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Wondrous Words II


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Title: Wondrous Words II

Wondrous Words II
  • Adapted by Rebecca McKay
  • Guide to Ways with Words
  • Following Part I Text Structure

Wondrous Repetition- 1. Close-Echo Effect
  • A writer will often repeat words or phrases very
    close together when it is not necessary to do so,
    creating an echo effect in the text. You might
    see this in places where a conjunction could be
  • Purpose-writer calls attention to words and
    repeat text rhythms because number of syllables
    is repeated.

Close-Echo Effect Examples
  • Night in the Country-Rylant- There is no night
    so dark, so black as night in the country.
  • The Whales-Rylant- …someone is standing on a
    shore and his heart is filling up. Filling up and
    ready to burst. Whales do not know how they
    change people, how they make them better, how
    they make them kind.
  • Water Dance-Locker- I wind through broad golden
    valleys joined by streams, joined by creeks.
  • Miz Berlin Walks-Yolen- Without missing a step,
    without missing a word..
  • Dreamplace-Lyon- …and see for the first time
    across treeslike a dream, like a sandcastle this
    city the Pueblo people built under a cliff

Wondrous Repetition- 2. Repeating Details
  • Writers will take specific details and repeat
    them at different points in a text, creating a
    thread of continuity through the artful
    repetition of detail. Sometimes the details are
    repeated using the exact same words, but not
    always. Sometimes just the detail will come up
    again and some small aspect of it has changed.

Repeating Details Examples
  • Roxaboxen-McLerran- The colors of the desert
    glass-amethyst, amber, and sea-green-mentioned
    twice in the text.
  • The Relatives Came-Rylant- Grapes are the
    repeating detail. They are nearly purple enough
    to pick, but not quite and almost purple
    grapes, and finally, at the end, they are dark
    purple grapes
  • Miz Berlin Walks-Yolen- A paper fan and a shiny
    black umbrella are details mentioned here and
    there throughout the text.

Wondrous Repetition- 3. Repeating Sentence
  • In just one place in the text, writers will
    sometimes repeat a sentence structure or a series
    of sentence structures for effect. This is a
    repetition not of words, but of kinds of words,
    and how they are put together. These
    sophisticated repetitions tie the sentences
    together in a rhythmic way, adding an interesting
    sound to the text.

Repeating Sentence Structure Examples
  • Secret Place- Bunting- The growl of traffic, the
    snort of trains, the beep-beep of a backing
    truck. The secret place has its own noise The
    cackle of coots, the quack of teals, the rah-rah
    of the mallards that ring the sky
  • Night in the Country-Rylant- There are owls.
    Great owls with marble eyes who swoop among trees
    and are not afraid of night in the country. Night
    birds. There are frogs. Night frogs who sing
    songs for you every night reek reek reek reek.
    Night songs.

Wondrous Repetition 4. Re-Say
  • The re-say is the repetition of an idea which
    comes immediately after the idea has been
    presented. The re-say is the stopping to say
    something again, another way, right way. Much
    like a close echo, a word or two are often
    repeated in a re-say.

Re-Say Examples
  • Dreamplace-Lyon- …and see for the first time
    across the trees like a dream, like a
    sandcastle, this city the Pueblo people built
    under a cliff
  • Baby-MacLachlan- Only Byrd looked happily
    satisfied, as if something wonderful, something
    wished for, had happened

Wondrous Word Choices 1. Striking Adjectives
  • Writers will sometimes describe a noun using an
    adjective that is unusual or unexpected in some
    way. Sometimes the effect is achieved because of
    crossed parts of speech-a word that is usually
    not an adjective is used as an adjective-but
    often its simply an adjective we dont think of
    as a normal modifier for a particular noun.
  • Writers Purpose-makes writing lively because it
    catches the readers eye-its surprising.

Striking Adjective Examples
  • Letting Swift River Go-Yolen- Then I heard my
    mothers voice coming to me over the drowned
    years. We dont think of years as something
    that would be drowned.
  • The Relatives Came-Rylant- Then it was hugging
    time. In this case we think of hugging as a verb
    and so we are surprised to see it used an
  • Miz Berlin Walks-Yolen- And if you listen real
    hard, you might even hear a block-long tale. An
    unexpected adjective, very specific to the
    content of the story.

