The Writing ProcessWhat is the Writing Process?
Many of us learned that the writing process is made up of five parts: Pre-writing, Writing, Revision, Editing, and Publishing. Indeed, this process has been so ingrained, and the vocabulary and terms have become such a part of our education, that some students (and adults) feel as if writing is a formulaic, rigid thingnot unlike learning mathematicsthat they simply never excelled in. Fortunately, this simply isn't true. While the five basic steps of the writing process are effective, they can only be effective if the people using the process understand the purpose of each step.
Experience has shown that many students do not know the purpose of drafting beyond a certain, vague understanding that you're supposed to "correct" or "fix" something for each new draft. Its unfortunate, but its also been shown that students who are forced to Pre-Write in certain ways, even when they have been
Active and Passive VoiceActive and Passive Voice11 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Active voice occurs when the subject or agent in the sentence performs the action, often towards an object. For example, let's look at the following sentence written in active voice:
Katie spilled the milk.
In this sentence, Katie is the subject, and she performs the action (spilling) on the direct object (the milk.) The most obvious way to spot active voice is through the use of active verbs, which are simply verbs that express actions. In most cases, the sentence will take on the simple form of the tense it's in, whether past, present, or future.
In passive voice, the object being acted upon is emphasized over the agent. A passive version of the previous sentence would look like this:
The milk was spilled by Katie.
In this sentence, our object (the milk) appears before the action (was spilled) and the agent (Katie.) You will also notice that this sentence is in the progressive fo
Write Better: Read MoreWe didn't believe it, either, but you really can learn a lot from reading a book! If you've ever wanted some worthwhile advice from someone other than your high school English teacher, this is the place to look. The authors below are experts in their fields, well-respected and admired by accomplished writers from all over the world, and we're bringing you a list of their most prized and collectively-effective books. (Tried-and-tested by our worthy administrators, no less!)Write Better: Read More7 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
So what're you waiting for? Learn how to make every word count!
Reading Resource List for the Aspiring Writer
Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques (Jim Burke)
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (Roy Peter Clark)
Writing without Teachers (Peter Elbow)
Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process (Peter Elbow)
Showing, Part OneShowing, Part One11 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
If you've ever taken a class in creative writing, you've no doubt heard the teacher repeat the phrase, "Show, don't tell" over and over again. While there are few hardest rules in creative writing, this persistent little mantra might be the ultimate. Teachers and writers who write about writing spout it out all the time, but what does it mean anyway? After, isn't all writing really "telling" on some level?
It's best to view "showing" not as a single technique, but a summation of the most effective writing techniques. If we know anything about poetry, it's that the best poetry usually conjures specific and concrete images. Beyond language itself, images are the meat and bones of poetry. So goes most of prose as well. The prose writer has the added duty of creating situations and characters that seem real and believable.
Showing invites the reader into the world of out poem and story. If the reader can see, smell, taste, and feel the world through our writing, the reader is more
Editorial - ClicheEditorial - Cliche11 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Cli·ché (klee-shay) also cliche (kl-sh) n.
1.) A trite or overused expression or idea: ?Even while the phrase was degenerating to cliché in ordinary public use... scholars were giving it increasing attention? (Anthony Brandt).
2.) A person or character whose behavior is predictable or superficial: ?There is a young explorer... who turns out not to be quite the cliche expected? (John Crowley).
(source: http://www.dictionary.com/ )
It's not something pleasant to hear, or pleasant to say.
But what's to be done, when you find it one day
in a pile of mismatched lines like a stack of hay?
They aren't hard to spot, like white backgrounds
and black dots. You'll know what I mean, in
a minute or two, but cliché phrases and ideas
will be the death of you.
What does a word or phrase need to do in order to become cliché?
There is no patented test that words must go through nor a physical examinat
Writing tutorialSo you wanna write huh? You got your pen/ keyboard ready? well slow down there because the first rule of writing is to think.Writing tutorial9 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Well screw that the first rule is to have inspiration, you need inspiration? Sit down at your tv watch your favourite tv show/movie or go read your favourite book, try and figure out why you like such and such genre and what parts you like about it. Yes it's copying but that's what writing is about, it's about taking things you like and putting them into your own plot. Ever heard of the book "A hero with a thousand faces?" there are only so many plots out there what's important is to mould it into your own creation. However this doesn't mean you write a book called Mayor of the Bracelets and set it in Higherearth -_- you need to use your imagination! and take this hint, often made up names of places and cities sound stupid, look at an atlas or handy dandy ancient name list and mould it into your own. Always always mould! You can find inspiration in even the smal
A Writing TutorialSo, you want to try to write something?A Writing Tutorial6 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Writing is an art that takes a lot of time and patience if one wishes to become successful in the literary arts. With this tutorial, I hope to help you understand the basics of writing so that you too will be able to write stories that capture the attention of your audience. Let us begin.
