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chapter 3.1 Subjects: Your Writing

Recall an experience from your past (for instance, meeting someone important to you, leaving home, an accident, a surprise, or an adventure). Concentrate on just one incident. Picture yourself as you were then, and try to remember how you felt. Recall the people and things around you, the smells, the sounds, the weather, and so on. On scrap paper, jot notes and freewrite, getting down all that you can remember about that experience.

  1. Arrange what you've written into the first few sentences of a paragraph, selecting the details you think are most important. Use the word I at least three times in your story. For example, your paragraph might start like this:

    When I was ten, I met my grandparents from Italy for the first time. I was so excited and scared about their coming that I could hardly eat for a week in advance. . .
  2. Now imagine that someone else is telling this same story about you. Cross out I wherever you've used it, and write in either your name or he or she. Make any other changes necessary for the story to sound as if someone else is telling it. For example:

    When I Monica was ten, I she met my her grandparents from Italy for the first time. I She was so excited and scared about their coming that I she could hardly eat for a week in advance. . .
Many of the words that you cross out and change will be subjects.

If your teacher or study group would like you to develop this exercise into a longer narrative paragraph, please revise it double-spaced on a fresh piece of paper, a word processor, or a class bulletin board.

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