Wondrous Word Choices 2. Out-of-Place Adjectives
  • Adjectives usually come before the nouns they
    modify. With thi crafting technique, a writer
    will place an adjective after the noun it
    modifies or in some other unexpected place.
  • Writers purpose- draws attention to both the
    adjective and the noun because of unexpected

Out of Place Adjectives Examples
  • My Mama Had a Dancing Heart-Gray- …and drink
    lemonade cold and drink hot tea spiced. We
    expect cold and spiced to come before nouns.
  • Baby-MacLachlan- My mother stood with her hands
    up to her face, shocked.
  • Writers who use this technique are playing with
    our ears, playing with what we expect to hear. In
    next example, Yolen moves an adjective after an
    adverb phrase that modifies it, causing readers
    to hear something unexpected….
  • Miz Berlin Walks-Yolen- But one feather rained
    into my hand, and it was all over gold. Our ears
    expect gold to come before all over.

Wondrous Word Choices 3. Striking Verbs
  • Involves careful selection of striking verbs that
    catch readers attention. These verbs work out of
    some other unexpected quality. Writers choose
    verbs that readers do not expect to use with
    their subjects. Sometimes the verb very subtly
    personifies something in the text but just as
    often they are just surprising with the subject.

Striking Verb Examples
  • My Great Aunt Arizona- Houston- For fifty-seven
    years my great-aunt Arizona hugged her students.
    We dont expect this verb. Hugging hasnt been
    mentioned only teaching.
  • The Whales-Rylant- In the blackness of the Black
    sea the whales are thinking today. Thinking
    personifies whales and sets gentle tone.
  • Maniac Magee-Spinelli- …especially when he got
    a load of the kid drowning in his clothes Verb
    creates visual imagery-we do not expect it.
  • Secret Place-Bunting- There are warehouses with
    windows blinded by dust and names paint scrawled
    on their brick walls and The phone wires rocked
    the moon in their cradles of lines. Two verbs
    that personify-one created by unexpected word
  • Miz Berlin Walks-Yolen- I ran up and touched her
    hands and we knitted our fingers

Wondrous Word Choices 4. Striking Adverbs
  • Use this to create striking textual features. Do
    this by creating words to make new adverbs, using
    another part of speech as an adverb, putting two
    adverbs unexpectedly together, or just choosing
    one wed never think of putting with a particular

Striking Adverbs Examples
  • Miz Berlin Walks- Yolen- Id walk with Miz
    Berlin side by side, step by step, waiting
    cotton-quiet till she cleared her throat.
  • The Lost and Found House-Cadnum- All night
    trucks rumble past. But I hardly really sleep.
    Unusual combination of 2 adverbs.
  • Nocturne-Yolen-…a big moon balloon floats silent
    over trees…using an adverb in adjective
    form-crossing the parts of speech..lively!

Wondrous Word Choice 6. Intentional Vagueness
  • Achieved by manipulating pronouns and adjectives
    that modify nouns, making them nonspecific when
    we expect them to be more specific.

The Aunt at Our House
Intentional Vagueness Examples
  • The Relatives Came- Rylant- The Relatives makes
    this every readers story-lends an anyones story
  • The Whale-Rylant- They are floating like
    feathers in a sky Choosing a to modify sky
    instead of the makes it vague.
  • The Aunt in Our House- Johnson- Refers to her as
    the aunt-never named.

Wondrous Word Choice 7. Proper Nouns
  • Name dropping in text gives writing specificity
    that makes readers trust authority of the
    narrator. Proper names-name brands can almost
    take on role of adjectives.
  • Writers purpose-call up sensory images.

Proper Nouns Example
  • Missing May-Rylant- Before she died, I know my
    mother used to have loved to comb my shiny hair
    and rub that Johnsons baby lotion up and down my
    arms and wrap me up and hold and hold and hold me
    all night
  • Cant you just smell that lotion?
  • Missing May-Rylant- My eyes went over Mays
    wildly colorful cabinets, and I was free again. I
    saw Oreos and Ruffles and big bags of Snickers.
    Sensual detail that the proper nouns have for the
  • Baby-MacLachlan- He danced every evening before
    dinner, after his six crackers (Ritz) with
    cheddar cheese (extra sharp), between the first
    glass of whiskey that made him happy and the
    second that made him sad.

