Making the Most of the Words You UseHave you ever opened up a dictionary and just starting reading it? (Oh, come on, I know I'm not the only one!) Well, if you haven't, you should go do that, right now, before you read any further. Okay, you're back. There are literally hundreds of thousands of words out there, and all of them are waiting for you to use them in your next literary masterpiece.
Now, you may be asking "So what?" Words are just words, right? So long as you get your point across, that's all that matters, right? After all, green is green, whether you call it olive or neon or sea-foam. Right? Right?
Wrong! Consider this scene: Abigail walked through the quiet garden. The hedges formed a maze for her to navigate.
It gets the point across, but doesn't paint much of a picture without context. It's kind of boring, and doesn't give you any details or reason for caring. By adding or changing a few words, you can turn this dry piece of toast into an enchanting seedcake of delight.
Using Colloquialisms: Are you down with it? Colloqualism: You down with it?Using Colloquialisms: Are you down with it?2 years ago in Deviant Events More Like This
A word or phrase that is not formal or literary and is used in ordinary or familiar conversation. synonyms: slang, idioms, patois, dialect.
Examples: whatcha, gotta, face on, ovver.
I’m sure you’ve had a good telling off by your teachers for using colloquial language inappropriately in your writing. I’ve had essays returned with the word “too informal” scrawled along the margin or a big red exclamation mark next to a certain word, who hasn’t? What just me? Oh right… my bad!
So WHY would we use colloquial language in our writing, after years of tackling the angry red pen?
I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its over – or a person by their accent – but it happens. You can tell us a lot about a character by the kind of language they use. Are they all gangsta, dropping hooded verbs
Readymades: Hallmarks of Lazy WritingReadymadesReadymades: Hallmarks of Lazy Writing2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
Hallmarks of Lazy Writing
ShadowedAcolyte here for projecteducate's Prose Basics Week. I decided to tackle "lazy writing" as a topic, because they always say "write what you know" and boy, do I know laziness. Then I realized there were dozens of ways to be a lazy writer, so I heroically narrowed the scope of my article down to one broad topic: readymades. After talking about what a "readymade" is, I'll explain why they should be avoided in writing prose*, and I'll finish with some tips to help you avoid using them yourself.
Before we go any further, I should note that the term is not a technical one. It is the word I was taught to use to identify a set of common problems with weak writing, so it's the word I use. I hope you'll find this article helpful, but it's not a textbook.
*I say "prose" because it's Prose Basics Week, but readymades infect poetry as well. If you're more a poet than a prose
PE Prose Basics: Pacing ( and Show vs. Tell)Hello, everyone! As you all know, this week over at projecteducate is Prose Basics. We're here to help all you prose writers (whether flash fiction, short stories, or novels) get better at your craft with some basic tips for growth. Today, I'm going to be talking about something you've probably heard about again and again: pacing.PE Prose Basics: Pacing ( and Show vs. Tell)2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
What is Pacing?
No, it's not what you do when you're stuck on a scene and need to get up and stretch those leg muscles to get your writing juices flowing. It's actually a very important ability that writers have to control the speed their story is read. You as the author get to manipulate the reader in a way and make the speed of the story match the scene. What better way to drop the reader right into the moment? But, pacing also holds the ability to make or break your story and keep or lose your reader's interest. This is why it's so important in writing.
Setting the Scene:
PE: ''Said'' and Effective Dialogue TagsI have horrifying news, everyone: I'm teaming up with Project Educate for Prose Week, so you inquisitive readers are about to fall victim to me and my terrible sense of humor. Today I'll be torturing you with a discourse on a subject of constant debate in the writing world: the word said. It's a simple word that encourages authors to write descriptively, but it's far from the only good choice when it comes to writing fluid dialogue.PE: ''Said'' and Effective Dialogue Tags2 years ago in Art Features More Like This
I'm going to be using the word dialogue tag often, so if you're unfamiliar with the word or just need a refresher, here's the definition:
Dialogue Tag—a phrase used in the same paragraph as a piece of dialogue, both (1) identifying the speaker and (2) using a verb to describe the speech. Examples of dialogue tags include Rose said, he begged, Adrian whispered, and she asked.
