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Ink Bandits

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.         ~Toni Morrison

Welcome to the Ink Bandits' page:) We are Westerly High School's creative writing group, a group who loves to write and constantly seeks ways through which to improve and push the boundaries of our craft.

Our workshops take place in Ms. Barnhart's room, Ward 226, every Monday from 2pm to 3pm. We're planning on taking some field trips or other writing-inspired adventures, so there are some outside opportunities as well.

Please join us any Monday or contact Ms. Barnhart for more information.

Group Announcements
Reasons Why We Joined Creative Writing--A List Poem
I like to write.
It's a deeper, richer form of expression.
I write too much and my head doesn't stop talking to me.
I'm trying to find a way to escape the reality that is life.
I want to escape the expectations of English honors and to write what I want.
Because rubrics destroy people's souls...
To find a conclusion to all the conclusionless ideas.
Writing Contest
Writing Contest--Positive Change
Click HERE for more details.
Interested in knowing more about dialogue??

Punctuating Dialogue

Dialogue is one of my favorite things to write, and I wish that my job as a technical writer offered more (or any) opportunities for writing it. In prose, dialogue can be a great way to get inside your characters. However, some writers find punctuating dialogue confusing: How do I use quotation marks? What is a dialogue tag? Where do the commas go? How come I see writers who don't even use quotation marks? Wait, is that an em dash?!

This article will both cover the basic ways to punctuate dialoge in American English and explore some of the less traditional methods. We will also talk about each method affects tone in your story. We will focus on dialogue in prose writing that is being spoken by characters in the story.

Let’s Start with the Basics

Dialogue or direct discourse is usually enclosed in quotation marks, either single like these: ‘__’, or double, like these: “__”. In American English, you are most likely to see the double quotation marks used to indicate a character or person speaking who is not the narrator.

Dialogue usually uses dialogue tags such as “she said,” “he screamed,” “they murmured,” etc. Dialogue tags are a subject and a verb that indicate who is speaking and the method of the speech (spoken/yelled/whispered). In most cases (unless a dialogue tag that indicates thought is used), material inside the quotation marks is considered spoken material.

I think the best way to explain it is to start with some examples of the different ways dialogue tags can be used.

Here is how to punctuate a sentence that starts with the dialogue tag:

Mary said, “Call me tomorrow.”


  • Comma before the opening quotation mark.
  • Capital letter to indicate the beginning of a sentence inside the opening quotation mark.
  • A period to end the quoted sentence.
  • Closing quotation mark.

What happens when the dialogue tag is placed at the end of the sentence?

“Call me tomorrow,” Mary said.


  • Capital letter to indicate the beginning of a sentence inside the opening quotation mark.
  • A comma to end the quoted sentence before the closing quotation mark that precedes the dialogue tag.
  • Dialogue tag at the end with a period to end the sentence.

Now see what happens when the dialogue tag is placed in the middle:

“Call me,” Mary said, “tomorrow.”


  • Capital letter to indicate the beginning of a sentence inside the opening quotation mark.
  • A comma to end the quoted sentence before the closing quotation mark that precedes the dialogue tag.
  • Comma before the second opening quotation mark.
  • Lower case letter to indicate the second piece of the quotation is still a part of the sentence that began in the first piece of the quotation.
  • A period to end the quoted sentence.
  • Closing quotation mark.

Now see what happens when the dialogue tag separates two sentences of quoted speech:

“Call me tomorrow,” Mary said. “Have a nice evening.”


  • Capital letter to indicate the beginning of a sentence inside the first opening quotation mark.
  • A comma to end the quoted sentence before the closing quotation mark that precedes the dialogue tag.
  • A period at the end of the sentence (and after the dialogue tag) to indicate that the sentence with the first piece of quoted material has ended.
  • Capital letter to indicate the beginning of a sentence inside the second opening quotation mark.
  • The second piece of quoted material appearing on the same line as the first to indicate that the same person/speaker said both pieces of quoted material, even though the second piece of quoted material does not have a dialogue tag.
  • A period to end the quoted sentence.
  • Closing quotation mark.

This is what happens if there is more than one sentence inside the quotations:

“Call me tomorrow. Have a nice evening,” Mary said.


  • Capital letter to indicate the beginning of a sentence inside the opening quotation mark.
  • A period to end the first quoted sentence.
  • Capital letter to indicate the beginning of the second sentence inside the quotation marks.
  • A comma to end the second quoted sentence before the closing quotation mark and before the dialogue tag.
  • A period at the end of the sentence (and after the dialogue tag) to indicate that the sentence that contains both sentences of quoted material has ended.

And…all of the above remains true even if you reverse the order of the dialogue tag from Mary said to said Mary.

Said Mary, “Call me tomorrow.”

“Call me tomorrow,” said Mary.

“Call me,” said Mary, “tomorrow.”

“Call me tomorrow,” said Mary. “Have a nice evening.”

“Call me tomorrow. Have a nice evening,” said Mary.