Wondrous Word Choice 8. Make-Your-Own-Words
  • Writers just make up words if they cant find the
    one that they want. By combining words or word
    parts that are familiar to readers, writers dont
    shy away from making new words that fit most
    perfectly with their meanings. Often these new
    words are hyphenated, but not always. They might
    appear to be adjectives trying to describe the

Make Your Own Words Examples
  • Maniac Magee- Spinelli- Thats why his front
    steps were the only un-sat-on front steps in
    town and unbefroggable!-the ball was heading
    back home
  • Home Run- Burleigh- Then there is only the
    echoey, nothing-quite-like-it sound
  • An Angel for Solomon Singer-Rylant- ..and the
    smiling-eyed waiter told Solomon Singer to come
    back again to the Westway Café
  • Nocturne-Yolen- in the wraparound blacksurround
    velvet night

Wondrous Sentences 1. Artful use of And
  • Starting a sentence with and lets the writer set
    a part of something off by itself-showing its
    still tied the the rest of the sentence but
  • giving it its own significance. Meant to show
    narrators afterthought. Sometimes will end an
    entire text to give archetypal feeling and sound
    all readers know And they all lived happily
    ever after.

Artful Use of And Examples
  • Missing May-Rylant- And then a big wind came and
    set everything free. Last sentence
  • When I was Young in the Mountains-Rylant- And
    that was always enough. Last sentence.
  • What you Know First-MacLachlan- And so I cam
    remember too. Last sentence.

Wondrous Sentences 2. Runaway Sentences
  • To convey a sense of franticness, desperation,
    excitement, or being carried away with something,
    writers will sometimes craft a very long, winding
    runaway sentence. Their awkwardness makes them
    work in context. Often filled with commas that
    slow and quicken the pace as you read through

Runaway Sentence Examples
  • House on Mango Street- Cisneros

Runaway Sentence Examples
  • Missing May- Rylant

Wondrous Sentences 3. Artful Sentence Fragments
  • Crafted for effect.Writer relies on understood
    parts of a sentence…clarify, reiterate, exclaim,
    or list.

Artful Sentence Fragment Examples
  • Maniac Magee-Spinelli- For instances, he would
    eat dinner with Aunt Dot on Monday, with Uncle
    Dan on Tuesday, and so on. Eight years of that.
  • I Had Seen Castle-Rylant- The mills were fed
    coal and men so Pittsburgh might live. And it
    did. Very well. A page over- Evidence of the
    fathers tastes lies behind glass doors of a
    bookcase. Theory. Darwin. Empiricism. Words to
    bind you to this room, this house, this planet.
    Words to make senses of everything.
  • Woodsong-Paulsen- Largely because of Disney and
    posed natural wildlife films and television
    programs I had preconceived ideas about wolves,
    about what wolves should be and do. They never
    really spoke to the killing. A paragraph
    Spoke to the blood.
  • Baby- MacLachlan- Mama was covered with flecks
    and smears of paint, and I could tell by the
    colors what she was working on. The island.
  • Home Run-Burleigh- Then it is as it should be.
    Smooth as silk. Easy as air on the face. Right as
    falling water.

Wondrous Sentences 4. One-Sentence Paragraphs
  • Writers will often set off a sentence as its own
    paragraph for emphasis. These are not sentences
    with quotations in them-which are often their own
    paragraph…these are simple sentence set off by
    themselves for effect. When you look at the
    sentences in relation to the other sentences
    around them, you see that by giving them their
    own paragraphs, writers have used white space
    around them as a mark of exclamation.

One-Sentence Paragraphs Examples
One-Sentence Paragraphs Examples
  • Baby- MacLachlan

Wondrous Sentences 5. Direct-Contact Sentence
  • These are sentences-often commands, but they can
    be of any sentence type-in which the writer
    interrupts the narrative to speak directly to the
    reader or to comment on whats happening in the
    text. These sentences invite readers to be active
    participants with the writer, either by following
    the writers instructions or b y listening to the
    writers commentary.