Know what you want to write
Let's start with the basics of coming up with an idea to write for a story. Now, if one does not know where to start, that is not a big deal. Even for the newest writer, one can get a random thought that could transform into a brilliant idea in the blink of an eye. All it takes is inspiration; that spark that makes you, the writer, get up and take a pen and paper or a keyboard and start to write down your ideas. Where would one look for inspiration though? That is quite easy actually. Almost ANYTHING could provide some sort of inspiration, b
Punctuation BasicsPunctuation Basics7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing is like math. If you dont follow the right formula, you end up in a state of mass confusion. Synonymously, punctuation is like following a map. If you miss the street signs, youll end up completely lost. The following is a list of common English punctuation marks and their most basic functions. Contrary to popular belief, there are no exceptions to these rules. Breaking them has never been in style.
The most common English punctuation marks include the following:
. = period
? = question mark
! = exclamation point
, = comma
= quotation marks
; = semicolon
: = colon
- = hyphen
( ) = parentheses
. . . = ellipse
Wow, thats a lot of symbols! So, how do you use them as you write? Here's a quick and dirty list.
1) Every sentence must end in a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
2) A comma signifies a pause, distinguishes betw
Punctuating Poetry Part OneSome people believe poetry shouldn't be punctuated and others are still taught to put a comma after every new line. So where is the balance? What does one - especially one new or growing in poetry - do? Well, that's simple: a poet must punctuate with purpose!Punctuating Poetry Part One6 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
In order to punctuate with purpose, however, a poet must understand two things: what she wants to achieve with the poem and what a piece of punctuation can achieve in a poem. This means a poet must understand more than the common rules of punctuation; she must know the effect that certain punctuation points can have on a reader or in a text.
This overview tackles punctuation in poetry from a practical standpoint, but it's important to note that while there are "rules" for punctuation, and while there are even some "rules" for poetry, there are no set-in-stone conventional rules for punctuation in poetry. There are schools of thought, and linguistic philosophy runs amuck, but there is nothing definit
Writing Tips - OrganisationWriting Tips - Organisation5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing Without Confusing Yourself (Or Your Readers)
Writing is a very personal, individual undertaking. Everybody approaches the activity a bit differently from the next guy. Some people can come up with concept, plot, characters, and everything else and just sit down and write. Others need to take time to figure out what's going on; what's going to happen in the story, and how it all fits together. Others still will find themselves getting stuck somewhere along the middle, losing track of everything or changing an idea mid-way through, or never know how to end. These are the people for whom this has been put together. Those of you who can barrel through a story overnight are still welcome to look, though.
There are different ways in which a writer can and will get stuck on any given piece. Motivation, immediate environment, too few (or too many) ideas available, lack of organisation; the list goes on, but life is short and I am lazy. The sticking point that we're going
Punctuating Dialogue: A GuideStandard Punctuation: DialoguePunctuating Dialogue: A Guide7 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Sometimes we read dialogue so often, punctuated in so many different ways, that we either forget what we've learned (if that was anything memorable to begin with) or we rely on instinct to guide us. A common example of this can be seen in the opening dialogue of darksouldream's piece, Bobby:
No, replied Cindy `I think his sister Becky is staying with her, but she keeps muttering about parents out living children. The doctors been keeping her pretty sedated.
Most Americans will cringe at this. Why? Well, double quotation marks are the more acceptable usage (the "traditional convention") in American Standard English. However, in British Standard English, both the double quotation mark and single quotation mark are used. What's the rule? Stylis
Lesson 2 - More MeterQUOTE OF THE DAYLesson 2 - More Meter8 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
"A poet who makes use of a worse word instead of a better, because the former fits the rhyme or the measure, though it weakens the sense, is like a jeweler, who cuts a diamond into a brilliant, and diminishes the weight to make it shine more."
- Horace Walpole
While every metrical poem will have a base meter to serve as its backbone, many poets often find that writing in ten-syllable iambic sentences, for example, is too limiting for their purposes, either because pure meter doesn't provide enough variation for proper emphasis or because it quickly gets dull and tedious, or a combination of the two.
You might have noticed this limitation when you wrote your blank verse in the last lesson. Often it occurs that there is something you want to say that simply will not work in your base meter, that you have to sound like Yoda to get your words into the proper meter, or that you feel that a different foot "feels right" in a certain place. &
Wrath of the Grammar NaziIn favor of avoiding parallel structure debates (misplaced modifiers, ahh!) and a general crusade against passive voice, WordCount is offering a list of common "pet peeves" to satisfy the punctuation junkie in all of you.Wrath of the Grammar Nazi8 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Please understand that this list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it original, but it warrants saying from time to time. Nothing in here is meant to insult you, all rules can be broken, and there are always exceptions. One should also note that rules about comma usage and "the dash" differ from place to place and country to country, but this list falls back on Oxford's guide to style (because we all need a place to start).
