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Writing Skills

Writing Skills

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Writing Skills

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  1. Writing Skills “Writing skills are best learned through experience – through doing.” William Strong, author of Sentence Combining, a Composing Book.

  2. Sentence Combining in Action Look at these short, choppy sentences. • The sub had faked to the baseline. • The sub had twisted past his defender. • The sub had banked a shot off the glass. • The sub had sent the crowd into ecstasy.

  3. Sentence Combining What are the verbs in these sentences? • “had faked” • “had twisted” • “had banked” • “had sent”

  4. Sentence Combining • Can we do a better job of eliminating the repeated subject – “the sub” – and giving more impact to those great verbs?

  5. Sentence Combining Read this sentence to see if it does a better job of inviting the reader. The sub had faked to the baseline, twisted past his defender, banked a shot off the glass, and sent the crowd into ecstasy.

  6. Sentence Combining Or, how about this one? After faking to the baseline and twisting past his defender, the sub had banked a shot off the glass, sending the crowd into ecstasy.

  7. Sentence Combining Here’s another version of those same short, choppy sentences combined into one, more effective and fluent sentence. The sub – faking to the baseline, twisting past his defender, banking a shot off the glass – had sent the crowd into ecstasy.

  8. Sentence Combining This is my personal favorite because the short, dramatic sentence at the end (standing by itself) gives a punch to the idea that the crowd was excited. With a fake to the baseline, the sub had twisted past his defender and then banked a shot off the glass. The crowd was ecstatic.

  9. Sentence Combining You can rearrange sentences, change nouns like ecstasy into adjectives like ecstatic, and even add details if you choose. Look at this example: An ecstatic crowd had watched the sub fake to the baseline and twist past a frantic, backpedaling defender – his shot banking softly off the glass to send the championship into overtime.

  10. Sentence Combining The point is that sentence combining exercises have many right answers. You will get to use some creative energy to make these sentences/paragraphs YOURS!

  11. Paragraphs: a context for combining You will be given an activity that looks like this: Notice the numbers beside each sentence. You are reading a nineteen sentence paragraph that should be a five sentence one. Looking Back 1.1 Shadows filled the coach’s office. 1.2 The coach bent over his metal desk. 1.3 He cleaned out the bulging files. 2.1 He was ready to dump an envelope. 2.2 A photo caught his attention. 2.3 The photo was fading. 2.4 The photo was from an earlier era. 3.1 The young man’s face was thin. 3.2 The young man’s face was determined. 3.3 His eyes hungered for a chance to play. 4.1 The coach thought back. 4.2 The coach remembered something. 4.3 He had pulled a sub off the bench. 4.4 He had yelled instructions. 4.5 The lad had ignored them. 5.1 The sub had faked to the baseline. 5.2 The sub had twisted past his defender. 5.3 The sub had banked a shot off the glass. 5.4 The sub had sent the crowd into ecstasy.

  12. Paragraphs: a context for combining Ultimately, this story will become a five sentence paragraph. The 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 sentences will be combined to form the first sentence. The 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4 sentences will be combined to form the second sentence. Get it?

  13. Paragraphs: a context for combining (1) As shadows filled the coach’s office, the coach bent over his metal desk and cleaned out the bulging files. (2) He was ready to dump an envelope when a photo caught his attention. (3) The photo was fading and from an earlier era. (4) The young man’s face was thin and determined, and his eyes hungered for a chance to play. (5) The coach thought back and remembered something. (6) He had pulled a sub off the bench and yelled instructions, but the lad had ignored them. (7) The sub had faked to the baseline, twisted past his defender, and banked a shot off the glass. (8) The sub had sent the crowd into ecstasy.

  14. Paragraphs: a context for combining • Some sentences can be combined by changing an independent clause to a dependent clause. • Some can be combined by using a comma and a BOYFANS. • Some can be combined by using phrases (such as participial phrases or prepositional phrases).

  15. Paragraphs: a context for combining (1) With shadows filling his office, the coach bent over his metal desk, cleaning out the bulging files. (2) He was ready to dump an envelope, but a fading photo from an earlier era caught his attention. (3) The young man’s face was thin and determined; his eyes hungered for a chance to play. (4) As the coach thought back, he remembered that he had pulled a sub off the bench and yelled instructions that were ignored by the lad. (5) The sub had faked to the baseline and twisted past his defender. (6) His shot, banked off the glass, had sent the crowd into ecstasy.

  16. Paragraphs: a context for combining (1) In a shadow-filled office, the coach bent over his metal desk to clean out bulging files. (2) He was ready to dump an envelope when a fading photo from an earlier era caught his attention. (3) The young man’s face, thin and determined, hungered for a chance to play. (4) The coach thought back, remembering that he had pulled a sub off the bench and then yelled instructions that the lad ignored. (5) Faking to the baseline then twisting past his defender, the sub had banked a shot off the glass – the crowd’s ticket to ecstasy.

  17. Writing Tips Sometimes I will give you little hints or “Writing Tips.” For example: 2.1 He stood atop the bungee tower. 2.2 He felt a jackhammer in his chest. Writing Tip: Try adding an ing ending to one of the verbs in cluster 2. Or

  18. Writing Tips • 4.1 Far below was the parking lot. • 4.2 Car windows glinted in the sun. Writing Tip: Try using where as a connector in cluster 4.

  19. Let’s give it a whirl.

  20. Bungee Jumping • 1.1 The moment of truth arrived. • 1.2 Max had felt raw panic. • (Try switching the order of these two and joining with “as.”) • 2.1 He stood atop the bungee tower. • 2.2 He felt a jackhammer in his chest. • (Try using only one “he” and joining with “and” – no comma.) • 3.1 His mind screamed one repeated thought. • 3.2 “What am I doing here?” • (Remember the punctuating dialogue rules.) • 4.1 Far below was the parking lot. • 4.2 Car windows glinted in the sun. • (Try joining with a comma and a BOYFANS.) • 5.1 Traffic streamed by on the highway. • 5.2 A small plane droned in the distance. • (Try joining with “as” – no comma needed.)

  21. Bungee Jumping continued • 6.1 Max squeezed his eyes shut. • 6.2 Max wished he’d never accepted the dare. • (Try removing the second “Max” and changing “wished” to “wishing.”) • 7.1 “You’re eighteen,” he told himself. • 7.2 “You’re going to die,” he told himself. • (You don’t need the repeated phrase, but you might still have two sentences.) • 8.1 Then suddenly he was weightless. • 8.2 He was falling headlong toward earth. • (Be sure not to create a run-on sentence.)