Get the picture? If so, great, and if not, you'd better Google it, because we're moving on.
Anything besides 'said' and 'ask
Hook, Line, and Sinker: How to Start Your StoryHook, Line, and Sinker: How to Start Your StoryHook, Line, and Sinker: How to Start Your Story2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
You have the story idea, a brief outline (or not), and enough motivation and/or preparation to place your fingers on the keyboard and think, Let's begin. But how does one, in fact, begin a story? How do you select the perfect scene to situate your reader without putting him to sleep? It's easy to become overwhelmed by the sea of possible beginnings before having typed a single word. This article provides a list of different ways to begin a story, long or short, pointing out their respective advantages and disadvantages. The right beginning can give you just the push you need to send you flying into the world of your characters.
A prologue is a scene or chapter that pertains to the story without featuring your protagonist at the present time. It might show your hero as a child; it might show your antagonist plotting to take over the world; it might show a
PE Prose Basics: Hear Me My Audience!!Hello everyone!PE Prose Basics: Hear Me My Audience!!2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
Throughout this week we will be discussing a variety of elements in prose writing and this topic is something which isn't just relevant to prose writers, but can be applied to all forms.
Imagine your piece of work is laid out on a stage for people to read. In the seats are the people who you want to read it- who are they? Can you see their faces, imagine their lives? Why have they been drawn to come see your work and read your story? What did you to to keep that audience sat down and interested in your work? Did you think about them when you wrote?
An audience is anyone who could potentially read your work. In writing, we talk about "target audience" and how understanding that audience can help shape the way you write. That intended audience could be specified by age, interests, personalities, cultural background, religion- anything! Of course you may gain readers outside of that target group, but considering your audience will involve your reader in the wr
Passive Voice vs Active VoiceHello everyone!Passive Voice vs Active Voice2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
You've probably already read some of this week's wonderful journals on audience and beginning a story, and you're also probably wondering what exciting topic I've brought for you today. I suppose I'll tell you instead of keeping you in the dark.
Passive Voice vs Active Voice
I can see you're all excited.
To begin this article, I'll start by defining exactly what passive and active voice are.
With active voice, the agent (the person or thing carrying out the action) is the subject:
Harry ate six shrimp at dinner.
John opened the door.
Sue changed the flat tire.
There are two different types of passive voice constructions. In
Formatting for the Interweb EraFormatting for the Interweb EraFormatting for the Interweb Era2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
Why worry about formatting once you've got your text looking pretty?
We've been introduced to why audience matters, but once you have an audience, you need to keep it, too. One of the easiest ways to lose your audience is to make it physically difficult for them to read your text.
Authors have had books printed for centuries in varying formats and sizes. If it mattered so much to the quality of the writing, publishers wouldn't take liberties from edition to edition. Much as you shouldn't underestimate the importance of good formatting, you shouldn't overestimate the need for frills, either.
Note: I'm going to reference "default" a bunch here. Mostly this means "don't touch it," or "unmodified." Let the viewer make any changes on their end. (For instance, the default font size on my desktop is 16px, versus 12px on my teeny low-resolution netbook. If you made me see 16 on both, or vic
Poetic Terms and TechniquesPoetic terms and techniquesPoetic Terms and Techniques2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
This article aims to give you a brief introduction to some poetic terms with which you can bemuse your friends and nonplus your enemies. Try and sling some of these terms into a casual conversation and watch the ensuing confusion.
If you don't want to confuse people, you could use these terms to discuss poetry like a badass
while smoking unfiltered cigarettes in a French cafe, when critiquing, or to give your own poetry a bit of a vajazzle.
These terms are arranged vaguely into alphabetical order for your convenience. Some of them will be covered in more detail in other articles throughout the week.
