Saturday, 18 December 2010

An Idiomatic Story: Defeating Writer's Block!

Walking along the deserted road in the gloomy fog, the lonely figure made its way wearily towards the village in the distance. He hadn't eaten or drunk for days and he was feeling undernourished and parched. What would he find up ahead? His thoughts lingered as he trudged slowly towards the looming houses.

Having lost everything he owed on the horses a few days before, he knew he would have to start from square one again. He was in the red, he knew it. He had blown everything on one last crazy gamble. He knew people would say he had lost his marbles, but he didn't give two hoots about them.

He came within sight of the main square of the tiny village. It was time to take the bull by the horns.....

Image above found on google search imagesbykids

Can you match the meanings below with the idioms highlighted in the story above?

What happened next???

I wrote this little paragraph a while ago, but for some reason I didn't publish it immediately. Then the days passed and I lost my inspiration, work took over and I realised that the reason was I didn't really have a title that grabbed MY attention. The original title was "An Idiomatic Story". The title was just so uninspiring, and that very fact was hindering my progress in a way.

Then today via Twitter I vaguely tweeted the following:"Still no inspiration for a blog post. I need to think of a title first. No title, no blog post! Usually full of titles, but not today!"

I received the following tweet by @becluwlib saying " Maybe 'overcoming writer's block's' would be a good title. :)". I replied "Yes, thanks! That's a good one - I think I'll just give myself a little bit more time :)". Well, the time has come now, and I have incorporated part of the advice in the title for this post, so many thanks indeed to Cari Teske from Conrad IA!

Again, the power of Twitter is amazing. So, I now have a blog post with a slightly offbeat title, which I am happy to publish. The challenge I had originally set myself was to create a short idiomatic story from a picture prompt. This is in preparation for my presentation at IATEFL Brighton 2011, which is on the theme of "Teaching Idioms".

The inspiration to challenge myself to writing an idiomatic story came from "Every Photo Tells a Story" blog. It's a fantastic source of images and a great resource for teachers. I really like it!


Leahn said...

Hi Janet,

I really like the way you've introduced the idioms in a story. Nice touch.. I may just borrow your idea if you don't mind!



Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Leahn

Please go ahead! It's fab if I have inspired you to do the same.

It's a technique I often use with my students as a revision of idioms / phrasals learned, so I thought I'd get myself to do the same! ie "Right, I'd like you to create a story using "X" amount of idioms (Magic 5 usually works well). You have 5-10 minutes to do it!!"

The students always end up producing fantastic and sometimes far-fetched stories, which are then read out / shared amongst the groups. It always works a treat!

Sometimes the results are better when actually done in class, rather than for homework. The excitement of having to read out their freshly created stories gets the adrenalin going.

You will have to monitor for any serious errors of idiomatic usage, but if they have been drilled / practised thoroughly beforehand , that shouldn't be a problem at the reviewing / recycling stage.

Hope this helps.