The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

A Writing Lesson---A Puzzle of Details

Often, writers have trouble finding inspiration.  This strategy can both inspire writers and guide them into looking at a subject in a different way...

      Take some photographs that are large enough for this purpose (photos that take up most of a magazine page work nicely).  They can be black and white or full color pictures.  They can be close-ups of a face, or a picture of a landscape from far away.  You are then going to cut each photo into a puzzle.

     As you cut each photo into puzzle pieces, look at the details in the photo.  Make your decisions about where to cut carefully.  For example, you might want to cut the photo so that one piece includes the eyes...another piece will include the snarling mouth...another piece will include the forehead covered in beads of sweat.

      Put the pieces of each photo into a plastic bag.  (If you want to reuse these, first glue the pictures onto a piece of cardstock.  Then cut into pieces.  You can even laminate them if you like.)

     You may pass the bags out to the students, or you may have them choose a bag.  As they work with the photo, you can give them the following guidance:

Write about each piece without putting the puzzle together.  What do you see in each part?
* Think texture...
* Think adjectives...
*  Think feelings...What kind of emotion do you see, or what kind of feeling does each part 

Use the rich details to write a poem, a story, a diary entry, a news article, a letter---whatever the photo inspires the student to write