Let’s see what happens when we have multiple speakers:

“Call me tomorrow,” Mary said. “Have a nice evening.”

“Okay,” said Frank. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”


  • All the rules listed above are followed, plus
  • The quoted material of the second speaker starts on a new line as a new paragraph.

Next, let’s take away the dialogue tags:

“Call me tomorrow. Have a nice evening.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”


  • All the material inside the quotations is punctuated and capitalized like a normal sentence, but
  • The opening quotations appear before the first sentence and closing quotations after the last sentence.
  • The quoted material of the second speaker still starts on a new line as a new paragraph.

Also, new lines of dialogue are indented like any new paragraph. Let’s see how that looks by peppering in some longer lines of prose so that you can see the effect:

Mary was on her way to the grocery store when she saw Frank out in the front yard mowing his overgrown grass. He waved for her to come over because they needed to talk about the upcoming block party, but she didn’t have time just now.

“Call me tomorrow,” said Mary as she got into her car.

“Okay, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”


  • All rules are followed as noted above,
  • And each piece of quoted material starts as a new paragraph, indented and on a new line.

However, you don’t have to start Mary’s speech on a new line if you write her dialogue tag into a sentence in the first paragraph. Observe:

Mary was on her way to the grocery store when she saw Frank out in the front yard mowing his overgrown grass. He waved for her to come over because they needed to talk about the upcoming block party, but she didn’t have time just now. As she got into her car, Mary said, “Call me tomorrow.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”


  • As Mary speaks first, her quoted material does not have to start in a new paragraph, especially because her speech is relevant to the topic of the paragraph. Her dialogue tag is written into the description of the scene, so it’s entirely appropriate to write her dialogue into the first paragraph.
  • Frank’s dialogue, however, must start on a new line, indented as a new paragraph. You can also continue the new paragraph with more description. For example:

“Okay, I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” replied Frank as he bent to start the rusty mower.

Let’s Complicate Things

There are endless combinations that are now possible using the rules above. These combinations can change the tone and feel of the story. Once again, I turn to Noah Lukeman’s excellent book A Dash of Style for clues on how to manipulate quotations and other punctuation to elicit different moods when writing dialogue.

You can use dialogue to speed up the pace of your story:

Mary was on her way to the grocery store when she saw Frank out in the front yard mowing his overgrown grass. He waved for her to come over because they needed to talk about the upcoming block party, but she didn’t have time just now. As she got into her car, Mary said, “Call me tomorrow.”

“Wait!” Frank jogged over.

“I have to get going, Frank. We can chat tomorrow.”

“Well, I just wanted to ask you if we should get veggie burgers, too. I think we should have some options for the non-carnivores.”

“Of course. Sounds good. I have to run, but we can go over it all tomorrow on the phone.”

“Oh, and should we get gluten-free buns, too?”

“Uh, sure…Let’s talk tomorrow. Ok?”

“Ok. Later then.”



  • With few dialogue tags, the back and forth clip of Frank and Mary’s conversation speeds up the text from the long descriptive section to a quick exchange between the two characters that does as much to show their personalities as long lines of descriptive prose would have.
  • Dialogue tags get the section started, but as the dialogue gets going, the tags are no longer needed as the words of the characters allow the reader to infer the characters tone and mood easily without the wordiness of Mary said/Frank said.
  • The fact that a new paragraph is used for each line of dialogue draws the reader down the page at a rapid pace thus propelling the reader forward through the story. One would not want to read an entire story like this, but it can be a tool for speeding up long sections of prose.

You can use manipulate the dialogue tags to indicate subtle passages of time:

“Call me tomorrow,” said Mary.


“Call me,” Mary said. “Tomorrow.”


  • In the first example Mary clearly expresses when she would like to be called.
  • In the second example, putting the dialogue tag in the middle and punctuating each quoted piece as separate sentences indicates a slight pause between Mary’s directing Frank to call her and when she would actually like to be called. Mary says to call her, but then adds “Tomorrow” either as an afterthought or in order to emphasize that she does not want Frank to call her today.

You can use dialogue to add a sense of revelation or finality:

“Call me tomorrow,” Mary said.


Mary said, “Call me tomorrow.”


Mary said: “Call me tomorrow.”


  • In the first example Mary clearly expresses when she would like to be called in a way that is clear but not climactic.
  • In the second example, putting the dialogue tag at the beginning places extra emphasis on the quoted material as sort of a final point.
  • In the third example, the colon adds an even stronger sense of finality or emphasis on the quoted material. The differences are subtle but palpable.

Now, Let’s Throw the Rules Out

Writers, as you likely know, love to ignore the rules of punctuation and grammar when it suits them. I have read many, MANY books in which dialogue is presented without quotation marks (double or single), properly placed commas, paragraph breaks, or even dialogue tags. And that’s really just fine. Other languages—French, Spanish, Italian, and even British English have different ways of punctuating dialogue that I think many writers using American English emulate to create different effects in the tone. Let’s look at a few other ways of doing it.

