Monthly Archives: March 2009





Simply Outrageous Secrets to Elaborating Your First Anthology of Writing Genres

Grades Six and Seven ABC

Dear Parents:

During 2010-2011 your daughter will be introduced to the magic and amazing world of English Writing. Writing is putting thoughts and ideas in paper. Writing is stamping your fingerprint in history and making you to be a unique person. Writing is you and the casual encounter with your thoughts. “Writing is thinking in paper” W. Zinsser.

But writing is a complicated process that not only requires many choices, finding a well-focused topic, discovering a reason from writing about it, choosing a format and then doing the writing with much as grace and style as the writer can muster, but also to know the different literary genres- realistic fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, expository fiction, short story, poetry, autobiography, biography, fantasy, and novel.

The writing Project for 2008 –2009 in grade six and seven ABC will be based either on  EXPRESSIVE, EXPLANATORY, PERSUASIVE or CREATIVE WRITING GENRES. And the forms of discourse will be:short story, essays, novels, cartoons, sketches, TV scripts, plays, poems, magazine articles, newspaper articles,  screenplays, autobiographies or biographies. And literary genres such as.Science fiction, Irony, Realistic fiction, Nonfiction, Historical fiction, and Expository Fiction. At the end of the school year, every student will present her masterpiece with two samples: one for the teacher to be assessed and returned to students and the other one for the school library to be read by the school community.

This anthology may or may not be a best seller, but it will be a pre-requisite for your daughter to be promoted in English Literature for the next level: grade seven or eight accordingly. And the due date will be Friday, June 20th, 2009.

Let´s begin with the basics

Some advice for aspiring writers:

The first advice is to keep a writing journal. A writing journal is a notebook or notepad in which you collect materials for developing your ideas. Jot down daily experiences that may enrich your topic. Students will use the journal as a warehouse of their thoughts and ideas on specific issues.

You should also understand that you belong to a community of writers, so you may find it helpful to discuss your ideas with family and friends, to let your teacher scan your first drafts, and to solicit feedback from your fellow students.

A final piece of advice is to complete each stage of the writing process conscientiously and without undo haste. The stages are:

1. Generating ideas.

2. drafting

3. revising and

4. editing, polishing and submitting the manuscript.

The first two stages are discussed in detail in the sections that follow. Good luck, perhaps when the school year is over you will be able to take pride in your writing masterpiece, which will be a collection of your best works. Writing and publishing your own book will give you status in the school community. The last two stages will be covered in upcoming classes and documents.


Finding a topic for writing is no easy task. You must start with a general subject, generate ideas about it. And then narrow the focus of it to fit your point of view. Even if your teacher suggests a topic, for example “The family” or “The Most Influential Person in my Life” you must generate ideas to find your own focus and format for that topic.

One good strategy for generating ideas is to develop a list of words about a topic that interests you, then select one item from the list as the primary issue that will be your subject. Other item on the list might serve as subtopics.

Example:  A student can write “The Most Influential Person in My Life” and she begins developing a list based on things or people that can influence others to make decisions and somehow shape their lives.

Things or people that influence persons:



Family(parents, grandparents, siblings)


Media (Radio, TV, press)

Music (Pop stars)



With this brief list, the student could begin making choices. She could write on one person or use the list as a preliminary outline for writing about all of them.


Another technique for finding and developing your topic is the cluster (web), which is a chart of related topics and subtopics. First, write your topic in the centre of a sheet of paper and draw a circle around it. Then jot down related ideas, circle them and draw connecting lines to the main topic. Each major circle should have its own set of satellite subtopics, as shown in this example:

CLUSTER OR WEB: The Most Influential Person in my Life.



date and place of birth

political affiliation

The most Influential Person in My Life.


actions and successes

likes and dislikes









Most important aspects of his-her life.


eating habits



famous people he –she has ever met.


family roots



treasure possessions



religion affiliation




I do really apologize for the cluster. THIS IS NOT WHAT I HAVE EXPECTED.

Clustering helps students connect their main topic to five subtopics (likes and dislikes, description, biography…) and to the satellite subtopics (movies, food, secrets, sports…)


Well another useful strategy to generate ideas is to ask yourself a set of questions about your topic. Even if you cannot answer all of them, the questions alone will help you generate ideas. To start, use the questions typically used by journalists. Who? What? Where? Why? And How?

