For those of you wondering what happened to the snake I mentioned in last week's blog post, I found him the next day. He was much smaller than I anticipated and actually kind of cute. He tied himself in a knot around my finger when I picked him up, and I let him go in the front yard after a lecture. We think he came in through the dryer vent.
Additionally, I'll be having a book signing next Saturday, May 18, at Kaboodles on Main Street in Denison, TX. I'll be there from 10:30 or so until 3. I hope to see you there!
Finals week is wrapping up, and I'm excited to have two weeks off before summer school starts up. I'm not attending summer school, mind you. I'm teaching it. The theme of the six-week program is The Human Body, so I have to find work--math, reading, writing, social studies, and science--all based on the human body. I'm pretty sure we'll just take a few hours a week to play multiplication games. The kids seem to enjoy multiplication games.
One thing that I've struggled with teaching them is, surprisingly, writing. I suppose it comes so naturally to me that I have a hard time toning it down. I'll dance around the whiteboard, telling kids to add -ly adverbs as openers and throw in prepositional phrases and vary their sentence structures, and these poor kids barely know their parts of speech. They're in fifth and sixth grade. They should know. But they don't.
Anything you write--from essays to novels to children's bedtime stories--can improve through your use of these following stylistic tips.
An adverb is a word that tells how (or when, or where) something is done. Most adverbs end in -ly--think quickly, quietly, spitefully, suddenly. Starting a sentence with an -ly opener helps vary the tone of your story a bit. "Friendly" is one exception to this rule--it's an adjective even though it ends in -ly.
Since "friendlily" is a rather unwieldy word, it's helpful to stick it in a prepositional phrase--for example, "in a friendly manner" or "with a friendly smile." A preposition, simply put, says where something is in relationship to something else--note the word "position" in the second half of the word. Staring a sentence with one of these is also a great way to vary the tone of your story. "Into the house she went" sounds so much nicer than "She went into the house," don't you think?
Finally, varying your sentence structure is a great way to not only vary the tone of your story, but also to help set the pacing. Short sentences are great for conveying a fast pace or worry on your character's end. Longer sentences help slow things down a bit.
My laptop is lagging like crazy, so I think it's time for me to end today's blog. I'll see you on Monday with another poem! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to check us out on Amazon!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.