• Linda Ulleseit, author

  • NaNoWriMo!

Summer Writing

The weather is finally warming up and summer vacation will be here soon.  Parents and children alike will be looking for things to do to keep those long summer days busy–in between vacations and trips to the beach and pool parties and movies of course!

I know some parents enroll their kids in computer camp and scout camp and ballet camp and camping camp, but even so there will be hours that are empty.  My first choice for those hours is to pick up a book and curl up outside under a tree to read.  My second choice is to write.

Practice writing all summer long, and you will be a much better writer come fall.  Does that mean you have to write an essay every day? No!  Practice sharing emotion through your writing.  Here are some ideas how you can do that:

1.  Keep a journal.  Do more than just record the day’s events.  Write about how the things that happened made you feel.  Later, when your mood has changed, read what you wrote and see if you can recapture how you felt.

2.  Write descriptions.  Practice using sensory details that show what you saw, heard, tasted, smelled, touched, and felt with your heart.  Describe your home, a vacation spot, a pet, a relative. . . the possibilities are endless!

3.  Keep a list of awesome words.  If you encounter a great word in your reading, jot it down so you can use it in your writing.  ‘Alabaster’ is one of those words, and ‘scamper.’

4.  Subscribe to this blog and/or check back frequently.  I’ll have some fun exercises you can do online.  AND…..the person who does the best job responding to posts over the summer WILL GET A PRIZE COME FALL.  This year will be easier than ever, since school starts back up in mid-August–there’s only 8 weeks of summer!  This contest is open to everyone, even parents!  You do not have to be a student at my school–I’ll mail you yourprize.  Keep checking this space for prize announcements.

Post samples of your writing here.  We can enjoy each other’s work!

On my Kindle:  A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters

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14 Responses

  1. Part of a story I am (partly) writing right now:

    I was sitting my 5th period math class when I felt it again. That strange feeling once again. I felt mad, sad, happy, bored, and energetic all at the same time, if that was possible. The feeling was one that I couldn’t just shrug off, unlike a feeling of guilt for doing something that really didn’t matter. I stared at my notebook and all the equations written on it and struggled to hold back the tears in my eyes, the frown sprouting on my forehead, a look of fear on my face.

    “Joey, what are you doing?” Mr. Whelton asked, although everyone called him Mustache Man, because of the long, curly mustache that grew on his face. Mustache Man was also known for not being the nicest teacher on campus too, so no one dared say that name in front of him.

    “Umm, nothing,” I replied, struggling to hold back what remained of that weird feeling, which was now vanishing from my mind as if it were never there.

    “Well, you sure looked like something was up,” Mustache Man said suspiciously, raising his eyebrows as if he knew exactly what happened.

    The rest of the class snickered. I hated to see them enjoy me being caught off guard in class. I guess I have to say that I’m not the most popular boy in my class, or for that matter, not one of those kids who seem to have friends in every grade.

    I shook off the embarassment and turned back to my notebook, where I finished copying some equations about Pi that were written on the board. After a while of studying math equations, which is my favorite subject, I felt just about ready to make it through the rest of the day.

    In the hallway, Ben came up to me as I was heading to science. “I heard something happened to you in math class,” he started.

    “How do you know?” I scowled. I knew Ben was my best friend, but I didn’t want him to find out about some things like this.

    “Oh, Pierre went over and told me. He thought I might want to know about it.”

    Why did Pierre always have to get into my business? Nevertheless, I forced myself to talk naturally. “Well, it’s no big deal anyways. You know I get out of focus in class sometimes.”

    “I think there’s something that’s causing this trouble,” he firmly stated. “You’re a great student and everything, so why do you keep getting in trouble these days?”

    “I don’t know what could be the problem,” I called to Ben as I walked down the hallway, hurrying to the science lab, where the door to safety stood wide open. “I really don’t know,” I said as I slipped into the room.

    Inside, the room was lit with several lights on the ceiling. There were four long tables, all set up for the next lesson. As I took a seat, I thought, Don’t lie to yourself, Joey. Because I even if I wanted to, I couldn’t deny the fact that I knew exactly what was causing my trouble.

    Hope you like it! (This is the first draft)

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  2. I like it! It has a nice hook, and and interesting character! Are you going to work on it some more this summer?

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    • Yeah, I’ll probably work on it in the summer. I was planning on doing it for my NaNoWriMo Novel for this year, but it turns out I got too excited about my idea so I started already, so I’ll do something different for my NaNoNovel.

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  3. This is a really nice ifea for a blog. 🙂

    Just wanted to pop in and say hello!

    – Corra

    from the desk of a historical writer

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  4. ifea=idea

    (sticky keyboard!) 😉

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  5. I am already was writing in my journal so it can remind me what I was thinking of last year or so the day before.
    But last year I was writing in a diary and my friend was reading it. And I read her entry in her diary.

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  6. All these tips will help you became a great author, I know that it worked for me.

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  7. I will do a writing project over the summer, and I hope this will get me closer for my love of narratives!

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  8. i already started a journal recently. i felt that it was another best friend. i spilled all my ideas and creativity into it.

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  9. That’s awesome, Sruti! A journal is a great place to unload all your ideas. It’s also a good place to polish your words into an awesome story. Practice describing every detail of everyday things that happen around you. Your writing will improve daily!

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  10. This is the second chapter of the story I’m writing, it’s a first draft:

    A Scream in the Dark
    An hour after I went to bed, I was woken up by rustling in the bushes. At first, I thought it was just a raccoon but after I listened harder, it sounded like footprints. I cautiously climbed out of bed and tiptoed to the window. When I peeked out, the sound stopped. I sighed, thinking that I just imagined the sound. But as I walked back to my bed, I heard a loud clatter in the kitchen. I picked up my defense stick and quietly opened the door. Another clatter sounded. I tiptoed down the hallway as the clattering continued. Finally, I reached the kitchen door and saw that the lights weren’t on. So I quietly opened the door and jumped out, waving my stick wildly around. Feeling that I didn’t hit anything I opened my eyes. Confused, I looked around, seeing only pots and pans on the ground. I slowly put down my stick and picked up the pots and pans. But just as I was putting them away, I heard a short scream that sounded like it was cut off.
    I quickly picked up my stick and ran to my parents’ room. I quickly opened the door and saw that it was empty. I searched all over my house and saw that my mother was nowhere to be found. I quickly ran over to my best friend’s house and franticly knocked on the door. Shelly, my best friend, open the door, holding a teddy bear under her arm.
    “Why are you here so late?” Shelly asked drowsily.
    “My mother! She’s missing!” I panicked.
    Suddenly, Shelly was wide awake.
    “I’ll get my parents!”
    She quickly ran upstairs. A few seconds later her parents ran down with magnifying glasses, pens, and notepads. Without stopping to say hello, they ran over to my house as Shelly followed. Quickly, I ran behind.

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  11. That’s a very nice first draft, Kathryn! Lots of action. Here’s a couple things to try on the revision:
    1. Don’t overuse the same word. You use ‘sound,’ quickly,’ and ‘clatter’ a lot.
    2. You do a great job with action, show me more of the girl’s building fear. You just show curiosity about the noise, then she’s panicking. How is she feeling as she looks for the cause of the sound? How can you show it? Is she trembling? (I like when she closes her eyes and hits with the stick) Is her mouth dry? Butterflies in her tummy? What other ways can you show fear?

    Awesome job! Keep working on it!

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