qualities together by “how he looks”, “what he wears” and “how he acts”. Now you already have broken down your 1.5-page long text into 3 paragraphs!

You’re not using descriptive language. There’s an easy fix: highlight every noun and verb in your text. Now before every one of them writes something descriptive. This might be one word or even a phrase.

What you get like this is a massive, overflowing and way too descriptive text that might be hard to read, and will take your focus away from what you really want to say.

  • If you are a visual person: highlight the descriptive words with red for nouns and green for verbs. Now try to find a balance of the colours.
  • If you are a math-type (brainy) one: cross out every second one. Or cross out only the ones related to verbs or nouns. Re-read the text.
  • If you are an aural type (you understand and remember things that you have heard better) try reading your text out loud. Whenever you are bored by your own overflowing description cross one out.

All these will need to be practised, and don’t be discouraged that at first, the results will be less than spectacular. It’s going to be too much. But by trying out different approaches you will find your own voice.

You’re using too short sentences. Another easy fix: whenever you’d put a full stop try using a connective. Trick here is to build up your own list of connectives to avoid using ‘but’, although’ and ‘and’ all the time.

Don’t forget, short sentences have a time and place. They can build up tension, and make your story snappy. You just have to know when to use them and when to extend your sentences.

I’ve made my first ever video to demonstrate how you can make a short and bumpy text into a really nice, flowing piece.

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Dora Kalmar and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.


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About UKEdChat Editorial 3188 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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