How ‘bout an em dash for style?

Italian, French, and Spanish all utilize em dashes in dialogue, though not all in the same way necessarily.

With the dialogue tag, you can start and end with the em dash, or just start with it.

—Call me tomorrow,—Mary said.

—Call me tomorrow, Mary said.

Mary said,—Call me tomorrow.

Mary said—Call me tomorrow.—

Without dialogue tags, you can start and end with the em dash or just start with it.

—Call me tomorrow.—

—Call me tomorrow.

For longer sections of dialogue, em dashes can look nice at the beginning of each piece of speech. Again, using a new indented paragraph at each change of speaker keeps this looking neat and clean. For example:

Mary was on her way to the grocery store when she saw Frank out in the front yard mowing his overgrown grass. He waved for her to come over because they needed to talk about the upcoming block party, but she didn’t have time just now. As she got into her car, Mary said,—Call me tomorrow.

—Wait!—Frank jogged over.

—I have to get going, Frank. We can chat tomorrow.

—Well, I just wanted to ask you if we should get veggie burgers, too. I think we should have some options for the non-carnivores.

—Of course. Sounds good. I have to run, but we can go over it all tomorrow on the phone.

—Oh, and should we get gluten-free buns, too?

—Uh, sure…Let’s talk tomorrow. Ok?

—Ok. Later then.


You can choose to indent each time the speaker changes, or not. In the example above, I only used a closing em dash if the quoted material was followed by a dialogue tag, otherwise, I only used em dashes at the beginning of the spoken sections. I think this method has a nice clean look to it, and when reading the dialogue, the em dash creates a smooth transition between the prose parts and the dialogue parts while still creating separation.

You can also try using italics to denote both speech and thoughts:

You can try using italics for all spoken dialogue. In my opinion, I typically use italics for material that is thought (but not spoken) by the character and regular quotations marks or em dashes for spoken dialogue. However, it’s barely a rule, and so long as you are consistent and your reader can easily discern whether something is being thought or spoken, then you can use italics and/or quotation marks for both or either all in the same piece. Just be sure to use dialogue tags if there is a possibility your reader might not be able to tell what is thought and what it spoken by the character. Note that the material that Mary thinks is set off with a comma each time to create visual separation. Here’s a few examples:

“Call me tomorrow,” Mary said, Because I’m too tired to listen to you now.

“Call me tomorrow,” Mary said and then thought, “Because I’m too tired to listen to you now.”

Call me tomorrow, Mary said and then thought, Because I’m too tired to listen to you now.

And, you can write thoughts without either the italics or the quotation marks:

“Call me tomorrow,” Mary said and then thought, because I’m too tired to listen to you now.

And, finally, if you wish to be a total rebel, you can use Free Indirect Discourse:

Our esteemed Jon Gingerich wrote a great piece on the merits of using Free Indirect Discourse in your prose, so I won’t attempt to enumerate all the ways that you can use it—just go read his excellent article. According to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, indirect discourse paraphrases direct discourse and does not need quotation marks, italics, em dashes or any other such punctuation.

Mary told Frank to call her tomorrow.

Okay, he replied. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Note that the quoted material is written more as someone relaying the conversation later to a third party. The effect is that the quoted material may or may not be the person’s exact words. The effect of indirect discourse is that of adding an extra layer of distance between what the person actually said and how it was heard and then later repeated.

Free Indirect Discourse smooshes together spoken dialogue, unvoiced thoughts, and descriptive prose all together so that the effect is something like the reader being both inside the mind of the character but still being able to be objective and see through the lens of the omniscient third person narrator. The speech of another character can appear in the same line as the speech of the primary character and vice versa. According to Jon, “Free Indirect Discourse takes advantage of the biggest asset a first-person P.O.V. has (access) and combines it with the single best benefit of a third-person narrative (reliability).”

Let’s take a look.

Mary was on her way to the grocery store when she saw Frank out in the front yard mowing his overgrown grass. Oh no, she thought, I don’t have time right now for his ramblings. He waved for her to come over because they needed to talk about the upcoming block party. As she got into her car, Mary said, call me tomorrow.

But before she could close the door, Frank called, Wait! and jogged over. I have to get going, Frank, she said. We can chat tomorrow. She again attempted to close the car door, but he asked if they should get veggie burgers. For the non-carnivores, he said.

Even though there is a third-person narrator, and Mary is not the speaker, the effect of the free indirect discourse is that we hear her thoughts, her voice, and the voice of Frank through the lens of Mary’s perception.

How do I choose?

With so many options for ways to write dialogue, it can be confusing for a writer to pick one. My advice would be to use the method that best fits the tone of your work. For almost all prose writing, the classic quotation mark methods are appropriate and safe. If you want the dialogue to be clear but not clutter up your page with quotation marks, you might opt for em dashes. And if you want the dialogue to just be a part of the character's experience, try your hand at the free indirect discourse method. If you are consistent and deliberate with your choices, your reader will defer naturally to your authority and just go with it.