Alliteration (see also Sibilance)
Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds, often used for a specific effect in poetry.
the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
- - Wilfred Owen, ‘Anthem for Do
Poetry Basics: BrevityBrevity: n. the quality of expressing much in few words.Poetry Basics: Brevity2 years ago in Deviant Events More Like This
When I was in tenth grade, I took my first literature course. It was a six week exploration of poetry. The first poem my teacher showed us was Ezra Pound's In a Station of the Metro:
The apparition of faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
I, in all of my 16-year-old knowledge of the intricacies of what poetry is, informed my teacher that those two lines were not a poem.
"You don't think so?"
"No. They don't rhyme, they are just one metaphor, and did I mention they're only two lines?"
She sure showed me.
Importance in Poetry
Pound's poem is considered such a great work because he inserts several layers into a single image. Using only 13 words he evokes an entire painting within the reader's mind. You can hear the sounds of the trains, see the fatigue of a mother wrestling with her cranky toddler,
Defining and Redefining with GenreDefining and Redefining with Genre2 years ago in Deviant Events More Like This
Defining and Refining with Genre
So you want to write a story, eh? I assume you do since you’re reading this article, so let’s get going!
One of the first and (in my modest opinion) and most important things you need to begin is to know what genre you are going to base your wonderful tale in. Genre (in the literary form) is defined as a category of literary composition, and are often determined by technique, tone and content. There are many categories and sub-categories, and you need to decide which one (or ones) that you want to focus in. After all, this is going to set the tone and setting for everything that comes after. It will determine the characters and situations you will be working with, and even provide some rules you would do well to follow.
Are you going to write a horror story? Comedy? High fantasy? Possibly historical or non-fiction? Or maybe you want one of the numerous sub-genres such as Steampunk, noir, alternate history or themed cookbooks. Yo
All the Literature Educate! Updated 26/02All the Literature Educate!2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
Over the past few years, projecteducate has worked hard to provide educational articles for various art forms. Within literature, we've seen our fair share and over the past 2 years we've used our own group CRLiterature to manage these articles to ensure as much of the community can see them. However, sometimes we miss people and that's a shame because the articles we've written as a community have been pretty spectacular and still valid today.
So to help people pick up the articles they may have missed, here is a list of them all! This is a great chance for you to read what you may have missed, or tag your friends who may find them useful!
Most Recent First
Publishing Week: March 2015
COMING SOON! Make sure you watch CRLiterature & projecteducate for articles!
Lit Basics Week: July 2014
PE: Literature Basics SettingsLiterature Basics WeekPE: Literature Basics Settings1 year ago in Literature Features More Like This
Along with characters and plot, setting is one of the most important choices we make when we write. In the most basic terms, setting is where your literary work takes place. It's up to you, as the author, to use it and mold it to fit the needs of your writing, make it more than just a backdrop to your prose or poetry.
A good setting becomes like a character itself. It can be express moods, offer comfort or hindrance. The setting can even be the main antagonist - consider the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's The Shining, or the island in the 2000 Tom Hanks' film, Cast Away. In both of these examples, the protagonist(s) have to survive their surroundings, one mundane, the other ... less so.
Make Your Setting Work For You
Everything in your written work must be chosen for maximum effect. When deciding on your setting, decide what you want to accomplish with it. Here are some possibilities.
The Name GameThe Name GameThe Name Game2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Pitfalls to Avoid and Tricks to Use while Naming People and Places
We've all been there. You're reading a pretty interesting piece of fantasy fiction, and a few paragraphs in you learn that the main villain's name is "Abraxas the Cruel, Lord of the Black Tower." You wince at the unoriginality, close the deviation, and move on to something more interesting. We've all been on the other side of things, too, with a detailed plot outline in hand, staring at a Word document that displays only a single line: "???? knew what he had to do--kill the president." We're sure that once we get that protagonist's name down, that perfect name, we'll be able to write the whole thing in one gush of brilliance, but all that's coming to mind are banal names like "John Everyman" or over-the-top ones like "Staff Sergeant Max Fightmaster".*
*Yes, that is his rea
PE: Story Planning Week!Greetings everyone and welcome to another fun-packed week at projecteducate! This week has been teamed back up with CRLiterature and will be focussing on story planning!PE: Story Planning Week!2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
What do we mean by “story planning”?