1. Who is the most influential person in your life?

2. Why is he or she the most influential person in your life?

3. In what moments have you felt that person influencing your life?

4. Where did you meet that person?

5. In what places has that person influenced your life?

6. How did that person influence your life? What actions?

7. What does she/he look like? (Physical appearance)

8. What is she or he like? (Personality)

9. How is his/ her  nucleus family?

10. What is his/her favorite music, food, color..?

11. What are his/her ambitions and plans?

You can use a different set of questions to help analyze that person. It is important to note that as many questions you can get as much information you can obtain. Do not limit your questionnaire to the 11 listed questions. Include more questions that you consider necessary to know more about your target objective.


It is similar to writing a rough draft except for one thing: It is uncontrolled and spontaneous. Therefore, in your journal, begin a freewheeling, nonstop period of writing for five or ten minutes. Let ideas come tumbling out without concern for form, style or correctness. Introduce your topic with an attention grabber. Lines that could captivate the reader´s mind. Let´s see how Monica could start her freewriting.

And she said to the doctors that it was her first baby. A long, black and shiny hair girl was born to her hands. She held the baby for a few seconds before her newborn was taken to the next pavilion where immature babies were taken for meticulous care. Her voice trembled and she had to make a big effort to swallow the antibiotics, the analgesics and the tranquilizing pills, then she put her head on the pillow when the nurse brought  her a colorful mug in which she made her finger curves to hold it, drank the water and left a residue. She was patient like the lighthouse waiting for the ships coming from the north in a tempest. She was relaxed not for worry but for such exhausting earlier labor experience. Is she alright? She asked? Yes, she is. A nurse writing a medical note responded. Don`t worry, she will be alright. The baby was safe and observed with careful and protective eyes. Doctors and nurses passed by and the baby’s gestures and giggles captivated them.

That was the first story I heard from my mom, the most influential person in my life. My mom is the most imaginative, affectionate and loveliest person in the world. She makes me feel I can do it; she charms my nights with bed stories that recreate my spirit and incite me to explore a life in my dreams. Nights become shorter and I feel protected in her arms when she comes and pays me a visit.  I know she has gone through a very hard life but such moments have endured her self-determination and attitude.

My mom is full of secrets, plans, ambitions, self determination and charisma that make her to be the center of our family reunions. She dreams about seeing in her daughter a professional with high values and educational level.  Sometimes it is hard for her to share her secrets, she always says if a secret is revealed, it will not come true. Her major ambition is to travel to somewhere she only knows with dad, a place where they can take a break and rejuvenate their spirits to keep on scratching their lives.

One day in the farm, she grabbed my arm and took me to her furtive space. There, closing the door without being noticed she gave a look and told me that …..

This freewriting can help you draft one character sketch. It is convenient to use lots dialogues to make the story more vivid and attractive.

Freewriting techniques:

1. Begin with a subject of interest to you and write whatever comes into your mind. If you think it…ink it!

2. Write quickly for five or ten minutes without pausing to judge, edit, or reflect on your sentences.

3. Explore any aspect of the topic from any conceivable point of view.

4. Switch to different topics if you go blank so that you continue to write without stopping. Change the color of the pen if necessary!


You may also find useful to search newspaper and magazines for articles, columns, cartoons, and editorials on your subject. If the magazine belongs to you, clip out the interesting material to paste in your journal, otherwise make a photocopy of the material to paste in your journal. Always make a note of the name of the author, the title, and page numbers of the article, the name and location of the publisher, and the year of publication. That way, if you decide to quote from the clippings, you will be able to cite the sources properly.

Monica will find a helpful drawing of a family reunion. Another student will find useful to get some pictures of “king of the Hill”, “Dad”, “The Simpsons” or even “Family Monster” Tv series. Some others will find useful family or heroic parents stories, or how famous families live. They will compare and contrast their own family values and roots to the cited sources.

Strategies for generating ideas:

Finally, there are several methods for generating ideas outside the journal. Reflect during quiet moments about your subject, recall images and ideas, and make associations between your personal life and the subject at hand.

By recalling images of the past and by reflecting on how things might be, you can sharpen your thinking on a topic. Another way to discover ideas is to discuss your topic with friends, teachers, family members and others. Sometimes a teacher will encourage brainstorming sessions in which several students sit together and share ideas. You may want to conduct an interview with a knowledgeable person. If time permits, read a story, newspaper report, or magazine article, and watch a movie on your subject.


To narrow your topic to explore a particular angle, write a proposal in your journal that identifies these ingredients:

· Your subject

· Your purpose or reason for writing, and

· Your target audience.

Here is how one student could develop her writing proposal to narrow her topic.

I want to focus on the most influential person in my life because all decisions that I make are influenced by my family members. One day I was in a very difficult and awkward situation, I didn´t know how to react at that time, but when I thought about how my mother could do it, the outcome was satisfactory for me. She always gives me advice about how to face difficult situations in my life. I think that people can influence you positively or negatively. Each one is responsible for his/her acts.  Teenagers should have someone around to influence positively in order to avoid upcoming and unmanageable consequences.

