- “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . “
2. “It was a dark and stormy night . . .”
3. “Look at that sky!” exclaimed Joey. “It’s such a greenish sky with the weirdest shaped clouds!”
4. Have you ever noticed that Iowa skies take on a greenish cast when the impending storm includes tornado-like winds?
5. It was an eerie calm. The wind had stopped. The sky was greenish and the clouds were quickly rolling by. Some clouds seemed to be attempting to touch the ground.
6. I raced for the house and safety as I whistled for Mya to join me. Barking enthusiastically, she quickly passed me. Were we playing her favorite game of “Chase”?
7. In comparison with other states, Iowa ranks 6th in tornado occurrences with an average of 37 tornadoes each year.
8. Vehicles in a violent tornado (EF4+) can resemble crushed soda cans, almost unrecognizable to the owner, should they ever find be lucky enough to find it.
9. The walls were gone but the toilet remained, isolated and alone, like a throne. Even the toilet paper was still on the roll and in the holder, waiting to be used.
What was I “practicing”?
When did you “know” the skill I was demonstrating?
“How weird that the wind has completely stopped,” I thought. I raced for the house and safety as I whistled for Mya to join me. Barking enthusiastically, she quickly passed me. Were we playing her favorite game of “Chase”?
Just before arriving home, the weather report confirmed that fifty mile per hour winds were in our county. The sudden absence of wind caused goosebumps and a drum began to pound in my head. The sky was greenish-gray and the clouds were quickly rolling by. Some clouds seemed to be attempting to touch the ground.
“Tornado? Straight-line winds?” I wondered. At the very least, it looked like trouble was headed our way! In comparison with other states, Iowa ranks 6th in tornado occurrences with an average of 37 tornadoes each year. The old-timers in our area tell tales of houses being lifted off the foundation or, my favorite, the trailer that was reduced to rubble except for the toilet that remained, isolated and alone, like a throne. Oddly enough, the toilet paper was ready and waiting on the roll and still in the holder.
My house, my fortress of foot thick walls, was the perfect refuge. Branches fell in the timber. Trees danced as the wind began to swirl and twirl. Mya cowered under my chair anxious for my calming touch.
What seemed like forever in the world of slow-motion-what-if-and-disaster-is-looming thinking was less than five minutes as the sky lightened, the wind slowed yet again and the storm passed us by. A near miss? A typical summer storm . . . could be rain, could be hail, could be wind!
How and when do you “rehearse” and “practice” the skills that you ask your students to use in their writing?
What does your evidence look like?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
For more information about opening lines from children’s books, see this source.
Did you name the leads?
(alpha order) Action, description, dialogue, humor, interesting fact, quotation (2), question, and unusual image.
And how did I REALLY begin my story? With a combination of a “thought” (not included in the 9 possibilities above) and actions!
Did you notice that some of the other “possible beginnings” did make it into my short, short story? Accident? Design? You be the judge.
A Storm (not a tornado)
Dialogue: “Faster, Mya, let’s beat the rain!” I shouted.
Sound Effect: “Booommmmmmm. Booooooooooooooommmmm” rumbled the thunder.
Ask a question: Have you ever tried to “race” a thunderstorm?
Action Lead: I unsnapped my seat belt, opened the door, and quickly climbed out of the car with my computer bag in my hand.
Snapshot of a small moment: A flash lit up the sky and suddently a rumble like an approaching train began. It only lasted a few seconds but I was already racing for the house.
Flashback: I have only been caught in a thunderstorm once, but it was so memorable that I now race to get inside a building instead of outside during thunder and lightning.