My nephew has a short research essay due on Thursday, so I’m walking him through the steps of researching, prewriting, and writing. After reading Number the Stars in class, he decided to do his essay on Anne Frank. Saturday we went to the library and I showed him how to look up information in the encyclopedia. (Or as I explained to him the old school Internet.) We also checked out three books. Tonight we’ll work on organizing the information into three paragraphs: before hiding, hiding, and after hiding. I’m hoping we’ll get the first paragraph done tonight.
Helping my nephew has made me realize how innate the writing process has become to me. Perhaps I even take it for granted at times. Working with him and my other seventh grade student makes me re-examine the writing process: how this step leads to this step and how vital it is to take a few moments to organize your thoughts and even do the dreaded O word: outline.
I've never liked outlining. But I've learned that it’s a necessity at some point in the writing process, and that the earlier it occurs, the better or/and easier a project becomes. You have to know what you want to write about before you can write about it.
I think I get lost in this step. Trying to figure out what the story is about before writing the story. Wanting my prewriting to look all cool and organized complete with cross referencing. (Yes, I am that anal retentive. I wonder if there’s a club for that?)
My question for you this week is this:
Do you have a tricky spot in the writing process? A place where you get stuck or in a rut?
Any advice on helping a seventh grader write a five-paragraph essay about Anne Frank? (I really thought that the five-paragraph essay was a relic of the past, but I guess not.) Any advice or suggestions about helping seventh-grade boys write would be greatly appreciated.
See you next week. Don’t forget to list your October goals!
My October goal:
Write a working outline for the pilot episode to sitcom idea #2.
Write a working outline for the YA WIP.
Make weekly progress toward these goals.