This proposal establishes:

Ø Her subject

Ø Her purpose or reason for writing

Ø A target audience

Ø A descriptive format.

This proposal is drawn upon personal experience. You as a writer may find it helpful to develop a writing proposal that outlines your narrow focus and establishes your voice and version of the experience at the heart of your writing piece.


Almost all pieces of writing have an expressed or implied thesis, which is a theory or opinion about the narrowed topic. Your thesis is the special idea that you want to share with the reader or an issue that you want to explore in depth.

Developing a thesis sentence

To develop a preliminary thesis sentence, use your journal to consider answer for three questions:

1. How do you feel about the topic?

2. What aspect will interest somebody else?

3. What is the issue?

The thesis sentence for the most influential person in my life would be:

People are influenced on a daily basis either positively and negatively. People need to know and carefully select the people to hang around. Family members and teachers are a key in teenagers’ education. Young people are in a psychological and physical stage of vulnerability that requires positive and exemplary role models in the society.

So far, your preliminary journal writing has been spontaneous. You have identified key words, discovered ideas and issues, and framed a working thesis. Now you must make additional choices so that your first draft will be complete.

Preplanning requires two steps:

1. You have to choose an appropriate form.

2. You need to organize the material to fit the form.

Form is the framework you choose for communicating your message, such as a personal letter, a poem, or a memo. The word “composition” is like an umbrella: it covers many possible forms. Therefore, it is suggested that you make two decisions: which type of writing you will develop and which form best fits your purpose and your thesis sentence.

Your writing work may be in the following categories:


In Expressive writing your thesis sentence introduces your feelings about a key event or episode in your life, which you will further develop through reminiscence, meditation, or personal narration. You will want to share your private exploration of where, when, and what happened, who was involved, and why it was important. Because you are a central player in the experience you are describing, you should feel free to use “I.”

You may choose to write an entire writing piece that explores one event in your life, or you may want to use a brief anecdote from your life to introduce or conclude an expressive manuscript. You can organize chronologically, by going from the beginning of the episode to the end, or you may decide to begin at a crucial moment in the episode and then use flashbacks to provide necessary background.

It is often important in expressive writing to provide a description of the scene and to use dialogue to show the emotions and thoughts of the various people involved. You should use action and dialogue to advance the narration so that you are showing rather than just telling what happened. In concluding an expressive writing, you should imply or openly express why his episode or event made such a strong impression on you.


Explanatory writing is informative writing, so the thesis sentence introduces the subject you are going to describe, interpret, or analyze. In writing an explanatory piece, you need to focus primarily on the subject, not your personal feelings or experiences, so you should avoid using “I.”

In your opening, focus on defining and describing the subject. Then, provide practical and precise facts about the subject. You can use explanatory writing to describe, explain, and interpret your subject, provide historical background; and describe memorable characters; classify parts of your subject and analyze each one. You may also need to use definition, description comparison and contrast, examples, and other methods to explain the complexity of your subject.

Types and Forms of Discourse





Expressive Writing


personal feelings






freewriting personal




private letter

opinion paper

Explanatory Writing

communicates basic ideas, information,

how-to and







research paper


how to essay

process essay



Persuasive Writing

influences others to change opinions and behaviors

aggressive, forceful



argumentative essay

letter to the editor


political pamphlet




Creative Writing

explores interest in language, symbolism, and imaginative characters and plots









television script

Adapted by Mr.MrTz from: Lester and Lester –Style and Grammar- Scott Foresman 1995.


In persuasive writing, the thesis sentence sets forth the primary argument with which you hope to encourage your readers to change their behaviors or opinions. Your argument will focus your reader´s attention on the evidence that supports your position. In opening your persuasive paragraph or essay, focus on your cause-defining it and establishing its importance. Then defend your position, suggests the consequences of ignoring your recommendation, and give enough details to reach their decisions. You should also anticipate opposition and offer reasons why your position is the most sensible one. In concluding, you should simply reaffirm your answer, solution, or recommendation.


In creative writing, your spontaneity will prompt you to write a story, a poem, a play, or some other imaginative work that usually features an implied thesis. In writing creatively, you have the freedom to create interesting characters, imaginative scenes, and dramatic plots. However; creative writing isn´t just about making up stories; you will best serve your reader if your creative writing addresses a central issue or theme about life.

Your most important role in creative writing is as the narrator. You may choose to use the third- person point- of- view and speak as an outside observer of the action, or you may want to use first-person point-of-view and speak through one of your characters.