1. Apostrophes are not there to make words look pretty. They do have an actual purpose (namely to indicate contractions or possession);
2. Semicolons connect two related thoughts while simultaneously separating two complete thoughts (or objects in a list);
3. "A lot" and "all right" are not words. They are
Lesson 1 - Basics of MeterQUOTE OF THE DAYLesson 1 - Basics of Meter8 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
"Life is tons of discipline. Your first discipline is your vocabulary; then your grammar and your punctuation. Then, in your exuberance and bounding energy you say you're going to add to that. Then you add rhyme and meter. And your delight is in that power."
- Robert Frost
As Robert Frost is saying, meter and rhyme are not the most important parts of writing. They are the most intricate when creating poetry, but poems can be written without them. I began my poetry with free verse, and gradually became more and more fixed as I went on to learn more about how meter affects the poem, and how rhyme, alliteration, assonance, and the like also affect the reader's experience with a piece of poetry. And my free verse is all the better for it. Even if you never write another fixed poem after finishing this course, an intricate understanding of the rules of conventional poe
Writing Paranormal CharactersAs a writer of prose, you may at some point to want to write about a character or characters which are paranormal. We could perhaps debate over the exact definition of the word paranormal, and some may prefer supernatural - a word more closely associated with magic, whereas paranormal tends to be taken to mean something outside the realms of science (though of course, it is not as clear-cut as that, and you may like to think that I am wrong in saying this).Writing Paranormal Characters6 years ago in Editorial More Like This
For the purposes of this guide, both paranormal and supernatural refer to conscious beings, not found in the animal kingdom, that differ in some way to what I controversially call normal humans (some paranormal beings may be human, in part or in whole). To give some well-known examples: ghosts, vampires, witches, werewolves and mermaids all fall into this category. The details, of course, are up to the writer. If you t
Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 1Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 15 years ago in Writing More Like This
Part one: Parts of Speech
Now that you know how to use a comma and structure a quote, lets really get our hands dirty! Because all those commas and quotes and hard stops dont mean a thing if you have weak grammar. Grammar is huge. Theres a lot of it, so this will only be a blitz course, covering a lot in a small space. Hopefully, you already know most of it, though.
Parts of Speech
Thats right. Were doing sentence diagramming in this lesson. Youre going to need to know the difference between an adjective and an adverb later on, so this seems the logical place to start.
A sentence needs three things to make it a sentence. It needs a subject, a verb, and it needs to be a complete thought.
The subject is usually, but not always, a noun, a proper noun, or a pronoun.
Nouns: Nouns are something physical. Look to your left. What do you see? Thats a noun.
° Please pass me that book.
Proper Nouns: Proper nouns are exactly what
The Ultimate Writing GuideThe Ultimate Writing Guide6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Have great tutorial that you want to show off to help others? Or need a great tutorial yourself to make your characters shine across the battlefield? Then check out the description for more information.
The LinebreakThe LinebreakThe Linebreak8 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
A line has three points of strength: its beginning in correlation with the prior line's end, its end in correlation with the next line's beginning, and its strength as a separate unit in the narrative development.
The first two points are points of emphasis; the first word, or possibly phrase, is emphasised by its primary position. Likewise, the word or phrase at the end of the line receives emphasis. Both of these points in a line form a logical link: the ending of a line leads on to the beginning of the next, particularly if enjambed. This allows a twist in meaning to be achieved by the break. At this point things become a little vaguer, since both 'meaning' and subsequently 'twist' are difficult to pin down. The twist may come in a pun, a shift of narrative focus, a change in sonics, in voice, or simply something worth emphasising.
The third point is the strength of the line as a unit. A line should in its own way advance the narrative of a poem significantly an
Story Writing TipsTip #1: Write about what you know. If you're writing a love story in which the main female character is dumped by her boyfriend, think about what you have been through in your own personal experience, and think about how she might react. Does your character have a strong personality? Are they normally quite likeable? Do they have a weak personality, and they let people push them around? Or do they have a personality that is mysterious, and unpredictable? Once you have established a main character, only you, the author, can predict how they will react to a certain problem.Story Writing Tips7 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
Tip #2: When beginning a story, and a chapter, it often helps to start the story/chapter in the middle of an action, because then you immediately grasp the reader's attention.
