Tuesday, October 18th

Writer’s Workshop

Session 7: Experimenting with Beginnings (Leads)


Today is the beginning of the second bend in the unit. Instead of generating new personal narratives, you will select the story you want to develop.

We will call this piece your SEED idea meaning you will nourish and grow it into a publishable piece.

Remember, that does NOT mean that the personal narrative is already an incredible piece of writing.  It might just be an idea that you think you can develop into a powerful and meaningful story.

Teaching Point:

Today, you will learn that writers rehearse for writing by trying out several different leads.


Writers study what great authors do!

Specific strategies:

  1. Zoom in on tiny details that must have actually caught his attention at the time: the missing fur, the leaky eyes, the stick-skinny body
  2. Inner Thinking that pulls me into his world and makes me curious about him
    I also notice that, in his head, Howe has the narrator talking to the kitten in his mind, telling him how lucky he is and how he feels about the neighborhood kids.

    I think what is really powerful about his inner thinking at the start of the story is the way it allows him to drop some hints about what his story might really be about.

  3. Including very precise details from the moment (from the narrator’s point of view)

Writers study what great authors do… and try more than one strategy in their own writing!

Active Engagement:

Take a closer look at James Howe’s narrative. What other strategies does he attempt in his lead?

Techniques for Writing Memorable Leads
  • Include the smallest details of the moment (paint a picture), the ones that ring true for the narrator
  • Include inner thinking to hint at what the story is really about
  • Include the precise actions of the characters
  • Include exact words the characters are speaking, in dialogue

Another resource to consider with similar types of leads

Examples of Leads to use in Narrative Writing

Student sample of leads for the same topic


Look at how much we learned from this writer today, especially including techniques for crafting a great lead.

Try a few different leads for your same story in the writing portion of your notebook. Add today’s date first and separate your leads by skipping a line before each.

Hint: If you start with a bit of dialogue, to quickly bring your characters to life for your reader, then next you might begin with inner thinking to hint at what the story is really about OR the smallest details of the moment OR precision character action.


  • Any unfinished attempts at leads?
  • Fishbowl Group #1 (written portion and wiki review)
  • Fishbowl Group #2-4: Keep reading
  • Any Super Hero updates (Due Friday)

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