Share below if you have other ways to write dialogue. I know there have to be other methods.

Taylor Houston

Column by Taylor Houston

Taylor Houston is a genuine Word Nerd living in Portland, OR where she works as a technical writer and volunteers on the marketing committee for Wordstock, a local organization dedicated to writing education. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Spanish from Hamilton College and attended Penn State's MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. She has taught writing at all levels from middle school to college to adult, and she is the creator of Writer’s Cramp, a class for adults who just want to write!

Weekly Announcements: Ruth 10/27/14
Hello pumpkin heads! We had an excellent Creative Writing club today! We did a stream of consciousness poem (which was very fun and gave us some giggles), from which we made poems and stories.
Then we edited Tori's little love poem which made us all very happy.
We hope to see you all next week! Love you!!
P.S- There is a capricorn in the closet... keep them there.
Weekly Announcements: Ruth 10/20/14
Hello kittens! I hope that you all had an excellent day!
Today in creative writing we workshoped a piece of Shana's. It was really fun and we gave a lot of helpful feedback.
We also listened to a slam poem which was VERY interesting. Ask me (Ruth) if you would like the name to listen to it on your own.
Have a wonderful week! Byeeeee!
PS- I get it. You're scared of things with tails.
Weekly Announcements: Ruth 10/6/14
Hello young possums!! I hope none of you have been hit by a bus in these few days.
Today we workshopped Ms. Barnhart's and my (Ruth's) pieces. It was very nice to get some informative feedback.
If you want any of your pieces workshopped, bring them in next week and we will take a wack at it.
Have a good week!
<3- Ruth
P.S: The giant flying banana named Greg and Jamie are madly in love. We expect a happy announcement by the end of the month.
Weekly Announcements: Ruth and Jenn 9/22/14
Hello dearest kittens! I hope you all enjoyed creative writing today! We all picked a book from the bookshelf, wrote down the first line and created our own piece from there. We shared out-loud with the group and fan-girled over each other's pieces.
We hope to see you next week! Make sure you bring in a piece for the work shop.
Hugs and kisses~
Ruth and Jenn
​Ps- The monster under the bed is really an over active coffee mug. You're welcome <3
Weekly Announcements: Ruth 9/15/14
Greetings newbies and oldies! I'm really looking forward to this years creative writing club!!
Today we just talked about the basics about ourselves, such as why we like to write and our names.
I hope to see you all next week!! May the force be with you all! <3

Weekly Announcement- Ruth and Kitty 11-25-13
Hello there companions! Today we worked on Thanksgiving poems, and we join Ms. Barn hart in a throwback to her 90's days with her favorite song.

We made two lists: a positive column and a not so positive column. And from those lists will be making our poems!

For our assignment, you can finish you poems, and make sure to have an amazing Thanksgiving!

Have a lovely week, and remember, the turkey is hiding under the shoes. Remember, Ruth and Kitty love you! *hugs* :)
Weekly Announcement- Ruth and Kitty 10|28|13
 Derp. Herpaderp. Derpderp. Ruth has been craving Kitty flesh all day... should she be worried? owo
Anyways, we had a lovely time to day doing... circle writing!! :D Kitty was ecstatic, it's her favorite thing ever, right? Well, almost.. heh. It was a lot of fun! This weeks assignment is to take your story and to add onto it, or to tidy it up, or to finish it! :D
We love you! Have a derpy day, derpderp herpaderpderp doo! <3 The poems will be finished next wekk~
Weekly Announcement: by Jen and Ruth
  Hello lovelies! I hope that you all had a wonderful day. Today in creative writing was a bit hectic.

We went to the computer lab to type up a final draft of our poems but the website in which we got the origami book idea went wonky and thus we were able to have a bit of a lazy day as Ms. Barnhart resisted the urge to go crazy.

Luckily we were able to solve the problem and fix the layout, so our mission was accomplished! We will finish the poems next week!

Either next week or the week after we will be having circle writing so come if you can!

