Writing to a prompt is a great way to exercise writing skills. Today’s prompt was inspired by a post I read recently on the British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts Blog, “How many horns does a unicorn have?”
Go to: to http://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2017/11/how-many-horns-does-a-unicorn-have.html. Read the article and enjoy the illustrations from medieval manuscripts ranging from the 1500’s to the 1600’s.
I found this article delightful and was both surprised and inspired to discover so much variety in the “unicorn species.”
Prompt: Use the writing process to write a description of a unicorn. Use some of the surprising details from the article, dream up your own.
Brainstorm a list of characteristics for your unicorn–both in appearance and nature. Throw down anything you think of. The list doesn’t commit you to using any of them.
Describe your unicorn.
Look back at your description.
Do you use any words that are kind of bland? Substitute in more specific words.
Are there places where a comparison might enhance your reader’s understanding? Use metaphors or similes to create vivid word picture’s in your reader’s mind.
Ready to share? Not yet. Once you have finished revising, proofread your description. Do you use uppercase letters at the beginnings of sentences? Do you use end punctuation at the end? (I often skip these when I’m doing a rough draft because my mind is so focussed on creating.) How about your grammar and punctuation? Remember, writing conventions help to make your writing more easily understood and therefore you communication more effective.
Share your description with your classmates, friends, or family. If they have also written a description, compliment them on the strengths of their writing. Encourage one another.
* Want to do this exercise with a pre-reader writer in order to improve their pre-literacy skills? Read the article to them and point out the pictures. Then ask them to imagine and describe their own unicorn. If you’d like, write their description down as they create it, then read it back aloud, pointing to each word as you pronounce it. This reinforced the one-to-one correspondence between the spoken word and words on the page.
Share your response in the comments box. If you share yours, I’ll share mine. Let’s encourage one another.