Direct-Contact Sentence Examples
Wondrous Sentences 6. Seesaw Sentences
  • Seesaw sentences are crafted with predictable
    pairs of information or detail, just like seesaw
    text structures, but on a smaller, one-or-two
    sentence scale. The pairing effect gives these
    sentences a two-part rhythm.

Seesaw Sentences Examples
Wondrous Sentences 7. Taffy Sentences
  • These sentences begin with a central idea and
    then pull that idea out a little bit, and then a
    little bit more, and maybe even a little bit
    more. Each time the sentence is stretched, a
    little more detail is added and the original
    detail is repeated.

Taffy Sentences Examples
  • Nocturne-Yolen- In the night, in the velvet
    night, in the brushstroked velvet night…..

Wondrous Sentences 8. Short, Short, Long Sentences
  • In a move seemingly borrowed from musicians,
    writers will often craft a series of three
    sentences in a rhythmic duh, duh, duh-duh-duh
    three part rhythm.

Short, Short, Long Sentences Examples
Wondrous Sentences 9. Sentences that Make A Long
Story Short
  • When writers want to move in a hurry through a
    lot of time or activity in a text, they will
    write one sentence that covers lots of ground
    fast. These sentences compress time and detail
    and are the opposites of the crafting technique
    in which writers will stretch a moment out,
    sometimes making a single action last several
    pages. This shows that writers are clearly in
    control of their texts.

Sentences that make a long story short…examples
  • The Relatives Came… So they drank up all their
    pop and ate up all their crackers and traveled up
    all those miles until they finally pulled into
    our yard. She makes the traveling part of this
    trip pass by very quickly.
  • I Had Seen Castles… After the war ended, America
    made Germany its friend, Russia its enemy, and it
    helped rebuild Japan. Sums up the entire war in
    a single sentence.

Wondrous Marks of Punctuation
  • This technique is used to communicate directly
    with readers, stepping outside the regular text
    for a moment to whisper something in the readers
    ear. These are usually asides of explanation that
    are more characteristic of spoken language than
    written language, but the form they take in texts
    is often parenthetical. Whispering parentheses
    give texts a conversational tone, making readers
    feel like insiders with an author.

Wondrous Marks of Punctuation 1. Whispering
  • An Angel for Solomon Singer- When he reached the
    end of his list of dreams (the end was a purple
    wall), he simply started all over again and
    ordered up a balcony (but he didnt say the
    balcony out loud).

Wondrous Marks of Punctuation 1. Whispering
  • Missing May- May started talking about where
    theyd hang the swing as soon as she hoisted
    herself out of the front seat (May was a big
    woman), and Ob….
  • But Ill be Back Again- When the Beatles came to
    America in 1964 the boys lost most of us girls to
    either John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George
    Harrison, or Ringo Starr (not many to Ringo).

Wondrous Marks of Punctuation 2. Commentary Dashes
  • Writers add extra layers of commentary to a text
    by an extra set, by-the-way details off with
    dashes. Writers do this to not just to expand an
    idea, but to do so with voice. They sound like an
    additional thing the narrator has just thought to
    tell you. Compare these with parenthetical asides
    for an interesting study.

Commentary dash examples
  • Missing May-Ob was an artist-I could tell that
    the minute I saw them-though artist isnt the
    word I could have used back then, so young.
  • Canyons-Paulsen- He lived alone with his mother
    and when he was home-which was less and less as
    he approached fifeteen and his mother spent more
    and more time working to live, working to be,
    working to feed and clothe her only son-the two
    of them existed in a kind of quiet tolerance.
    Notice the lovely repetition in this stunning

Wondrous Marks of Punctuation 3. Items in a Series
  • Writers often make very deliberate decisions
    about how a list will be punctuated.
  • Some are punctuated with all commas and no
    conjunctions some that use all conjunctions and
    no commas some that place periods between items
    in the series, making each one its own sentence
    and some that are punctuated following the more
    traditional rule for items in a series. This
    lets the writer toy with how items in a series
    are punctuated by playing with the rhythm and
    with meaning. Look at the examples and listen to
    the difference in the rhythm. Think about how the
    listed items mean what they mean through their

