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6+1 Writing Traits A Guide to Making Your Writing the Best That It Can Possibly Be! Ideas The ideas are the heart of the message, the content of the piece, the main theme, with details that enrich. Brainstorming: Listing, free-writing, webbing; whatever method you use to come up with ideas. Questions to ask yourself: (5W’s+How) •What am I going to write about? –Can I connect the topic to my own experience? –Give specific details –Stay focused on your topic. •Who is my audience? •Where did the story take place? •How did the events occur? •When did they happen? •Why did they happen? Organization The internal structure, the logical and sometimes intriguing pattern of the ideas of your paper. How do you put your ideas together? •Do you think about it first? •Use a graphic organizer? •Do you have a strong lead? •Every paragraph has only one main idea; retains focus. •Is there a satisfying conclusion? Voice The unique perspective of the writer coming through honesty, conviction, integrity and believability. Can the reader tell who wrote the piece? •Does your personality shine through? •Have you made your point of view heard? •Does your voice come up off the page? •Do the words on the paper match the words you speak with everyday? •Is it age appropriate? Word Choice The use of rich, colorful, precise language that moves and enlightens readers. (Do your words show the reader, not tell them, what happened?) Have you stuck to precise and descriptive language? •Did you pick just the right words to express your ideas and feelings? •Do your words help to create pictures in your reader’s mind? •Are you using “Million dollar words”? •ex: squash, dazzle, vex… •Is your vocabulary natural, or does it sound awkward in your story? Be sure to use the thesaurus sparingly and with thought. Sentence Fluency The rhythm and flow of the language, the sound of word patterns, the way in which the writing plays to the ear, not just to the eye. Do your sentences flow? •Write your sentences so that they can be read aloud easily; smoothly. •Keep a variety of sentence length. Have short, simple sentences as well as long, complex sentences. •Be sure your sentences start off differently. •Have you made an effort to make your writing sound good to a reader/speaker?(Is it music to the reader’s ears?) Conventions The mechanical correctness of the piece; spelling, grammar and usage, paragraphing, use of capitals and punctuation. Have you used correct spelling and grammar? •Proofread all that you have written. •Check all spelling, make sure you have a dictionary nearby! •Ensure that the entire piece is easy to follow and supports the main idea. Presentation The overall appearance of the composition. It is the form and layout of the text and its readability; the piece should be pleasing to the eye. Have you considered your handwriting? •Have you indented in all the places necessary? •Are you staying within the margins provided? •Is your paper visually clear and pleasing to the eye? •Are your letters and words written neatly? •Do I have any obvious eraser or messy marks?