We hope to see you next week! Stay sweet and at all costs avoid the yellow dragons! They lie about cookies...
Weekly Announcement- Ruth, Jenn, Emma, and Kitty 10|7|13
 Yooooo, how's my little detectives? Keeping up those lovely cheekbones, I hope. 
This week we folded [much to our difficulty] little origami books and they're -adorable-. We planned out our rough drafts and planned out new poems for the books! :D
Keep writing, and checkout http://inkbandits.weebly.com/. It's a website Jenn made, isn't it amazing? So pretty and just WOW!
Feel free to join in on it and post stuff, we'd love to see it! <3
Ruth says she loves you all, and Kitty wishes she could hug you through the internets! Keep writing/planning for the books, and if you want write whatever! And shhh, you're thinking too loud. ;)
Weekly Announcement- Jenn and Meghan and Emma 9|30|13
Hello little padawans~ <3
This week we did a few minutes of free write and then co-workshopped our poems. ^^ That was really fun, and wow, you guys are amazingly talented! You blew me away. Seriously, keep it up!
Our assignment is to take our poems and select the best line, word, or phrase, and to build a new poem starting with that! c: And the do it again, using this new poem's best part~ Sounds like fun, right?
Have fun, and hugs to all of you! Thank to everyone who came, and we can't wait to see you next week! May the force be with you. ;)
Weekly Announcements: by Jenn and Kitty and Emma 9|23|13
FUS-RO-DAH!! Hey there, little adventurous spirits! How are you today?
On this fine [extremely hot but previously frozen] September day, we got to share some pieces of work that were AH-MAY-zing! No, really, you guys are so talented! We can't wait to read more from you. Such pretty words~
We also finished up by starting a new poem based on 'Blame it on Billy' by Kara Provost or by opening a book from the 'Nook and writing with the words froma random page. Those poems were to get us in a poet-y mood, since next week we'll be doing and revising poems for us. :) Who's excited? I AM. We'll be doing little books for Origami Poetry to [if you want] share around the school.
Thanks for coming! "It's sky above, voice within." PEACE BE WIT YOU KIDDOS.
Love yas, hugs from each of us! <3
Weekly Announcement- Ruth 9-16-13
 Hello all you knights! Today was a fun writing experience, though we were missing a few of our friends.

We wrote on our own for a bit, then shared out loud. Then, we were challenged to compose 25 word story. Though it was difficult, it was very enjoyable. You can check the tumblr (inkbandits.tumblr.com) for our favorite piece written by John.

I hope that you can all come next week! Goodbye! Hugs and love to you all!

PS- make sure to find the missing Kitty!
Welcome Back! Kitty, Ruth, and Jenn 9|9|13
 Hello companions! I hope that we gave you a good first impression. This week we all got acquantied and talked about what we wanted to this year in this club. Hello to all newcomers and we hope to see you next week. For now, we don't have any assignments, but feel free to write something to bring in! :) We always love to see what you have to show and bring in. Plus, seeing something you're proud of is always wonderful!

Now... don't forget to EXTERMINATE all those meanies out there! We love you forever~ And ever~ but not in a weird way. Hugs, Kitty, Ruth, and Jenn!

PS- Make sure to check out our tumblr for inspiring pictures, shoutouts, and to ask questions and all that. It is inkbandits.tumblr.com. Bye Bye!
Last Day of Ink Bandits:)
 I'm so looking forward to our last day of Ink Bandits with the seniors:) We will miss you!!!

Ms. B
Weekly Announcements: by Ruth and Kitty 4- 29
Hello young magicians and knights! <3
Today, Kitty is returned to you! She hath come back to the land of magical writingness. Also, our project today was to brainstorm for our piece in our collaborative book and to elaborate on certain story excerpts and explore them. Expand is a better word for it. Everyone had amazing pieces!
We can't wait to hear/see what you have for the book. Between 1-3 pieces of your work is what Ms.Barnhart would like. Are you excited? Kitty is!
We love you so much, thanks for stopping by, and please, if you ship Merlin and Arthur, LET KITTY AND RUTH KNOW. <3 We will devour you with luffs and feelings.
G'd afternoon, lovelies, and talk to you next time~
Weekly Announcements: by Ruth and Kitty 4-22
Hello all! Today we cut out pictures for out Haiku table at poetry night. Part of the Haiku's that we will be making will be about nature and the other half will be funny ones! We are all super excited and we hope that you will be able to make it!
Poetry night will be on Wednesday, April 23 at 6:30pm. Please come if you can!
Our Kitty is missing today, but we hope to see her next week! Hope you all have a good week! Ruth loves you!
Weekly Announcements: by Kitty 4-1
Hey y'all. ^^ Its Kitty. This week was good, we practiced with haikus and symbolism and spoke a little bit about the upcoming Poetry Night. Hope you're excitement!
This week's assignment is to revise your flash-writing piece and enforce the symbolism and touch ups within it. Have fun, and we'll see you next week~ Anyone else notice the :O Patricks all over the internet? o.e" They're EVERYWHERE. SOMEONE HELP POOR KITTY.
Photo #2
Photo #1
Weekly Announcement by Ruth and Kitty! 3-11-13
 Hello, all of my beautiful little writers! <3
This week we worked on flashbacks some more [Don't forget to post your elemental character one on the roleplay! {Scroll WAY down to the bottom for the link}] and we made some visual storytelling thingies to help with that, too. :)
There are some pics included here to show you how they worked!
The first one starts with a girl by a tree, asking Why? Then to a flashback of her and a boy playing beside the same tree in a different season. The last panel shows the girl looking back at the tree, finishing the three word question, one word per panel, as "Why can't I...?"
The second shows a girl and boy on a C, of the word 'could' and a little girl looking up at the two from the D. The second shows 'will' in a thought-bubble and the girl is growing wings and flying up to the two, in-love little people on the top letter, the W. The last panel shows the boy and the girl flying together around the H, of 'have' [as in could do, will do, have done] together at last. (These are posted above)
The assignment was to continue the roleplay flashbacks and think about your own personal flashy-backy-ness. :D Have fun! Here are some of the things we came up with concerning flashbacks:

- clarity
- transitions
- emotional moment
- knowledge that you need to know to understand the character better
- noslagic elements for readers connection
- depth

Goodbye! Kitty and Ruth love you very much, say hello to the Box of Tomatoes Fairy for us! :D 

Weekly Announcement- Ruth and Kitty 3-4-13
 Hey guys! :D Its Ruth and Kitty. This week we spent our time in the computer lab creating our little paragraphs in our roleplay. Our next assignment is to create a flashback post from some point in our character's past, as if it were from the charries' past or how they got into detention, or a fantasy/daydream, whatever you want! :3
Below is a little link to help with your flashbacks. :) And even more below, if you missed it, is a post explaining the whole roleplay thing. :3
The lunar turtles are displeased with our blinding sunlight. :( Anyone have some spare sunglasses?
Bye, catch ya later shellheads, Kitty & Ruth love you. <3
 Check out this blog on flashbacks!!!!


Weekly Announcements: by Ruth and Kitty 2-25
This week we created a roleplay! We embodied our elements and gave them human personas and personality traits. To enter the roleplay, scroll down this page for the discussion. You'll see it. :) Here are the instructions: [Kitty posted them on the page, too!]

Simple rules of a roleplay:
-Keep it PG13
-No god-modding [ie. Don't control other people's characters. Just your own.]
-Use complete sentences and correct grammar.
-Please use 3rd person narrative [ie. he, she, they]
-Use the Add Comment button to post, don't reply!
-If you're talking out of character [OOC] type these ((around)) what you're saying so we can tell the difference.
-Have fun!! :)

Simplistic Plotline:
Meeting in detention one day after school, our Elemental characters have been in trouble for some reason or another. In your first post, tell us about your character and what they're like, why they're in detention, and a little backstory on your character. Have fun! [Newer posts appear at the bottom of this page, and older ones towards the top. DON'T reply to other people's posts, just create a whole new one. An 'Add Comment' button should be right above this comment. Use that to add a comment to this roleplay.] Have funnn!

Weekly Announcements: by Ruth and Kitty 2-4-13
Hello my little LeStrauds! 'Tis Ruth and Kitty with the weekly announcement! This week we had a decent size group with wonderful people all around.


First we work shopped our dear friend Dana's fantastic poem. It was beautiful!

And then we did circle writing! Kitty was ecstatic! :3 We didn't get to go very far, or around the whole group, but we still got a lot of great work going! Nice job, everyone!

Well, next week we're going to workshop and take on element's personalities. How cool right?!

Well, we've to be off now, the violin is calling~ [If any of you got the two references in here- WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH!] Anyways, Kittyhugs and Ruthloves, ta-ta for now!
Remember, its T-I-double guh- er! 
Weekly Announcements: by Ruth and Kitty 12-17
Hello young padawans! How are you this fine day? This is Kitty and Ruth with the weekly announcements.

We had the Yankee Swap today, and it went -so- fun! Kitty opened the lumpy, intriguing package, to find a purple bouncy light-up ball. It was love at first sight. Everyone's presents went great, with the swirly straw glasses being stolen quite a bit. ;)

Sadly, Ruth and Kitty typed this announcement up already. But, the computer didn't save it all, and the hard work we had all done on the 'Yule; The Albino Goose' song was DESTROYED. Very, very sad, Kitty and Ruth tried to remember what they could [Kitty had just finished erasing the board when the computer said 'Error!'] and left some post-its for Ms. Barnhart. Can you help us? This week's assignment is a distress call for you guys to help us complete it. Please!
Note: We need the first verse (besides the first line) and the first line of the third verse (which starts with "Merry, Merry..." and the last word rhymes with joy, boy, toy, etc...)  

With love, Kitty and Ruth. <3
P.S- Do not shine any laser pointers at Kitty, or she will chase them viciously. Okay, well... BYE! :) 
Weekly Announcements: by Ruth and Kitty 12-10-12
Hello all who read this! Take group hugging seriously or we will disown you! No we won't... but still take it seriously! Okay, so today we had a good sized group, not to small but not to large, and we worked on a very fun project involving Kitty and Ferdinand!
Today, we worked on Kitty's children's book that she is working on. Her book is about Little Ferdinand, a goat. He can't seem to find a place to call home. The peacocks think he's not colorful enough. The penguins say he can't slide on the ice fast enough. And even the little boy pegasi say he can't fly. But Ferdinand meets Penny, an orange pegasus filly who gives Ferdinand the family he never had. Thanks for all your input! If you need to send me any ideas, just bring them to the next Ink Bandits meeting. :)
Oh, right, and it turns out that we made a mistake- the Yankee Swap is NEXT  week, not this one. So on 12-17-12, bring something under five bucks to give to someone as a present. It must be cheap and you should put a little thought into it, but nothing is really necessary. Have fun with it!
We love you, and can't wait to see you next time. Have a good day 'till we see you again, and Kitty just wants to say that the bananas and the Eiffel Tower aren't getting along again. Could someone please mediate for her? With love and hugs, <3 Ruth & Kitty <3