Items in a series examples
  • The Relatives Came- We were so busy hugging and
    eating and breathing together
  • Night in the Country-….the groans and thumps and
    squeaks that houses make when they like you are
    trying to sleep
  • The Whales-Thinking of those things that matter
    most to them friends, family, supper. A song
    they used to know . A combination of commas and
    a period.
  • Welcome to the Green House-If we do not do
    something soon, there will be no more green
    house, not for the monkeys and fish and birds and
    bees and beetles and wild pigs and bata and
    kinkajous and all the hundreds of thousands of
    flowers and fruits and trees. And not for us
  • Scarecrow- The earth has rained and snowed and
    blossomed and wilted and yellowed and greened and
    vined itself all around him

Wondrous Marks of Punctuation 4. Super Colons
  • Writers use colons to do lots and lots of artful
    work in text. Colons can set an idea off from
    others, show that someone is thinking or talking,
    or serve as markers that something big is about
    to follow.

Examples of Super Colons
  • Tulip Sees America-And we left Ohio and went
    across America. This is what we saw- this colon
    sets up the entire rest of the text. You drive
    between a stand of firs and you thinkno ocean.
    Then you blink, and there it is
  • Dreamplace- …..till we came around a bend and
    see for the first time across the trees like a
    dream, like a sandcastle, this city the Pueblo
    people built under a cliff
  • Scarecrow-They ignore the pie-pan hands and the
    button eyes and see instead the scarecrows best
    gifthis gentleness.

Wondrous Marks of Punctuation 5. Super Ellipses
  • Ellipses can show that an action is continous,
    transition from one action to another or from one
    idea to another, move time or place, or show that
    there are just not words for something.

Examples of Super Ellipses
  • Dog Heaven- They turn around and around in the
    cloud…until it feels just right, and then they
    curl up and sleep.
  • On the Day You Were Born- a rising tide washed
    the beaches clean for your footprints…while far
    out at sea clouds swelled with water drops
  • The Whales- There are not enough poems in the
    world to tell… show a speechless narrator
  • Down the Road- Then she continued down the
    road…through the meadow…across a stream…pass a
    house or two…down a street…around a corner…up
    some steps…and into the cool shadows of Mr.
    Birdies Emporium and Dry Goods Store
  • Madelia- There is a place…a place, Daddy sang
    out, Oh, yeah…a place far away…a beautiful
    place…yes, Lord…where the streets glisten in
    day…well ride high…well sail in the sky…with a
    host of many

Wondrous Marks of Punctuation 6.
Quotation-Mark-less Quotations
  • Quotation marks are not the only method of
    setting off direct quotations in text. Writers
    will sometimes choose to represent speech in
    other ways for various meaning-making reasons.

Examples of Quotation Mark-less Quotations
  • All the Places to Love- Quotations are written in
    italics and not enclosed in QMs Each one is
    something someone has said in the past about how
    or why they love a place.
  • House on Mango Street- No marks for direct speech
    of any kind…Where do you live, she asked.
  • We Had A Picnic This Sunday Past-Author uses bold
    print to mark DQs- The tooth fairy bring you

Wondrous Print-Interesting Italics
  • Baby-Italics are used in text in interesting
    ways-especially to set Sophies memories apart.
  • Night in the Country-Night frogs who sing songs
    for you every night reek, reek, reek. Night
    songs. Italics make that noise.
  • Maniac Magee- You have eaten pizza before,
    havent you?
  • Water Dance- I fill and overflow. I am the lake

Wondrous Print
  • Laying out text to match the meaning. Common in
    picture books and poetry.

Wondrous Print 2. Text Shaped to March Meanings
  • Sometimes writers will layout text or the print
    of a single word on the page in a way that
    matches the meaning of the text in that place.
  • Dreamplace-Lyon-
  • Food, too,
  • had to be grown above them
  • or hunted below them
  • harvest and kill
  • borne home on their backs
  • hands
  • and
  • feet
  • finding
  • slots
  • in the
  • stone.
  •  Canyons-Paulson- It was going to be a long,
    loong night.
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