Thursday, April 28, 2011


What's your POV? Your Point of View?

Nope, I'm not asking what you think about Justin Bieber, Johnny Depp, or Miley Cyrus. I'm not wondering what your opinion is concerning war and peace, and I'm not thinking about your point of view on the latest hit comedy show on TV.

What POV have you chosen in your latest piece of writing?

Want choices? I've got 'em!

First Person point of view is in use when a character narrates the story. Your narrator will use I-me-my-mine in his or her speech. This is one of my favorite POVs because I get to hear the thoughts of the star of the story, and get to see how he/she views the world.

Example (taken from my book SAMANTHA HANSEN HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD):  A few yawns later, I climb out of bed. To tell the truth, I don't mind going to school. Mrs. Montemore is my fourth-grade teacher at Centertown Elementary, and so far, I like her a lot. In first grade, I had old Mrs. Milkens. Everybody had to shout out answers because if Mrs. Milkens didn't hear you, you got a red check in the grade book. I never had much trouble with the shouting thing, but a couple of quiet, shy kids almost ended up repeating first grade.


With Second Person point of view, the writer uses you and your. This is a pretty rare POV. It's like having the writer speak directly to the reader. It can be sort of annoying and big time editors (and some teachers) aren't too fond of it.

Example: Carissa is the name of the dog that lives next door. You like this name, right? I bet you would name your cute dog Carissa, if you were allowed.


Third Person point of view means that someone is like an outsider looking in on the action. Third Person Omniscent means that you get to write about the thoughts of every character. Third Person Limited means you must choose to write the thoughts of only one character.

Example (taken from "Spend or Save," a story I wrote that appears in the July 2010 issue of Highlights Magazine): Jeremy was rich! His grandparents had given him twenty dollars for his birthday. He couldn't wait to get a Skater Rex video game. Mom took him to the toy store.


Nancy's big tip:
Pick a POV and stick with it!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Break!

It's FINALLY here...drum roll, please...

Flowers are in bloom, trees have buds and teeny leaves, the air smells great, the sun is shining, warm breezes are blowing, people are sneezing...It's all good.

My tip for this week involves two choices on your part.

1. Think about that first day when you noticed a change in the season.
     Did you see the scrawny hedge that separated your house from your neighbor's house suddenly burst into yellow? What about that very green grass that wasn't there yesterday? (spring)
     Did you hear the seagulls screech like crazy outside the bedroom of the seashore cottage your parents rented? How about the creak and roar of amusement park rides? (summer)
     Did you smell the earthy, sweet smells of harvest time? Or perhaps, take in the scent of mud on the soccer field? (fall)
     Did you feel your nose get chilly, even though the first snow is weeks away? Can you breathe in and feel the cold in your lungs? (winter)


2. Think about your first day of vacation, whether it's spring break, winter break, or summer vacation.
     What are you excited about?
     What are your plans?
     How will you be different when your break is over?

Write a paragraph or two about your feelings as you see your world change.

For a challenge, rewrite those paragraphs from the point of view of a bird.

C H I R P!
HURRAY For Spring!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Nitty Gritty on Numbers

He has five homework assignments due tomorrow.
He has 5 homework assignments due tomorrow.

Which one? HELP! - The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation - Jane StrausWriting numbers can be confusing. I found this terrific resource: I love the way Jane Straus, author of THE BLUE BOOK OF GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION, breaks down writing numbers into 16 easy rules.Thanks, Ms. Straus!

Rule 5 is my favorite. I see this rule broken a thousand times!

Review the rules posted under the link above, then take this quick test:
My four dogs ate with their 13 cats. RIGHT OR WRONG?
Recess will be at 3:00. RIGHT OR WRONG?
Two thirds of the class received twenty two candy bars. (HA! You wish!) RIGHT OR WRONG?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ten Tips to Avoid Getting Bogged Down

I found this definition online. It's perfect for what I wanted to talk about today.
bog - verb. To get stuck while doing something; to be hindered in movement; to be prevented from making progress

Thinking about words, spelling, sentences, grammar, setting, plot, characters, and everything else is enough to bog down even the best writer. If something is getting in the way of your writing, try this:
1. Cut pictures out of magazines. Is there a picture of your main character? Is there a setting you'd like to describe? Could someone's expression give you an idea about plot?
2. Draw a tree. On the trunk, put the title of your story. On the branches, list all the possible things that could happen in your story.
3. Talk about your story to a friend.
4. Record your thoughts, even if they are random and don't seem to make sense.
5. Sketch a picture of an idea.
6. Watch TV. (I did NOT say that, did I?) Well, guess what? There are great story ideas stuck inside TV dramas, comedies, and yes...even cartoons.
7. Brainstorm. Even if your idea sounds dumb or isn't formed into complete sentences, put it down on paper. On that list may be something brilliant.
8. Sing. Singing always makes me feel better, and when I'm in a good mood, I eventually sit down and write.
9. Try a new experience. Ever been camping in your living room? Ever sleep with your head at the bottom of your bed instead of the top? Ever eaten breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast? You'd be surprised at how your brain wakes up when you mix things up.
10. Get a good night's sleep, but keep a notebook by your bed. I get my best ideas at 4 AM.
Write On!
Peace out.
: )