Writing With an Engine

Here is a writing style tip that helps ESL students write well.

This style tip is about engines and comes from Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.

WRITING STORIES WITH QUESTIONS

Part 1

An engine is a source of energy that keeps something moving. In writing, the engine is a question which the reader finds interesting. Because the reader wants to know the answer, he or she will keep reading to the end.

What are some common questions that give stories an engine?

  • Who did it?
  • Guilty or not guilty?
  • Who will win the race?
  • Which man will she marry?
  • Will the hero escape or die?

Think about the movie 12 Years a Slave. What was the engine of that story?

Part 2

Read the story Thank You for Last Wednesday by CJ Gall.

  1. Summary the story.
  2. What is the engine of the story?
  3. Describe how the writer builds the story around the question?

Get the story here.

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