Weekly Announcements 12-3
HELLO ALL AND HELLO DECEMBER! (happy yelling). This is Kitty and Ruth with the weekly annulments! This week, Kitty brought two knew members! If you see Emma D. or Ryan C. [Mistah Collins] say hello and give them a doughnut!
This week, we work shopped each others writing that we brought in. It was very helpful for us [Ruth and Kitty] and we hope that it was helpful for you too. This was a ton of fun for all of us!

Alyssa- Thanks for checking in! Raggedy man, I remember you, and you are LATE for my wedding!

Next week is Yankee Swap week. Bring in something that costs less than 5 bucks and we'll find a cool way to swap it all around to random people! :)

Goodbye, Kitty and Ruth love you~ <3
PS: Kitty's writing a kid's book about Little Ferdinand the Goat. He's in the realm of the pegasi, where they have both literally and figuratively taken him under their wing. Unfortunately, though, Little Ferdinand isn't accepted by the Little Pegasi kidders, and he can't fly- any ideas/criticism/stuff like that is greatly, greatly appreciated. [ Here is a picture of Beat Poet Ferdinand! :)]
Weekly Announcements: by Ruth and Kitty 11-26
This week was a very calm week with a very small group. (Thanks to all of you for ditching! Just kidding, we still love you all!)
Today we went over our list poems that we created between last week and this week using out list from our tour and our brain noodles. Some of us did them in the first seven minutes and they all came out spectacularly! Several of us shared and we gave our opinons, it was exretremely funtastic! :)
The assignment this week is to come up with either a new or old or new-old piece of writing to bring in. It can be a paragraph, a poem, or whatever you want. Just be sure not to let it be too long! Haha, we can't wait to see what you bring in. Ms. Barnhart has an exciting project/activity for us to do, so don't forget!
Farewell for now, hugs and loves, remember that Kitty and Ruth are always ready with Ferdinand the Goat and a big bowl of spaghetti for you. [Do not mix up spaghetti noodles and brain noodles- it could be catastrophic.]
-Kitty & Ruth- :)
Weekly Announcements: by Ruth and Kitty 11-19
Exciting meeting today! We got a new member, took ourselves on a tour, and just had fun!

Our newest member, Dana, is fun and really creative/imaginative! Let's all give her a warm hello or wave if we see her- new friends can quickly become old besties!

Today, we took a little trip around looking for little oddities that we do not normally see. It was very interesting and odd. If you really look around, you can find very strange things around this place! [Kitty found a round brick lying around the back of the school.. There wasn't even a hole it had come from! Bricks aren't supposed to be round! And what was Kitty doing there, anyway? {The dark, back areas of school are no place for kitties} What did you find?]

Tonight's homework assignment is to make a list poem inspired by the things that you discovered. If you were not here, use your imagination! Think of something using your brain noodles! Have fun with it! Kitty is meowing at the computer to let you know about the turkeys- they are very, very offended! Stuffing does not mean that it should be stuffed literally! But in her own opinion it all tastes very good anyway.

Overall, it was a very very fun class! We can't wait to see you next week! BYE! Ruth and Kitty love you! Pura Vita! Hugs! :)
Weekly Announcements: by Ruth and Kitty 11-5-12
Hello all you perfect human beings! It's Ruth and Kitty with the weekly announcements! :)

This week we did group writing and it went amazingly! We sat in a circle and passed around our story and they all went great! --P.S- Ashley [or the girl with the donut story], Ruth has your story! How was the donut!?--This week our homework is to continue our stories and we will share them next week! YEAH! We all want to know which way these things went! 

Having a tun of fun this week, we can't wait to see what happens next week! The creative fireworks on paper can only be compared to nuclear bombs of rainbows! :) With that, we bid you a fond farewell, goodbye, and adieu. The superhero in the closet wants to know when his ransom is coming!

That's all for now! Bye~ :)
Weekly Announcements: by Ruth, Meghan, and John
Hi, its Ruth, Meghan, and John reporting to you not-so-live-but-virtually from Ms. Barnhart's classroom. :)

This week we went over favorite parts from our stories generated over the the past few days [or minutes] and shared our favorite sentences, phrases, or words. Lots of interesting and creative phrases were shared, stimulating our thinking noodles.

For the second half of our meeting, we got into little groups of 2 or 3 and talked about transitions and other writing techniques. This slid us into our task for next week.

Use dialog to incorporate the idea of 'eavesdropping' and a sub-idea to use could be transitioning practice. This is good for your very own noodles of thought, so go nuts! Be creative! Let the pencil fly. Sometimes I personally [Meghan] think that creativity lies in your hands, next to the pencil, where it flows to the paper, and not in our heads. How do you view creativity? Let your personal opinions and new ideas loose on eavesdropping.

