Thursday, December 13, 2012

Narrative Leads


This week you will be working on a blog post of your choice and experimenting with narrative leads. A narrative lead you love, the beginnings of our fictional stories, memoirs, or personal essays, will fuel you as writer.  Choose to begin a narrative with a lead that you love and makes you happy - this will make the reader happy too!

 Your narrative blog post is due Wednesday, December 20, 2012

Here are some narrative lead options from Nancie Atwell's classroom to consider:

Typical (Try to avoid a typical lead)
It was a day at the end of June. My mom, dad, brother, and I were at our
camp on Rangeley Lake. We arrived the night before at 10:00, so it was dark
when we got there and unpacked. We went straight to bed. The next
morning, when I was eating breakfast, my dad started yelling for me from
down at the dock at the top of his lungs. He said there was a car in the lake.
■ Action: A Main Character Doing Something
I gulped my milk, pushed away from the table, and bolted out of the
kitchen, slamming the broken screen door behind me. I ran down to our
dock as fast as my legs could carry me. My feet pounded on the old wood,
hurrying me toward my dad’s voice. “Scott!” he bellowed again.
“Coming, Dad!” I gasped. I couldn’t see him yet—just the sails of the
boats that had already put out into the lake for the day.
■ Dialogue: A Character or Characters Speaking
“Scott! Get down here on the double!” Dad bellowed. His voice
sounded far away.
“Dad?” I hollered. “Where are you?” I squinted through the screen
door but couldn’t see him.
“I’m down on the dock. MOVE IT. You’re not going to believe this,”
he replied.
■ Reaction: A Character Thinking
I couldn’t imagine why my father was hollering for me at 7:00 in the
morning. I thought fast about what I might have done to get him so riled.
Had he found out about the way I talked to my mother the night before,
when we got to camp and she asked me to help unpack the car? Did he
discover the fishing reel I broke last week? Before I could consider a third
possibility, Dad’s voice shattered my thoughts.
“Scott! Move it! You’re not going to believe this!”
When beginning a story, craft several leads. Experiment. A lead you love will fuel
you as a writer. Choose the way in that makes you happiest; it will make your
readers happy, too.
© 2002 by Nancie Atwell from Narrative Leads Lesson 12
Lessons That Change Writers
(Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann)

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