Vignette: Writing In High School

Decent Essays
Upper school English teacher Ms. L.C. says her favorite smell is that of a melting popsicle in the summer. “I love the sweet fructose of the popsicle juice,” said L.C. “Especially the way it combines with the smell of the wooden stick.”

Such is the level of description that makes a/the vignette what it is. As part of Latin’s new-and-improved Lit Fest, last week L.C., along with fellow English teacher Ms. Barker, held a workshop to teach students more about this description-heavy style of writing.

“I wanted students to get a sense of what a vignette is and how to write one,” said L.C. when asked about the goal of the seminar. “It’s really a literary snapshot that draws readers in with sensory detail, which is new to a lot of kids. And it’s quick, often times only capturing a 10-second window.

A lot of students aren’t aware of
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also considers vignette writing a great exercise when it comes teaching students how to say a lot with few words.

“Vignettes are typically short pieces of writing,” said L.C. “The workshop hopefully got students thinking about the economy of language, and how to capture a vivid moment with limited words.”

After going around the room and asking students to describe their favorite sounds and smells — which included “the crack of a baseball on a bit,” and L.C.’s “sweet fructose of a popsicle”— Ms. Barker projected a clip from David Lynch’s “Lost Highway,” which encapsulates the function of a vignette in a nutshell.

“You’ll get it when you see it,” Barker said in response to some confused stares.

It’s the part where Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty) sees Renee (Patricia Arquette) at the auto repair shop, and can’t seem to take his eyes off of her and she steps into someone’s car.

“The key is that the scene slowed things down,” said Barker. “The interaction between the characters probably could have been 10 seconds long, but instead the director exploded the moment so that the viewers could feel the senses and emotions for
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