Goodbye, and see you next week. Have fun for now, and can't wait to see you and your writing next week. And honestly, if it could save your life, why isn't chocolate more honored in society? :)
InkBandits- Week 3 Update! :D
Hello there, fellow Ink Bandits! This is Meghan here, updating you with the weekly progress. Ready? Let's go!

-First, we shared any writing we had created based upon the first assignment [the random words] and the most recent activity [the three picture selection]. We shared our thoughts about each other's writing and offered tips and constructive criticism, as well as good aspects we saw.

-We talked about other aspects of authors we had thought about, and like/disliked, for our own personal writing gain. Aspects like starting stories with letters was one tool we added to our mental toolboxes.

-We have a new activity! :D Get your thinking caps on, we're going to have some fun. Using the amazing 'Pocket Muse' Ms. Barnhart has, we flipped through the book looking for sentences that really spoke to our inner author. After some discussion and really cool quotes/ideas, we finally settled on the three sentences below. Use these sentences to start a story or idea flow of your choice. You can use one or two [or even all three! What a lovely challenge.] and in any order of your choice. Remember your favorite and least favorite techniques. Now is a good time to practice them! But a talent-testing, elbow-greasing, perfect-practicing challenge Ms. Barnhart gave us was to use 'is' [ie: 'was' 'were'] and 'to be' [ie: 'has been'] as little as possible. For example, I used 'had' a lot in my recent stories- so this is good practice. Here are your very special sentences. Make with them what you will!

-Mary emerged from the house, stunned by a blinding sun.

-The trees, broken off at their waists, lay over the yard, each naked branch encased in a sleeve of ice.

-The day felt both beautiful and awful.

With that, I gotta go! Good luck, have fun, and remember: Random ideas are good and bad for you. Despite the complete turn of events, sometimes a new spin can refresh or tire out your story quickly. Choose wisely- the pineapples in the fridge are very critical this time of year. ;D

Photo #3
Photo #2
10/1/12- Meeting #2
Hello again! Another fantastic Creative Writing meeting! Remember that assignment? It went well! Good for us! We all shared and gave feedback on each other's writing. Everyone did great! Ready for another assignment? OK! Posted, you will see three pictures. Pick one of them and write a story or a poem about it! Have Fun! :) 
Group Goals for 2012-13
We began with some inspiration. . .

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.  ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.  ~Elmore Leonard

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.  ~Norbet Platt

After discussing why we write and coming up with amazing insights like. . .

"Writing brings clarity."
"Writing calms the soul."
"If there's something on your mind, writing allows you to let it out."
"When I write I think maybe someone else will think 'Someone else out there feels like me!'"
"I write to remember."
"Writing allows you to take ideas from places and make them your own."
"I haven't found a book that communicates what I think, so I feel like I have to just do it myself."
"I try to make people not want to speed read, try to describe with rich, vibrant language that makes readers enjoy the writing."
"Writing, for me, is a meditation."

Some of our goals for the year are:

Improve our skills like. . .
  • practicing narrative transition techniques
  • exploring symbolism/metaphors/allusions to add depth to our writing
  • developing dialogue
  • building character development
  • focusing on diction (word choice) and when to use "fancy" vocabulary
  • writing from a loose plot
  • creating subplots
  • not dwelling on context/backstory and/or description

We're going to do this by. . .
  • using role playing to learn about character, dialogue, description, etc.
  • writing throughout the week
  • participating in writer's workshops
  • practicing critiques
  • on-demand quick-writes
  • studying our favorite authors
  • writing children's literature
  • collaborating on projects
  • writing to get published/in contests
  • revising to improve
  • using metaphors
  • and most importantly by having fun:)

This is only the beginning:)

Ms. B
Improvisational Poem
Today was our first day of Ink Bandits and we already have an assignment! Prepare yourself.
Our job is to create a piece of writing that incorporates at least ten of these words.

Arctic Monkeys
Ribbed White Tank Tops
My Art
Monster Trucks
Monsters Inc.
Cyber- Man
Star Wars
Light saber
Cereal Boxes
Discussion Topics
Blog Entry Ms. Barnhart: Elements "Role Play" Writing Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM Discuss
Wiki Ink Bandits Wiki: - Inspiration Cyber Canvas Posted: Monday, September 17, 2012
Podcast Ms. Barnhart: A Window into Ms. Barnhart's Classroom Posted: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 10:23 AM Discuss
Podcast Ms. Barnhart: Ethics: 1930s to Modern Times--A Visual Essay Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 3:34 PM Discuss
Blog Entry Ms. Barnhart: Tom Robinson Shooting--1935 and Today Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 9:01 AM Discuss
Group Files
 narrative voic3.ppt
Here's the setting-emotion-animal technique info!
Group Contacts
No "Group Contacts" exist(s)
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