Stockton Writing Class #3B: January 30, 2019

I HATE to write, but I LOVE to have written – Oscar WildeB


Be sure you have read, listened to and understood “You Can’t Kill the Rooster.”


  1. Qualifying Quiz
  2. Reading Quiz #2
  3. NPR piece left-over from previous class
  4. Narrative Assignment Overview & Discussion & Draft


Reading Quiz #2: (You will have 15 minutes to complete this assignment)

#1. Is the Rooster a “redeemable” character? In a maximum of three sentences, tell me how the Rooster redeems himself by the end of the essay.

#2. Explain the difference between “denotation” and “connotation” in exactly two sentences.

#3. Write one sentence that proves you understand the usage difference between “affect” and “effect.”

#4. In three sentences or less, explain “SHOW, don’t tell!” Costal’s number one rule of writing.


Formal Essay #1: Descriptive Narrative

A narrative is a story. In writing a narrative essay, you share with the reader some personal experience of your own in order to make a point or convey a larger message. A great narrative, for example might be how your grandfather influenced your desire to become an orthodontist, or perhaps you’ll relate the story of the time you didn’t make the cut for the basketball team. Whatever the story, a good narrative relays a higher purpose or meaning.

Narrative effect is the main point of your story—the moral, the message, the insight you offer. Without a specific narrative effect, your essay is merely a series of unconnected events. If you are unsure what your main point is, you might ask yourself, “Why am I telling this story? Why should someone else be interested in reading about my experience?” In addition, you must decide whether to reveal your point explicitly (stated directly) or implicitly (suggested but not stated).


Formal Essay #1: The Descriptive Narrative: Your narrative will be a story that describes your FIRST LOVE! This LOVE need not necessarily BE the LOVE of a human being (IN FACT< NO ESSAYS ON FAMILY MEMBERS OR ENTIRE FAMILIES! NO ESSAYS ON BOYFRIENDS, GIRLFRIENDS OR BEST FRIENDS! NO ESSAYS ON SPORTS.

I want to challenge you to think BEYOND your traditional interpretations of LOVE. Consider…

…the love of an item (your favorite chair)

…the love of a hobby or past-time (knitting, spelunking, 40 man squash, full-contact origami).

…the love of an idea (like freedom or solitude or creativity)

The catch is that the narrative must provide its description through the telling of a specific story. So you can’t simply DESCRIBE your chair, you must tell me the story of how you got it the chair or a time the chair really benefited. You cannot simply explain WHY freedom is good, you must tell me a story in which the theme is a love of freedom (i.e. your parents escaping a cruel government to get to this country OR your first night at college).

The narrative MUST tell a story, and the story must illustrate the love you feel for the thing.

Two pages, double spaced, default or 1″ margins. DRAFT ONE, DUE MONDAY. February 4th. BRING A HARD COPY TO CLASS.

Frequently Committed Narrative Issues:

1. Inciting Incident: To begin…as weird as it seems…don’t just start at the beginning…MAKE the beginning at the point of incitement.

2. Write a story, not an expository essay. No traditional thesis or opening paragraph. Resist the urge to NOT tell me WHAT you’re describing. This device is rarely worth the confusion.

3. Dominant Impression: Too many of you will not focus your story on ONE, SPECIFIC, CONCRETE INCIDENT, instead you wrapped it up in a complete day’s worth of description. For example, if your “FIRST LOVE” was Walt Disney World, and you know that because you went last summer, don’t tell me the whole story, from packing the car to leaving Orlando on Interstate 4. Instead, why not focus on riding your favorite ride with a loved one. Or one magical evening at Cinderella’s Castle. Or eating your way around World Showcase.

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