LESSON 2.6
Using an Example

The most important words for writing are For example.

When we talk, we usually use little stories to explain ourselves.

Let’s say you and your friends are talking about great Christmases. You say something like, “I remember the Christmas last year. …”  Then you tell about it. You are using an example.

Every great speaker uses examples. For example, Jesus told little stories called parables that explained His message. Those were examples.  

Examples are best when they focus on one day. Don’t try to include lots of days and events.

Telling about ONE day helps the audience feel like they’re there.  Like they are living it too. 

Task 2.6.1 Individual

Choose ONE day that shows how you felt in the second sentence you created.  You will now have something like this:

I loved Jackson, my golden retriever.  One day, he – 

OR

I have always had trouble talking in front of people. For example, I had to give a speech in Mr. Wyrick’s class. He teaches second grade here in Rawlings, Wyoming.

Limit the Number of People

One or two people is usually enough for a story.  Too many people make things hard to imagine.

Limit the Amount of Time

Have the example take place over a short time. That makes it easier for the reader to “see” it.

Remember, the example is best if it is ONE day long or, better, a few minutes. Do not summarize a bunch of examples.  Use ONE.

Task 2.6.2 – Individual

So far you should have something like this:

I had a problem with a talking dog.

I have always loved dogs. For example, I used to have a red lab named Rusty. One day, it – 

In one sentence, tell what the dog did or what happened to it.

Use Action Words

Including action words helps listeners feel they are in the scene.

Weak: There was a rattlesnake on a rock.

Better: A rattlesnake slithered hissing across the rock.

Task 2.6.3 – Individaul

Choose ONE day that shows how you felt in the second sentence you created in Task 2.  You will now have something like this:

I had a problem with a talking dog.

I have always loved dogs. For example, I used to have a red lab named Rusty. One day, he – 

Task 2.6.4 – Individual

Close your eyes. Relax.  Let yourself see what happened in the example. What things do you see? What do you hear?  What do you smell?  What kind of physical feelings do you have, such as something touching your skin? What kind of emotional feelings do you have? Exactly what actions take place?

Task 2.6.5 – Tandem

When you open your eyes, you, your teacher or parent, or your classmate will ask you questions, such as

  • What happened?
  • Where were you exactly?
  • What kind of weather was it?
  • How did you feel about what happened?
  • What did the people or animal look like exactly?

Write down the answers or have someone else do it.

The result will look like a grocery list. 

I loved Jackson, my golden retriever. He was crazy about catching Frisbees.  One day, it

Sunny, humid day

Field beside a farm. 

Old barn in the distance.

Guy up on a ladder.

Blue coveralls.

Windvane that looked like a rooster

Weathered wood

A neon sign on the barn said Holly’s Greenery.

In green. 

Frisbee hit the windvane.

Guy grabbed it.

“Hey, is this yours?”

Angry.

Jackson, front paws up on the barn, barking.

Guy must have been a professional Frisbee player or something.

Frisbee soared.

He threw it.

Went over the trees.

Jackson went chasing after it.

Evergreens.

I chased after Jackson.

Maybe because I always gave him dog treats for a great catch.

Freeway beyond the trees.

A motorist who stopped later said, “The Frisbee landed on top of a semi.”

Jackson knew not to run onto the freeway.

Maybe that’s why he ran onto the freeway.

The truck was running off with Jackson’s favorite toy!

Screeching brakes.

Honking.

A cement truck hit Jackson. 

I cried and cried.

We buried him in the backyard.

My dad and I made a cross out of 2x2s.

We had a little funeral.

 Just my mom and dad, my sister, and my best friend, Charlie.

And the guy from the barn.

He brought flowers.

Gladiolas, I think.

White.

I stood with my hands fisted at my sides.

Angry at the world.

Angry at God.

I vowed never to own another dog.

Task 2.6.6 – Individual

Put the grocery list information in order. Use numbers. If you want to add in more information or actions, then use a number plus a letter. For example:

I loved Jackson, my golden retriever. He was crazy about catching Frisbees.  One day, it

2 Sunny, humid day

1 Field beside a farm. 

3 Old barn in the distance.

4 Guy up on a ladder.

5 Blue coveralls.

3a Windvane that looked like a rooster

3b Weathered wood

3c A neon sign on the barn said Holly’s Greenery.

3d In green. 

6 Frisbee hit the windvane.

7 Guy grabbed it.

8 “Hey, is this yours?”

9 Angry.

10 Jackson, front paws up on the barn, barking.

10a Guy must have been a professional Frisbee player or something.

12 Frisbee soared.

11 He threw it.

14 Went over the trees.

13 Jackson went chasing after it.

14a Evergreens.

15 I chased after Jackson.

After intro sent 2 Maybe because I always gave him dog treats for a great catch.

16 Freeway beyond the trees.

17 A motorist who stopped later said, “The Frisbee landed on top of a semi.”

16a Jackson knew not to run onto the freeway.

19  Maybe that’s why he ran onto the freeway.

18 The truck was running off with Jackson’s favorite toy!

20  Screeching brakes.

21 Honking.

22 A cement truck hit Jackson. 

23 I cried and cried.

24 We buried him in the backyard.

25 My dad and I made a cross out of 2x2s.

26 We had a little funeral.

27 Just my mom and dad, my sister, and my best friend, Charlie.

28 And the guy from the barn.

29 He brought flowers.

30 Gladiolas, I think.

31 White.

32 I stood with my hands fisted at my sides.

33 Angry at the world.

34 Angry at God.

35 I vowed never to own another dog. 

Set the Main Character information aside.