Planning a story sounds like an easy task- even at primary school level you are taught that a story must have a beginning, a middle and an end. However there are plenty of important elements that build a story; a lot of prep work that can actually improve the quality of your novel writing in the long run. This can cover almost anything- from world building, character development, creating past history and plot mapping etc. There is a huge range of elements that can turn your idea into a strong well-structured novel.
Are you going to tell me how to write a novel?
Not exactly. We can’t tell you how to approach your novel and how to write it from chapter 1 through to the end. We’re not giv
Poetry Basics: EmotionsEmotions in poetryPoetry Basics: Emotions2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
Writing, at its very base, is communication. We write to communicate — with someone else, with ourselves — when we write, we arrange words in a manner that is intended to be read. This is very important because, no matter what or how you write, this one basic fact never changes. If you get stuck at any point, you can come back to this sturdy foundation. I am writing to communicate; what do I want to communicate?
Often, the answer is emotions: how you feel, or how you want your reader to feel. As Gregory Corso wrote, "You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!"
We all feel, but how we express our feels is a matter of perspective. If we are too flippant with our choice of words, our readers will think we are shallow. If we are too brooding and deliberate, our readers may find us incomprehensible. Finding a balance takes work and dedication.
But that work and dedication is what distinguishes
Be An Active Watchee We all want active watchers; people that comment on our deviations and add them to their favorites. That get involved in whatever projects we have going on, polls we post or anything else. Active watchers are awesome and we're lucky to have them. But are you an active watchee?Be An Active Watchee1 year ago in Art Features More Like This
Some people return watches, some people don't. However you do it, a big key to have active watchers for most of us is to be active in return! But what is an active watchee?
Being an active watchee isn't really that hard, it's just boils down to being involved with your watchers and being part of their deviantART experience too. They watched you for whatever reasons they did. Let it be your artwork, your community involvement, your bribery... whatever it is, they watched you for a reason, reasons we shall appreciate because we are respectable people after all! So without further babbling or .gifs,
5 Steps to Being an Active Watchee
1. Stay regular
Emotions in Writing and How to Portray ThemLit Basics WeekEmotions in Writing and How to Portray Them1 year ago in Personal More Like This
Wow, yes, emotions; they stir us, they sometimes rule us.
For your written world to come alive this critical element must be rightly imparted into your work. Your character’s emotional state is something that needs to be grasped in meaningful ways in order for a reader to begin caring about what is happening to them. Likewise, poets who write verses that do not express an emotional range will have lines that fall flat and lifeless on their intended readers.
Emotions are not one dimensional – each has a broad range of expression. For example, anger can be experienced anywhere from a mild annoyance, prompt bitter retorts, or become a barely-contained, seething cauldron; long before exploding into an unbridled rage. Often, intense feelings move through several stages all in one event.
Additionally, emotions seldom appear that are pure in their source; celebrated author and counselor H. Norman Wright, MFCC, CTS describes what mos
How to Stay Inspired and Focused on Your WritingLiterature Basics WeekHow to Stay Inspired and Focused on Your Writing1 year ago in Deviant Events More Like This
Our world is so full of noise and distraction. It’s no wonder “Walden” is a classic—Thoreau had time and quiet in which to write it! And plenty of inspiration from nature.
So how do we focus, as writers, on our craft? Even if it’s our passion, sometimes it takes a lot of effort to sit down and just write—especially if we struggle with attention or hyperactivity, whether diagnosed or not.
As someone who has studied both academic writing and reading in college and graduate school, and a veteran of National Poetry Writing Month for 7 years and National Novel Writing Month for one, I can attest that intentional writing, for fun or for a grade, is not easy to focus on, especially without a good writing environment.
So what to do? Many professional writers will tell you just one simple thing: write. James Patterson said, “The trick is making writing into a daily habit. Same time. Same place. Same hot beverage of choice.
