The student and I continued sharpening his writing skills with targeted lessons: one on ending with a bang, another on genre and emotional targeting. We also continued working on his story, "The Man in the Mirror," and honing his grammar/ syntax skills. For the first lesson, we worked on creating endings that resonate with readers by going over Louis Sachar's story, "Sammy," and imagining (and then writing out) other ways the story could've ended. We continued revising his scary story, "The Man in the Mirror," by marking up the story on paper with punch-ups, grammar and style corrections, and other ideas. For homework, he made the paper changes to the word doc of the story. We then went through the story two more times, adding dialogue, detail, and proofreading. When he and I both signed off on it, he printed it out and placed it in his drawer. Now, as Stephen King recommends, the story will "simmer" for a few weeks so we can look at it with fresh eyes later on. We'll take the story out again around just before Halloween to give it one more revision. The student is strong in grammar but the speed with which he writes sometimes results in typos, grammar, and syntax mistakes. To focus in on grammar, we worked through a real SAT writing section where he caught subject-verb agreement mistakes, verb tense mistakes, misused adverbs, and parallelism. This was advanced work but he did well. We then discussed genre by building a flowchart of all the many, many genres of story and connecting them (i.e. comedy is a genre, romance is another genre, romcom is a subgenre between them, bromance is a subgenre of romcom, etc.). We then discussed what emotions these different genres tend to attempt to evoke, and -- by reading a sad story from Chicken Soup called "Jason and Tommy" -- reviewed an example of a story that inspires and saddens. Writing is more than just conveying information; good writing makes readers feel something. So for next time, we're going to work on writing in-genre stories that target certain emotions in in readers.
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