Creative writing generally requires specific forms. For example, short stories usually feature a chronological description of the action with appropriate flashbacks to set the scene. Figurative language such as metaphors, similes, personifications, allegories, and hyperboles are essentially required to offer a more vivid spectrum of the descriptions.

Once you have been introduced to the four categories of writing, and the forms of discourse for your writing project 2008-2009, it is time now to start deciding the angle of your work. Let your teacher know the following information:



Not complete



Listing key words


Asking questions




Narrowing the topic

Writing your proposal

Thesis sentence

Type of writing

Forms of discourse

Here is an example of a comparison and contrast essay about two writing genres: Academic Writing and Creative Writing.


Academic Writing vs. Creative Writing; ‘What is Known’ vs. ‘What May Be Thought’

By Mr.MrTz

Literacy lies beneath reading and writing. “Writing is thinking in paper” Zinsser. Writing is the ability to put thoughts in paper. Some people write for passion or hobby others for work or study. Some writers´ main purpose is to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions through their poetic way; whilst others prefer to convey information that is factually based and objectively presented on a particular topic, and they use their prosaic style to present it. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the differences between academic writing and creative writing. The seven main differences are forms of discourse, audience, point of view, purpose, register, tone and foundation.

The most notable difference between these two kinds of genres is their forms of discourse. Creative writing focuses on creative fiction mainly short stories, and novels. Writers in this genre use figurative language such as metaphors, similes, hyperboles and personifications to make their works more vivid and descriptive. Their characters, setting and plots are imaginative and they feel freedom in terms of expressing their ideas. They create their unique style of elaborating their stories that may interest their potential readers. In contrast, the heart of the academic writing is the creation of “new knowledge” via a review of what is known about a given topic. The academic writers´ new views and perspectives on the topic are seeing from an authoritative point of view. Research projects, processes, analysis, and communication of new ideas are the final products of the writers whose target readers are in most of the cases scholars that share the same interest in the topic.

Comparing both types of genres it is evident another difference. Creative writing papers could be written in first person point of view or third person point of view. “I” is commobly used in the lines.On the other hand academic papers are always written in third person point of view. Writers should avoid “I”. Academic Writing must be objective; the focus is not on the writer, but on the topic and ideas of the paper; but in creative writing the author takes an important role- the narrator and he/she serves the reader if the creative writing tackles a central issue about life.

Academic writing avoids abbreviation and slang. The focus is clear; formal- register language is unambiguous. Therefore one should write out numbers, currency designators, and units of measurement in full. Although creative writing opens the door of the imagination; idioms, vernacular language, abbreviations, contractions are permitted in terms of maintaining the correctness in grammar and structure.

The basis in academic writing is the documented review of what is currently known about the topic. On this foundation the author constructs his/her perspective of the topic. Previous scholars’ writing papers, details and literature reviews are the main platform of the academic writing; however, in creative writing, the main sources are the living experiences of the writers. They filter the surroundings and internalize the environment. Their anecdotes, flashbacks, connections to the topic and conflicts feature their creative writing pieces.

Yet another difference between these two types of genres is the tone. While in academic writing the tone is convergent, practical, informative and functional, in creative writing the tone is divergent, inventive, imaginative and experimental. In academic writing, convergent reasoning plays an important role. It is realistic, objective and factual. In creative writing, divergent reasoning is depicted as resourceful, risk-taking and unexpected.

Here are the main seven differences between academic writing and creative writing. As we can see it comes down to a personal choice, based on the motive each person has or wants to write, the importance and desire he/she gives to his/her writing. Therefore it is important that people consider their characteristics and choose the best genre for catering their audience and accomplish their objectives.


“GREAT EXPECTATIONS” by Charles Dickens (Summary)


“GREAT EXPECTATIONS” by Charles Dickens (Summary)

On Christmas Eve, young Pip, an orphan being raised by his sister and her husband, encounters a frightening man in the village churchyard. The man, a convict who has escaped from a prison ship, scares Pip into stealing him some food and a file to grind away his leg shackle. This incident is crucial: firstly, it gives Pip, who must steal the goods from his sister’s house, his first taste of true guilt, and, secondly, Pip’s kindness warms the convict’s heart. The convict, however, waits many years to truly show his gratitude.

At his sister’s house, Pip is a boy without expectations. Mrs. Joe beats him around and has nothing good to say about her little brother. “I had to bring you up by my own hand”; her husband Joe is a kind man, although he is a blacksmith without much ambition, and it’s assumed that Pip will follow in his footsteps. Only when Pip gets invited unexpectedly to the house of a rich old woman in the village named Miss Havisham; does Mrs. Joe or any of her dull acquaintances hold out any hope for Pip’s success?