Tip #3: When writing a summary, you might want to include a very short excerpt from your story. That way, you get the reader intrigued. In a real, published book, the first thing that a person sees is the cover, second the title, and third, the
A Guide to Writing StyleA Guide to Writing Style5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing Style - The Bottom Line
Words are like sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. - Robert Southey
Prose is architecture, not interior decorating. - Ernest Hemingway
Writing style is made up of two things: cadence and variation.
Good style is clear, readable, and invisible. Its purpose is not to attract attention to itself but to transport readers into the world of your story. If your readers notice your style without purposefully intending to study it, your style needs to be improved and refined. Good style, however, is transparent so that your readers simply see the characters and world of your story rather than the words you use to portray them.
To write with cadence simply means that your writing should sound natural. If it sounds right to you, it probably is--but if it doesnt sound right,
How to Start and Stay WritingHow to Start and Stay Writing5 years ago in Writing More Like This
I recently solicited my watchers to ask me writing questions that I would then attempt to answer in a writing guide such as this. This article is my first response, and there will be many more to come.
I've been asked to give advice on ways a writer can begin to put words on a page. The bottom line is as simple as this: sit your butt down and write.
Duh, right? It's the only way I know to actually write.
Sure, sitting your butt in a chair is easy, but getting your fingers to move and stay moving is a challenge. Here are three things that have helped me.
1) Have a goal.
Your goal can be as simple as "describe the person in this picture" or as ambitious as "write 1,000 words of my novel." Having a goal will drive you forward and motivate you to keep writing. Whatever you do, don't move your butt from your chair until you accomplish your goal.
Other practical goals include setting a timer, writing to the end of a chapter or scene, and completing a particular section of an outline or numbe
Writing Tips - MechanicsWriting Tips - Mechanics5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Tips and Tricks for Writing Fluidly
No, were not fixing up your brothers car. Mechanics are the little technical bits in your writing; punctuation, spacing, spelling, capitalisation, et cetera. Well start there.
Different languages have different rules for what should be capitalised. If you speak English, youd capitalise I and leave your dog lowercase. You may find it interesting that German is a bit backwards. If youre German, youd capitalise Hund and leave ich lowercase. Why am I telling you this? Because its simple little things like this that have the potential to give your reader the wrong impression of you. If they think that English is not your first language, they may structure a critique differently than if they knew that you were born and raised in New York.
So, when do you capitalise something?
° At the beginnings of sentences.
The dog is in the park.<
Submitting to Lit JournalsRough Guide to Submitting Poetry to Literary Journals (by Email)Submitting to Lit Journals8 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
First thing you need is your poems, naturally; these must be fully redrafted to your satisfaction to have much of a chance of getting anywhere in the world of self-respecting mags. Try out some workshops (there are a tonne on the internet, and plenty in the real world too), ask your friends, but most of all just mull them over for yourself until you're happy.
Do not pad your submission with bad poems, thinking the worse ones might get through thanks to your stronger work. This will just result in the whole bunch being rejected, in all probability.
Next we need to scope out a market. There are numerous ways of doing this. Duotrope is probably the most useful resource around. Check that your target accepts electronic submissions and are currently open to submissions at all. Read their guidelines thoroughly and follow every one. It's amazing how many people completely fail to follow the
Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 3Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 35 years ago in Writing More Like This
Part three: Cases and Grammar Nazi Nit-Picks
Cases are, in a sort, ways of conjugating a noun that is, defining its role in a sentence. Kind of. Not really. Well, sort of. Its a bit swimmy, because we dont really have them in the English language. Well, thats a lie. We do, but theyre not very prominent. Despite this, were going over them anyway. Why? Because theyre big in some foreign languages and extinct languages. Why do we care? Because there will be a lesson on foreign and extinct languages in the future. But dont worry; we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Those who couldnt give a pair of fetid dingos kidneys about adding foreign languages into their stories can feel free to scroll down the page to the next bit, which is a good one, and talks about Grammar Nazis.
Nominative: Sometimes known as subjective, because it indicates the subject.
° I am tired.
Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 2Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 25 years ago in Writing More Like This
Part two: Tense of the Narrative, and Plural and Singular Nouns
Tenses: No, were not talking about a hard day at work, but rather verb tenses. What, basically, is the time-direction of your narrative? Is the chronicler telling about something that has already happening, is happening, or will eventually happen?
In most works of fiction, the narrative is in past tense. Its already happened. Occasionally, youll find a book in present tense its happening now, as youre reading it and these are usually of the pick your own adventure sort. The ones where you dont read about the knight in shining armour, but rather, you are the knight in shining armour and the choices you make determine whether you rescue the princess or if the evil wizard turns you into a newt. Ive never seen a book written in future tense it will happen, but it just hasnt happened yet but if you