Foreshadowing vs. Boring Repetition

Foreshadowing is a subtle sign or event alluding to an event which will occur later in your plot.

This foreshadowing could be as simple as a clap of thunder or gathering clouds. It could be a beautiful sunset — implying new hope for tomorrow.

Foreshadowing can be used very effectively to enhance the reader’s experience.

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Repetition is not the same as foreshadowing. Repetition of similar scenarios within one work will confuse the reader. Characters within one work should not have similar personalities, roles, or names. Events should not occur in exactly the same way several times in the same story. Settings should be varied.


Variety in all aspects of your story will increase reader interest and understanding.


Today’s Assignment:

1. Have someone else read your written work.

2. Ask them to look for repetition in characters, events, settings, or word usage.

3. Consider what changes should or could be made to improve your piece.

Be Concise — Sometimes Less is More

In many situations, being concise is important.

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A long explanation can be frustrating.

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A short explanation is often better.

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More teaching (or presenting) tips here: (click on image to enlarge)

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Thanks to TeachThought and Sylvia Duckworth.

Today’s Assignment:

1. Sit in chair.

2. Write.

3. No surfing until you have written for at least two hours.

You CAN Tell a Book from Its Cover

Perhaps the old saying, “You can’t tell a book by its cover” is essentially true . . .

however, we just can’t help but be influenced by a book’s cover.

Some book covers are beautiful. Some book covers are very intriguing.

Here are a couple of favorites:

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See more favorite children’s book covers at:

See more of the best grown-up book covers here:

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Today’s Assignment:

1. Design a cover for the book or short story that you are currently writing.

2. Create a new cover for your favorite book.

3. Create a book cover for a book you haven’t written yet. Ask someone else to try to guess what the book is about.

The Classic Tale: Scheherazade — Co-curricular — Music and Writing Composition

* Scheherazade is a classic tale. Beautiful music has been written by Rimsky-Korsakov to tell this story.

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———————————————————————————————– (kindernet)

Watch this beautiful presentation:

*In summary:

“Bedtime stories took on a new meaning for Scheherazade. Her husband, the Sultan, had the nasty habit of marrying a woman at night and killing her in the morning.

So Scheherazade thought up a plan. Every night she would tell him a story, and leave it hanging. 1001 captivating stories later, he decided to keep her.

These Tales of the Arabian Nights inspired Russian composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov to compose a symphonic suite called Scheherazade in 1888.”  (


This tale has been retold many times in many ways. One notable version is by Charles Baxter.

“The short story, “Scheherazade” by Charles Baxter, begins inside a hospital room with an old married, couple conversing with each other. The old woman is purposely making up stories about the lives before they told to entertain her husband, who can be hooked up to a respirator. The relationship between the couple has probably been a lot less perfect and glamorous than the stories he wife tells, and the author uses this to show that the truth may not always be the best choice for every relationship.”

If you would like to read more on Charles Baxter’s version, go here:


This modern fiction work might be considered a similar to Scheherazade:

Code Name Verity is a 2012 novel by Elizabeth Wein whose main character is occasionally called Scheherazade. She is a Scottish spy who was captured by the SS in Occupied France, and is writing down her story and war time secrets to spare herself torture.

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Today’s Assignment:

1. Watch the “Creative Kids” story presentation shown in the first link above.

2. Start a notebook or a special file on your computer entitled: “1001 Nights.”

3. Each evening write a short bedtime story. (It can be a complete story or a chapter.}

The Trickiness of Peer Review

Fact One:

Most of us read other authors’ works all the time. We compare and contrast their writing styles to our own.

Fact Two:

Often peer review is a required aspect of a writing class.

Fact Three:

Peer review can be very helpful or it can be very harmful!

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The goal of peer review is to help the author improve his product, not to reduce him to a defeated blubbering puddle of tears.


When you review:

Keep comments constructive.

Specific suggestions are sometimes very appropriate.

However, sometimes being extremely specific in your comments is not possible or even desirable. The reviewer is not expected to take over the writing of the piece.

–If a certain phrase or paragraph is confusing, as a reviewer you may note that–without attempting to rewrite it for the author. Your comment should be more specific than, “I don’t get it.”

Remember to be positive and productive. However, being positive and productive does not mean being “nice.” It means asking productive questions in positive language. A review is not helpful to the author if only vague compliments are offered.

Be honest about a piece’s weaknesses, as well as its strengths.

A review is not a line-edit. The reviewer does not need to note every erroneous double space between words or the like.

Sometimes the reviewer’s identity is known. Sometimes the reviewer is kept anonymous. Regardless, the review should be positive and productive.


Today’s Assignment: Review someone’s written work. (That someone could be you.) Complete the page below.


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—(Keys to Literacy)

Character Development with Aristotle

Aristotle taught that the Golden Mean balances features of human behavior.


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Aristotle – the golden mean. Moral behavior is the mean between two extremes – at one end is excess, at the other deficiency. Find a moderate position between those two extremes, and you will be acting morally.


When developing realistic characters in your writing, consider extreme behaviors which lead in either direction.

Since human nature is imperfect, people often exhibit actions of excess or deficiency.

Writing your character’s behavior to include the good and the bad makes them seem real.

The best villains often also show the reader an honorable side of their nature.


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Look at the chart below to help you decide how your character will behave.


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Aristotle also taught about peripeteia — a change in fortune:

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A change in fortune or a change in the action from positive to negative OR from negative to positive makes your plot dynamic and engages the reader.

Today’s Assignment:

1. Write a character sketch.

2. Show how this character is good in some ways and bad in some ways. (In other words, show how your character’s behavior falls on the side of excess or deficiency in Aristotle’s chart.)

3. Watch this video.

Writing Description — What is the Image Your Reader ‘Sees?’


Readers often visualize characters or settings differently than how the author intended.

This is a little test to see how accurately you are portraying your characters or setting.

Select a photo. Any photo will do. Perhaps this photo of the lovely model Cotswold village will be one you would like to describe.

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Another fun possibility would be to select the photo of an animal.

Do not use the name of the animal in your written description.

See if your reader can guess the animal you are describing.

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This is a Quokka. Read more here:

Today’s Assignment:

1. Select a photo.

2. Write a full page describing what you see.

3. Put the photo aside.

4. Give your written description to someone else.

5. Have that person make a sketch of the scene you have described.

6. Compare the sketch and the photo side-by-side!

–What are their similarities?

–What are their differences?

Reflective Writing for Sunday

Sunday is a great day to contemplate some of the big mysteries of life.

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———(Photo credit: Teaching Scotland)

Today’s Assignment: 1.——————————————————————————————-

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_______(Keys to Literacy)

2. Write your message or question to God:


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———–(Keys to LIteracy)

Watch something inspiration today:

Creative Writing Assessment in 50 Words

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———————————————————————————(Photo credit: Scottish Book Trust, Flickr)

Write a 50 word story about a road trip.

This story can be about a physical or an emotional journey you’ve taken in your life.


If this photo prompt doesn’t excite you, find another and include it with your 50 word short story.


Even a very short story like this will exhibit many writing skills and can be used as a year-end assessment tool.

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*********************************************************************************************(Photo credit: Highway Tourism)