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 Descriptive Writing. Group 1  “After he buttoned his glove, he would hold his rod straight out in front of him, where it trembled with the beating.

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Presentation on theme: " Descriptive Writing. Group 1  “After he buttoned his glove, he would hold his rod straight out in front of him, where it trembled with the beating."— Presentation transcript:

1  Descriptive Writing

2 Group 1  “After he buttoned his glove, he would hold his rod straight out in front of him, where it trembled with the beating of his heart. Although it was eight and a half feet long, it weighed only four and a half ounces. It was made of split bamboo cane from the far-off Bay of Tonkin. It was wrapped with red and blue silk threat, and the wrappings were carefully spaced to make the delicate rod powerful but not so stiff it could not tremble.”  --from A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

3 Group 2  “The canyon above the old Clearwater bridge is where the Blackfoot roars loudest. The backbone of a mountain would not break, so the mountain compresses the already powerful river into sound and spray before letting it pass. Here, of course, the road leaves the river; there was no place in the canyon for an Indian trail; even in 1806 when Lewis left Clark to come up the Blackfoot, he skirted the canyon by a safe margin. It is no place for small fish or small fisherman. Even the roar adds power to the fish or at least intimidates the fisherman.”  --from A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

4 Group 3  “I kept cool until I tried to take the hook out of his mouth. He was lying covered with sand on the little bar where I had landed him. His gills opened with his penultimate sighs. Then suddenly he stood up on his head in the sand and hit me with his tail and the sand flew. Slowly at first my hands began to shake, and, although I thought they made a miserable sight, I couldn’t stop them. Finally, I managed to open the large blade to my knife which several times slid off his skull before it went through his brain.”  --from A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

5 Group 4  “One thing about a ranch road—ther eis less and less of it the closer it gets to the cows. It became just two ruts that made switchbacks to the top of a ridge, and then it repeated roughly the same number down to the Elkhorn, which is just a curve of willows and water winding through high grass until suddenly a mountain opens and the willows disappear. At the top of the ridge the ruts were still made of gray dust, and black clouds rested upon the black mountains ahead.”  --from A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

6 Group 5  “As the heat mirages on the river in front of me danced with and through each other, I could feel patterns from my own life joining with them. It was here, while waiting for my brother, that I started this story, although, of course, at the time I did not know that stories of life are often more like rivers than books. But I knew a story had begun, perhaps long ago near the sound of water. And I sensed that ahead I would meet something that would never erode so there would be a sharp turn, deep circles, a deposit, and quietness.”  --from A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

7 Group 6  “The voices of the subterranean river in th eshadows were different from the voices of the sunlit river ahead. In the shadows against the cliff the river was deep and engaged in profundities, circling back on itself now and then to say things over to be sure it had understood itself. But the river ahead came out into the sunny world like a chatterbox, doing its best to be friendly. It bowed to one shore and then to the other so nothing would feel neglected.”  --from A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

8 Group 7  “Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn’t. Like many fly fisherman in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.”  --from A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

9 Key for Success #1  Be curious. Set out to learn more about your subject than you know now. Review easy-to-recall memories, but then dig out those hard-to grasp details that hide in the shadows. If possible, examine the subject up close by looking at photos, interviewing the person, or touring the site.

10 Key for Success #2  Be bold. Describe what you see—blemishes and all. Help the reader smell both the roses and the rubbish. Strive to create a powerful dominant impression—a strong sense of the subject’s essential nature, overall value, or personal meaning.

11 Key for Success #3  Be precise. Reading a description that uses almost-the-right words is as disappointing as looking through slightly out-of-focus binoculars. Both keep you from seeing what you want to see. Choose nouns, verbs, and modifiers that put details in focus for the reader.

12 Key for Success #4  Be vivid. Make your description lively, beginning with your senses. Clarify the unfamiliar by likening it to something familiar. -imagery = language that appeals to the five senses -connotation = nuances of meaning that go beyond a word’s dictionary definition -simile = compares two unlike things using like or as -metaphor = compares two unlike things without like or as -personification = human qualities for nonhuman -allusion = reference to something outside the piece that the reader is supposed to understand

13 Key for Success #5  Pay attention to whether a situation calls for objective or subjective description. *Objective description focuses on the object itself rather than on your personal reactions to it; the purpose is to present a precise, literal picture *Subjective description conveys your personal response to your subject; the purpose is to show perspective, usually revealed indirectly through word choice and syntax

14 Key for Success #6  Avoid empty words like nice, great, terrific, or awful; show us using details that evoke the same response in your readers


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