Descriptive Narrative Writing: The Phantom’s Lair


In our Writer’s Notebooks this week, we played around with writing our own descriptions of the Phantom’s lair.  Drawing upon the noticings and author’s craft lessons from previous units, we each worked to develop a description of the lair that created a strong mood.

Students had full creative license here:  their description could reflect any characterization of the Phantom they wanted to work with. Was the Phantom evil, lonely, dangerous, pathetic, mysterious, depressed, romantic, bitter…?  The choice was up to the writer.

Each worked to create that chosen mood through a variety of means:

  • choice of details to include and emphasize
  • use of imagery and figurative language
  • use of devices such as repetition and magic three
  • variety in sentence structure, such as the use of fragments or questions to create tension
  • choices in paragraphing, such as the use of a dramatic one-sentence paragraph
  • use of movement in the scene as opposed to description of a static space (the “narrative” part of the descriptive-narrative composition)

Enjoy the work of the following writers.  What do YOU notice about the choices each made?





James D.








Katelyn (who wrote her post as a poem!)

For some of our thinking about theme and  Phantom of the Opera, check out our responses to a question about compassion.

Image credit:  Pixabay CC0

The 100 Word Challenge

A few days ago, I was visiting another seventh grade class via Twitter.  Mrs. Middleton, an English teacher in Canada, had tweeted that several of her students had received recognition for their creative writing in the 100 word challenge at I checked it out, and I think we should participate!

Think of it as regular exercise for your descriptive writing muscles.  The challenge is all about imagery:  using vivid details that appeal to the senses of sight, sound, sensation, smell, and taste to create an experience for the reader.

The prompt for this week is “slowly the sky got darker.”  That’s it.  Just a handful of words to spark your imagination, and then you do the rest!  You can read the prompt post and see student submissions hereWill you be adding yours to the list?

The first step is to publish your post to your blog.  Then you can also add your post to the list of 100 Word Challenge submissions.  If you do, your blog will likely get visitors from around the globe, your writing will receive feedback from readers, and perhaps your entry will be chosen as one of the student spotlight posts for the week.  When entering your submission, be sure to link your POST URL, not your blog url.  You are not submitting your whole blog for review.

As you write, watch the word count at the bottom of your post box.  The word count for this post is about 250.  What can you do with 100 words?