Poetry Basics Week - Assonance and ConsonanceThese two rhetoric figures are the classic examples of writing techniques that are as easy to employ as they are to be overdone and make what you're writing feel awful, like you're trying too hard.Poetry Basics Week - Assonance and Consonance2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
What they mean is sort of obvious from the name, and that's your first help: unlike other rhetoric devices, they're as simple as the name sounds.
Consonance is the repetition of the same consonant sound in a sentence, verse or stanza. Assonance, similarly, is the repetition of a vowel sound in a short sequence.
You probably read or heard both of them a lot! Either in ads or Literature or songs, assonance and consonance are a very helpful trick. The similarity of sound that they create makes what you're reading or listening (mind you – that's the effect they have when used correctly) be fluid, it gives it a rhythm of its own and even its own "mood".
When it's overdone, on the other hand, it will make everything feel forced and put there just to have
Songwriting: The BasicsSongwriting: The BasicsSongwriting: The Basics2 years ago in Art Features More Like This
Because there is no way to submit audio files to deviantArt, songwriting and composing are art forms that are somewhat left out on dA. However, since there is a category for songs and lyrics, the art of creating songs has not been completely overlooked. In this article, I will cover the basics of songwriting, such as the elements of a song, hooks, and song structure, as well as share my own writing process. I’ve also included a feature of my favourite musical pieces on dA.
Elements of a Song
According to most books about songwriting, a song is made up of three things: the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm. If we are talking about popular genres, such as rock, pop, or country, I also like to include the lyrics as part of the elements.
If we consider a pop song (or a song in another non-instrumental genre), the melody would be what the person is singing. When you are humming along, you are singing the melody. The harmony,
How To get PublishedOr be Satisfied when You Aren'tHow To get Published2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
A Beginner's Guide
Poetry publication is awash with literary magazines, internet journals, print-on-demand presses, vanity presses, indie presses, and major publication houses. So many options! It's a lot to navigate. But before we delve into the 'How-To's,' it's important to understand the 'Why.'
I'm talking about the the Big Why, the biggest WHY after 'Why write poetry?' Which is, of course, 'Why are you publishing your poetry?'
"BECAUSE!" I hear you shouting.
But that's not the best answer. You'll be happier, or at least more content with the results of the following advice if you understand your motivations behind the urge to publish. What specifically do you hope to achieve?
How to Succeed in Poetry Without Really Trying
If, for example, you want your poems out in the world, in a place people might read them; if you want to be able to say that you're a published poet; if you're not feeling great a
PE: How to Advertise CommissionsHow to: Advertise CommissionsPE: How to Advertise Commissions2 years ago in Art Features More Like This
Many deviants offer commissions, but how do you effectively advertise them? This article will go over some methods for maximizing the exposure on your commissions so that they can be as successful as possible.
This is the one method I cannot stress enough. Commission Widgets are one of the most effective ways to advertise your commissions because they not only feature your commissions on your profile page, but also add them to the searchable database of dA's Commission Page. Numerous deviants use the Commission Page to find artists to hire, so it is a smart idea to add yourself to the database.
However, simply slapping a commission widget onto your page is not enough. You need to make your commissions as appealing as possible through the following steps:
Commission Examples: The Commission Widget allows you to display several examples of your artwork,
How To Be A Productive WriterHow To Be A Productive WriterHow To Be A Productive Writer1 year ago in Literature Features More Like This
You know the type: the writer who submits something new everyday, who floods your inbox with new poems and prose pieces that they somehow had time to write since the last time you logged in to dA. How do they do it? Are there more than 24 hours in their day? Do they have chunks of spare time that you don't? Super discipline? Magic powers?
It may seem like a strange and mystical phenomenon, but believe it or not, that person is probably just as busy as you are. Even more unbelievable: you can become that person, too. It doesn't take magic powers or a high tolerance to lack of sleep or loads of spare time, but it does take discipline. Ready? Okay.
Actually, not quite ready yet. You know when you're really on a roll, when you're writing and writing and suddenly... you stop to check Facebook? Yeah. Whether it be Facebook or email or the refrigerator or deviantART, we want to get rid of distractions. Move to a distraction-free ar