When you brainstorm you’ll often just have individual words written down but if you want to turn a word into a paragraph of prose how do you do it?
I showed my leaving certs how the other day. I asked them for a word. They came up with ‘sex’ (hormones, hormones, hormones).
Then I wrote a list on the board as follows:
- Imagery = 5 senses = SIGHT SOUND SMELL TASTE TOUCH
- Rhetorical question
- Thoughts & Feelings
- Short snappy sentences
As we used each technique we crossed it off.
Here’s the paragraph we came up with:
Does he seriously think I’m going to sleep with him? I’m really really drunk and I can smell the stale sweat of his armpits, see the yellow plaque on his teeth. I can taste the puke in my mouth and the thump of a dance tune hammers into my brain. He reaches over and grabs my ass. I’m definitely going to puke again. ‘Get me out of here’ a voice screams in my head. But I can’t leave. You see this is my job. And if I don’t sleep with him my children don’t eat”.
As a rule I find students need to think less about what they write and more about HOW they write. Having a list of techniques written down forces you to be more stylish in your writing.
Now over to you. Pick a word, any word. Try to write 8 or 10 stylish sentences. As you use each of the techniques above cross them off.
You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at the result but disheartened at how long it takes. Practise writing one paragraph every day and you’ll get quicker at it.