The trick to anecdotes is to gather some details. Start with the 5ws–who, what, when, where and why. Myself, five students and a cat. A writing workshop. One recent morning. In a house on a bookshelf. It fell off because it went to sleep and slid off.Next, gather the sensory details to try to re-create the scene or setting. What did we see, hear, smell, feel, touch or sense? I didn’t see it fall since it was lying behind me. I heard a soft thud. I heard the students’ exclamation of surprise. I felt surprised. I didn’t touch or smell anything.Now put these together. I find it helps to start by the “where” and then put yourself into the picture as well. Standing by the window? Sitting on the grass? Where were you when this event happened–for point of view. Remember, I was sitting in front of the cat. My students watched it happen.Here’s how I would write an anecdote about this moment. It took me a couple attempts. I wrote it out, then took out words I didn’t need or want, moved sentences around, shortened some sentences, added a phrase to another. I read it aloud each time. I tried to vary sentence lengths between short and long, sticking more with the shorter sentences. I tried to think of this little moment visually–what it would have looked like as a piece of video. I tried to start as close to the peak of the action as possible and still have the event make sense with some background.