Indeed, Pip’s visits to Miss Havisham change him. Miss Havisham is an old woman who was abandoned on her wedding day and has, as a result, given up on life. She wears a yellowed wedding gown and haunts around her decrepit house, her only companion being Estella, her adopted daughter. Estella is beautiful, and Pip develops a strong crush on her, a crush that turns into love as he grows older. But it is unrequited love, as Miss Havisham has made it her dark life’s project to raise Estella as a cruel-hearted girl who will break men’s hearts, satisfying Miss Havisham’s own desire to spurn love.

Estela says.” Come here, you may kiss me, if you like” after insulting and degrading him.


Pip frequently visits Miss Havisham, until one day she tells him never to return because the time has come for his apprenticeship with Joe to begin. Having tasted the spoils of a better life, Pip is miserable as a blacksmith and constantly worries that Estella will look through the forge window and see him as horribly common. Estella soon leaves the village, and things progress until one day Mrs. Joe suffers an attack which leaves her mute and incapacitated, although a lot nicer. A young girl about Pip’s age, Biddy, comes to live at the house in order to care for Mrs. Joe. Pip again settles into his routine until one night at the village bar a London lawyer, Jaggers, approaches Pip, revealing startling news: Pip has inherited a lot of money from an anonymous benefactor and must leave for London immediately, to become a gentleman.

In London, Pip studies with a tutor and lives with a new and close friend, Herbert. Pip is certain that his benefactor is the rich Miss Havisham.

In addition, he becomes convinced that Miss Havisham’s financial support, toward his elevated social status, is the result of her desire that he may marry Estella someday. Pip passes many years in London; he remains ashamed of Joe, and they grow apart, Mrs. Joe dies, and though he falls harder and harder for Estella–who seems to get colder and colder by the day–he never confesses his love. Among the people he knows in London are Wemmick, a clerk in Jaggers’ office who becomes a friend, and Bentley Drummle, a horrible brute of a boy who begins to make moves on Estella.

One stormy night, Pip learns the true identity of his benefactor. It is not Miss Havisham (who has made many misleading comments indicating it was her), but rather a petty criminal named Magwitch. Magwitch is the convict Pip fed in the churchyard many years ago, and he’s left all his money to Pip in gratitude for that kindness, and also because young Pip reminded him of his own child, whom he thinks is dead. The news of his benefactor crushes Pip–he’s ashamed of him and worse yet, Magwitch wants to spend the rest of his days with Pip. Pip takes this on like a dreadful duty, and it’s all the worse because Magwitch is a wanted man in England, and will be hung if he’s caught.

Eventually, a plan is hatched by Herbert and Pip, whereby Pip and Magwitch will flee the country by rowing down the river and catching a steamer bound for Europe. This must be done on the sly, and further complicating matters is the fact that an old criminal enemy of Magwitch’s, Compeyson, is hot in pursuit. Compeyson, it’s discovered, is the same man that swindled and abandoned Miss Havisham so many years back. Miss Havisham, meanwhile, is softening a bit, and seems repentant for her life-long mission against love.

Estella has been married to Bentley Drummle; a marriage that anyone can see will be an unhappy one. Just before Pip is to flee with Magwitch, he makes one last visit to Miss Havisham, and finds her filled with regret, wanting his forgiveness. Unfortunately, she gets a little too close to the fire and sets herself ablaze. Pip heroically saves her, but she’s badly burned and does eventually die from her injuries.

Pip and Magwitch, along with Herbert and another friend, Startop, make a gallant attempt to help Magwitch escape, but instead he’s captured–pointed out, in fact, by his old enemy Compeyson. Compeyson dies in the struggle, and Magwitch, badly injured, goes to jail. Pip by now is devoted to Magwitch and recognizes in him a good and noble man. Magwitch dies, however, not long before he’s slated to be executed. Pip has discovered that Magwitch is actually Estella’s father, and on Magwitch’s deathbed Pip tells Magwitch his discovery, and also that he loves Estella.

Without money or expectations, Pip, after a period of bad illness during which Joe cares for him, goes into business overseas with Herbert. Joe has married Biddy, and after eleven relatively successful years abroad, Pip goes to visit them out in the marshes. They are happy and have a child, whom they’ve named Pip. Finally, Pip makes one last visit to Miss Havisham’s house, where he finds Estella wandering. Her marriage is over, and she seems to have grown kinder, and wants Pip to accept her as a friend. When the novel ends, it seems that there is hope that Pip and Estella will finally end up together.