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He sets this tone early in the school year with his annual "Fall-Walk Single Sentence" contest. The entire class spends time walking the school grounds, gathering inspiration, ideas, details, and words that describe the season of fall. Then, all students submit a single sentence by the pre-determined deadline to be judged by someone outside of the class.

John even submitted a sentence or two of his own. For , John took the Fall-Walk Sentence contest one step further. He included only sentences from his students and asked judges to select their top 10 favorites. After all the votes were in, John declared everyone a winner! He celebrated with this PPT that included each student's sentence on one slide with complimentary comments from judges included. John said that faces were beaming in his 5th grade Flint Springs Elementary Huntington, IN classroom when he showed the slideshow.

Here are this year's top 10 and beyond.

1. Don't try to change everything at once.

Here's a look at 's entries. Even John submitted a sentence for The first four were declared the "contest winners. After watching the slides, each student writes a sentence to describe one of the images from the slide show. Jake--Thank you for your question. This activity would work perfectly for winter. Before taking your students out for this activity, however, consider presenting a mini-lesson series on descriptive writing for several days to prepare them. You might even consider taking your students on an inside field trip first to allow them to practice taking notes about their surroundings.

Let us know how your winter-walk sentences turn out! Koch helps us understand the normalcy of these worries, and others, and gives us good advice about what to do with them. Overall, Koch's offering is an indispensable resource for any writer. Additionally, I've already used the index numerous times; an appreciated extra for such a relatively slim volume.

This guide may have a long title, but it remains a quick and powerful read that will be pulled from your bookshelf often. May 27, Mark Hennion rated it it was amazing Shelves: how-to-write , literary. On my overburdened shelf of how-to's, there are a few permanent members, some of which I read at least once a year. All pleasantries dismissed, I am also pleased to say that On my overburdened shelf of how-to's, there are a few permanent members, some of which I read at least once a year.


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Part-encouragement, entirely on point, Koch cuts to the heart of the matter by instigating that the prospective writer write as soon as they are ready, able; he goes so far as to say right now! To read this book is to fall into what feels a wonderful conversation. Koch uses not relies upon useful quotes from writers across all time periods, genres, and fields. He compares and contrasts the written word with related mediums, delves into its uniqueness, and never once cheapens or otherwise denigrates other media as so many writer-teachers are wont to do.

Compulsively readable, logically assembled, and entirely encouraging, this how-to has something for everyone. May 07, Miguel Barocchi rated it it was amazing Shelves: to-re-read. This book was awesome. I only wish that I had read it before. I don't think the author realised that many of the pieces of advice in this book applied not only to reading and writing, but to life itself.

In some paragraphs, you can replaces 'writing' with 'doing something' and get life advice for free. A lot of the content is just stuff that you intuitively knew but didn't understand why.

Sheila Arnold

While other parts, most of the parts the most encouraging ones , teach you that many of the "w This book was awesome. While other parts, most of the parts the most encouraging ones , teach you that many of the "writer problems" aren't problems at all, but tools you can use in your favor. Of course, I had to read it with a highlighter in hand so I could mark the most important parts, but I found myself many times highlighting entire paragraphs, or even pages. It's a delicious read that makes you a better writer, and in the process an even better reader.

By the way, I read this book in English though most of my writing is in Spanish, and that fact didn't diminish the book's usefulness. Dec 22, Creative A rated it really liked it Shelves: favorite-writing-guides , books-read-in I have been reading a lot of how-to writing books lately, and I have to say this one just stood out. It's the kind of book that you highlight and scribble notes in.

His advice was clear, smart, and profound, and he doesn't just try to make you learn a particular method - he teaches you how to develop your own method. Also, when he talks about the rules, it doesn't feel like the same information that everyone else repeats. And oh!


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  8. Koch doesn't tell you it will be hard. He skips right over it and goes on to the encouragement. Once or twice - particularly in the middle chapters - Koch wanders away from his previous style and begins musing about literary subjects, instead of teaching you something you can use. But otherwise I found this book highly inspirational, very useful, and a great resource. This is my second time through Koch's wonderful book I read it once before, part of a workshop on creative nonfiction actually and it is, if anything, better than I remembered. What's so very nice about Koch's book is that he avoids direct prescription by discussion of possibilities, an exploration of options.

    And here is someone who clearly practices what he and many other wonderful writers, with whom he as writer and the reader converse at great length on all sorts of subjects in this won This is my second time through Koch's wonderful book I read it once before, part of a workshop on creative nonfiction actually and it is, if anything, better than I remembered. And here is someone who clearly practices what he and many other wonderful writers, with whom he as writer and the reader converse at great length on all sorts of subjects in this wonderful book.

    Authoritative without pedantry, this book represents the ultimate in success for "how-to" books. If you don't want to write fiction, don't care about how to do it, this is still a book worth reading because of the skill, openness, and clarity with which Koch writes, and because of the insights into so many things besides writing that pile up on the journey.

    A Step-by-Step Plan for Teaching Narrative Writing

    Aug 05, Kerry Allen rated it it was ok Shelves: donated. Early chapters are heavy on author quotes which are inspirational, if seldom practically applicable. They're worth getting them directly from the source, in the context of the authors' experience, rather than from an aggregator. When those quotes thin out, the pretentious droning and taking 10 pages to expound on a concept that warrants a paragraph are given free rein, consigning this to the category of "one of THOSE writing books"--nothing new, and nothing that hasn't been said better elsewhere Early chapters are heavy on author quotes which are inspirational, if seldom practically applicable.

    When those quotes thin out, the pretentious droning and taking 10 pages to expound on a concept that warrants a paragraph are given free rein, consigning this to the category of "one of THOSE writing books"--nothing new, and nothing that hasn't been said better elsewhere. View 1 comment. Essential reading, and frequent rereading, for every writer.

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    Although the book concentrates on narrative, the line between fiction and nonfiction is blurry at best, and so much of his advice applies equally to both. To think of any writer taking on a novel, or even a short story, without learning from Koch first seems very sad.

    He could save them from so many mistaken assumptions, make the experience far less lonely, and perhaps rescue those who give up in despair. May 27, Jeffrey Fisher rated it it was amazing. I read a lot of writing "craft" books, and most disappoint. This one's a keeper. Read it and learn. May 09, Miggy rated it it was amazing. One of the best books on writing I've ever read. It is breathtakingly inspiring and accessible. May 05, Sarah rated it it was amazing Shelves: nonfiction.

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    Apr 27, Amy rated it it was amazing. The best book of this genre I've ever read. May 10, Maryana Pinchuk rated it really liked it. Nov 12, Nikki Lazy Book Lovers rated it really liked it. As a writer, this was very helpful. Jul 11, Robert rated it really liked it. I always found writing non-fiction to be easy: 1 Decide your topic 2 Figure out several points you want to make about the topic 3 Write an introduction explaining why you think the topic is interesting 4 Give your points on the topic, possibly with supporting evidence 5 Conclude and summarize. With little modification, this is the structure used in reports, emails, essays, and the vast majority of other writing.

    Indeed this review follows the same format! But fiction always baffled me. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. To better understand these questions I've ended up reading many different fiction writing books over the years.