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Blog for those who read and write stories, especially stories for young people
1. Fundamentals of Writing

I recently found a notebook with my pieces for a class I took in high school - Fundamentals of Writing, taught by Miss Pollina. She was a wonderful teacher.  The notebook contains several categories of writing.  Looking back, it is clear that each was designed to teach us something different.  They built upon one another.  The "Paragraph Developed from a Topic Sentence" helped us to learn the structure of a paragraph.  The "Paragraph Developed by Facts" started the process of backing up what we say with real information.  The contest entries taught us to write to specifications and deadline.  The descriptive essays created that awareness that you need to write a story, to create pictures in the mind for your readers.  Finally, she had us write something that would be our "Masterpiece."  This taught us to take pride in our writing and to find something that we were passionate about.

I can tell quite a bit about where I was in my life from reading this semester's worth of writing.  I yearned for a place to belong.  My family moved over Christmas break my junior year of high school.  I moved from a school of maybe 400 students to a school of 2,000. I know that my childhood was not that difficult.  Lots of kids have to make bigger adjustments or deal with real life and death crises.  Moving from one nice home to another isn't that bad in the big scheme of things.  But it was a big thing to me.  And writing helped me to find a way to deal with the fact that life is always changing.

Here is the Masterpiece of a seventeen year old girl, who wondered if she would ever find the place she wanted:  Do you see more here than the story of a town?

           Transition

Each day was much like another in the sleepy little town.  The farmers and businessmen were the sons of those of a decade before.  Families remained neighbors from generation to generation.  Life was not exciting,  but the people were happy.  Occasionally, a young person would leave to build a life of his own somewhere, but here, he would always be his father's son.

Like the people, the land was unchanging.  Although the farmers plowed the soil, they seemed to cooperate with it rather than tame it.  There were acres of woods left where squirrels and birds lived undisturbed, except for an occasional admirer.  Here, one could hear the sounds of nature with no interruptions from man.

Then the city began to infiltrate the countryside.  First, there were a a few nice homes built.  The people in them were not part of the community and did not want to be.  Soon outsiders came in numbers greater than ever before.  Traffic on the country roads became faster and thicker, until it became necessary to pave them.  The sounds of heavy machinery broke the silence as roads were built and lots cleared for houses.

A reservoir built nearby added unlimited appeal to tourists.  Store owners began to sell their shops to promoters who capitalized on the quaintness of the village.  One such promoter refurbished and reopened the opera house, which had been used as a feed store for more than one generation.

Vacation homes sprouted up as if some strange, very fertile seed had suddenly germinated.  With the rapid increase in population came the problems of the city.  Vandals destroyed property, and litter filled the roadsides.  Robberies and other crimes occurred more and more often.  Finally, it became necessary for the farmers to lock their doors and gates.

Gradually the appearance of the houses improved as the owners replaced makeshift buildings with the homes of their dreams.  Some of the farmers built better houses with the money obtained from the sale of property but most stayed in their old homes, where their working lives had been spent.  The outsiders now greatly outnumbered

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