The Rule of So What?

Today we are going to look at a piece of
Nancie’s writing that is just terrible. It’s
bad on so many levels. She believes we
could spend a week finding all the faults.
 But, we are reading this bad memoir
together today with ONE big idea in
mind: this draft doesn’t begin to answer
the most basic, most important questions
to be asked by ANY piece of writing:
I remember that when I was in fifth grade
I got really sick. My throat was raw, and
all my joints ached. The family doctor
said I had rheumatic fever.
I had to stay in bed for six months. I
couldn’t walk up or down stairs or even
go to the bathroom by myself.
When my dad came home from work at
night, he’d carry me downstairs so I
could watch television and be with the
rest of the family, then carry me back
upstairs for bedtime. Otherwise it was a
lonely, boring time. All I could do was
read. During the six months I had
rheumatic fever I practically ate books. I
made my poor mother go the library
almost every day for new ones.
Finally the doctor said I could go back to
school. It was one of the happiest days
of my life, even though I couldn’t run or
play sports for a long time.
 So
Nancie’s bout with rheumatic fever was
one of the big experiences of her
childhood, but in this draft she hasn’t
begun to get at the WHY…to discover
why it intrigued her enough to write
about it.
As it stands, that memoir is a description
of a string of events.
 We don’t know WHY Nancie is writing
about it. She hasn’t yet figured out the
reasons it stands out to her as a MEMOIRWORTHY EXPERIENCE.
EVERY time you write, there should be an
itch you are trying to scratch.
There should be something in the topic
that intrigues you for some reason,
whether you can name it or not, and
your job as the writer is to find out WHY.
Nancie needs to find and make a point
about this time in her life.
She needs to find her SO WHAT?
Tomorrow we will look at what Nancie
did with this bad memoir.
 Did she abandon it for a new topic that
she could find her SO WHAT?
 Did she feel a sense of purpose and
revise her writing to find her SO WHAT In
this piece?
 Come back tomorrow to find out!!!
 PART 2 of Bad Memoir will be shown. 
Please tape the following handout: The
Rule of SO WHAT? into your WNB.
Please follow along with me as I read.
Share 1 thing with the person next to you.
What have you learned from today’s

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