Student Essays and Their Springboards
The following student essays are examples of work inspired by the suggestions and writing exercises in Writing True.
Writing as the Voice of Innocence
O' Reilly, a college student, writes in first person, present tense, as if she were again in seventh grade. To refresh her memory, she leafed through an old history textbook. The springboard assignment: Write about an embarrassing moment long ago as if you are again that person. Use the voice of who you were and exaggerate for effect.
Robyn O'Reilly, "Walking the Plank"
Writing as the Voice of Experience
McLaughlin, writing in past tense, reflects on a kindergarten experience after using a freelisting of sensory details to jog her memory. The springboard assignment: Write about a time you were a bully or were bullied and make readers feel as if they are there, using lots of detail and some dialogue.
Sheila McLaughlin, "Kindergarten Revelation"
Writing the Portrait
McNamara creates a portrait of a fellow worker, based on observation and interview. The springboard assignment: Write a portrait of someone who has taught you something, for good or bad, using at least two interviews before writing. You can interview the person and/or others who know him or her. Be sure to make readers see and hear what that person is like.
Ed McNamara, "Pat"
Writing with Rhythm and Rhyme
Esposito took off in his notebook, composing entries based on sound. The springboard assignment: Give yourself permission to play with language as Deena Linett does in her "Experiment in Merriment" in Chapter 2.
Nicholas Esposito, "Word Play"
Writing from a Freelisting
Here a freelisting on Esposito's guide dog becomes a small "portrait." The springboard assignment: The freelisting exercise in Chapter 3.
Nicholas Esposito, "Guthrie"
Writing from a Line Starter
Here's a notebook entry by Nicole Gould that became a short essay. The springboard assignment: The line starter exercise "I remember....I don't remember" in Chapter 3.
Nicole Gould, "It's Funny the Things You Remember"
Writing from a Mapmaking Exercise
This short piece by Gould was developed from a drawing she made of her grandparents' house. The springboard assignment: Begin with the mapmaking exercise in Chapter 3.
Nicky Gould, "The Mapmaking Exercise"
Writing about a Name
Here's an example of two ways to write about a name: one factual, one lyrical. The springboard assignment: The name exercise in the Chapter 1.
Gabrielle Gozo, "Gabrielle in Two Parts"
Writing about Place
This essay captures a small Nevada town so that readers feel as if they know it. The springboard assignment: Write about a place, using the four-part exercise in Chapter 1.
Alia Michaels, "Wendover"
Writing about Travels
Here's an example of a road trip that is more than a travelogue of events. The springboard assignment: Write about a trip by using detail to establish a sense of place and a point of view.
Kelly Sundberg, "Take Me to the River"
Writing from a Life Summary
How do you summarize your life without turning it into a shopping list of facts? That was the challenge of this writing for Nicole Ross Rollender. The springboard assignment: Summarize your life in six pages and try to be interesting. Tip: Avoid a straight chronology of events.
Nicole Ross Rollender, "My Life in Six Pages"