Tell one detailed, real story that focuses on a reaction. Do not summarize repeated experiences as one story using would. Instead, focus on specific scenes that make up the story and demonstrate your ability to use the four elements of narration (action, description, dialogue, and exposition). In the story, consider describing the setting and people. Also, provide dialogue when appropriate. IMPORTANT SUGGESTION: Consider beginning the story with the word “Once”.
NO: When I was a child, I would go hiking with my sister.
YES: Once, when I was ten years old, my sister and I hiked a new trail we discovered near a stream.
Identify a significant effect, influence, reaction (or lack of effect, lack of influence, lack of reaction). You may initially focus on an emotional reaction, a thought, and/or an action, behavior, or habit.
Ask why questions to move backwards in time until you determine the true cause of the effect, influence, or reaction. Keep in mind a cause may not be just one thing. It may be circumstances or conditions that function in a complicated way. For example, if you focus on the influence of a compliment, think about the way the compliment was delivered: via email, via whisper, via shout, in private, in public, over dinner, prior to a celebration, after a mistake, by a friend, by a stranger, by a respected teacher, by a parent, etc.
At this point, you should be able to identify the steps of the process. Draw a timeline that identifies the steps and labels cause(s), immediate reaction, short term impact, and possibly long term influence or lasting impression.
When you can explain the cause-effect sequence observable in your example, classify the relevant elements of the story. What type of person are you focusing on? What type of situation is represented in the story? What type of setting? What type of reaction?
Shift to the present tense to discuss the classified pattern but stay with past tense when discussing the example.
When I discovered the new trail, my imagination sparked images of potential magical discoveries because . . .
When young, curious children discover new paths, whether sidewalks, roads, or trails in the woods, they often imagine wonderful and magical discoveries that await them because . . .
Focus on additional stories or examples as possible and appropriate that directly connect to the explanation of the classified pattern. When readers perceive multiple examples, it is easier for them to comprehend the explanation and validate the claims presented by the writer.
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