I recently started a writing club at my high school, opening it to teacher and student alike. It’s sort of an extension of the Creative-Writing classes I teach, a place where writers can show up and have their work, whether post-cyberpunk murder mystery or "Little Mermaid" fan-fiction, taken seriously. Club members spend a lot of time in workshop, critiquing and responding to each other's writing, but they’ve also requested we spend some time studying craft. As a result, I’ve been spending some time writing about writing. Here is the most recent result:
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Before I die there are several questions I'd like answered. Question one might be: Why did the musician born as Prince Rogers Nelson change his name to a symbol between 1993 and 2000? Question two: Why do some literary fiction writers opt not to use quotation marks?
The answer I want for both questions is “genius,” but I expect the one I’ll get is “affectation.”
James Joyce, in his (call it what it is) autobiographical novel A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, opts to use the long dash instead of the lowly quotation mark. It's something he apparently borrowed from the French. It seems a fairly typical move for a young Irish man who wants to come off as a sophisticate and make himself seem fancy.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Wondering what to give the writer who has everything? Pondering a holiday purchase for yourself that enhances your writer’s life? Here are some ideas. (Note: None of them are self-filling fountain pens, journals made from virgin cows, smartphone aps, or bobble heads.)
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
1. Dialog needs to sound like real people said it, but not exactly. It’s more like shorthand for speech; every word must count for something.
2. Dialog attributives are what you use to show the readers who’s talking. Direct attributives show readers, directly:
“I love to eat kittens,” Bill said.
Indirect attributives lead the reader to the speaker:
Bill shrugged. “I love to eat kittens.”