#SOL19: Determining Importance

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I tugged at the thing in my mouth.  A string? What on earth?

I started to gag.

Someone grabbed my wrist and held it tightly. But the string in my mouth!  I know I was screaming “Take it out” but only a garbled mess came out.

My teeth hurt. Something was rubbing my lips.  My throat hurt.  And that string!

“Help me! Please!”

It was just one week after school was out for the summer. I was 9. My older sister and I were in beds in the same hospital room after having our tonsils out.  She wasn’t too thrilled about the apparent 2 for 1 discount.




Are all the events above equally important?  After a #TalkPower Twitter discussion of Chapter 4 last night I decided to practice using one of the tools from Shana Frazin and Katy Wischow’s new book from Heinemann.

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The Tool:  The Event-O-Meter

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The plan is to use this tool with events in a story or nonfiction book as students talk about the events and the category that they belong in.  In order to get a feel for this, I decided to try it with a story that I was drafting for my slice. The goal of this “game” is to discuss the thinking for the placement in a category.

Here’s how I thought about my story above. First Draft Thinking. (I wouldn’t use every sentence as I did in this first practice.)

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Is every detail or event in a story equally important? 

Who determines the importance? 

The author by its inclusion? 

The reader by their response?

(And sorry dear readers, I am still working on this story . . . )




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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10 responses

  1. I love the Event-o-meter, and I really LOVE how you’ve used it in your own writing. I could definitely see how others might rank things differently, depending on their personal experiences!

    See you SOON!

    1. Isn’t it fun! I couldn’t decide what book to try it on so I thought I’d just try it on my slice!!!

      And yes, boarding passes already downloaded so SOON, very soon!

  2. I need to know what happens in the story!!!! ❤️

    1. I am on my 4th version, and it’s still very icky.

  3. Thanks, Fran, for this interesting way to approach story writing. See you at NCTE19.

    1. You are welcome, Carol. See you soon!

  4. What a neat tool for deciding the importance of events. I am wondering if after seeing the importance, especially in a fiction story, one could adjust the writing to make something seem more or less important. I am on my way to Baltimore this afternoon.

    1. I know. It is making me rethink “which” details need to be included!

      Tomorrow!

  5. Love this — I have to check out this chat as well. The book is so powerful –thanks for sharing!

    1. The chat resumes Dec 2nd with Ch. 5.

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