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Showing, Part One
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
The Art of Refining Prose
The Art of Refining Prose
Many writers dread the editing process. Not only does it delay the showcase of prose, it can seem a tedious and painstaking task. Often, editing is more time-consuming than the initial writing and consequently, it is either ignored altogether or briefly indulged. This is a great shame. Sincere editing not only proves a pleasurable experience but invaluable to prose, as this is a wonderful opportunity to buff, polish and tighten the impact of one's writing.
Some might argue that editing is not only unnecessary, but detrimental to the raw concept of ones inspiration. The answer to this is simple: select a prose that hasnt been edited and compare against one that has. Its soon evident that a well-edited piece is not only easier to read, but communicates the authors ideas with greater clarity. Few Bestsellers hit the shelves having skipped the editing office. And unless the author has behind them years upon years of writi
How to Accept A CritiqueFirst, there's a common misconception that I want to address before I even begin. I've heard way too many people try to claim that they don't write for an audience or that they only write for themselves. In my mind, this usually translates to something like, "You or someone else gave me a critique I don't agree with, so I'm trying to justify why I'm going to ignore it." You're going to have a hard time convincing me that you don't care about anyone else's opinion of your work if you PUBLICALLY SUBMIT IT ONLINE.
I don't know if you've noticed, but dA (and any other site like it) is essentially structured to be used for peer review. That's the main point of the ability to leave comments in the first place. If you're really only writing for yourself, you would keep your stories in a shoe-box hidden under your bed. And, no, the "I was posting it so my very bestest friend Mary Sue could read it" excuse doesn't fly either.
Active and Passive Voice
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
Tips For the Novice
Tips For The Novice
It's an all-too common occurrence on my periodic forays into the world of internet poetry - writing weakened by a lack of fundamental knowledge concerning the essence of poetry writing. There are no rules set in stone about creative writing. The writer that strikes new trails can make a lasting impact on the world of poetry, but the chances of a writer stumbling upon golden words without a solid knowledge base are slim to none. The following tips for novice writers are intended to help shore up those fundamentals, to help the young writer breathe the essence of life into their poems, and to better share that essence with the reader.
The most important element you can inject into your poetry is imagery. Imagery is made up of sense data: color, sound, smell, temperature, the feeling of physical contact. When we remember anything with any vividness, we remember in images. When we fantasize or hallucinate, it is i
Lesson 2 - More MeterQUOTE OF THE DAY
"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. &
Handout 1 - More on ScansionMore on Scansion
If scanning a line of verse is difficult for you, do not fret. As the cliché goes, practice makes perfect. In this lesson, I'll go over some of the tricks of scansion and offer some ways to more easily identify a line's meter.
Take this opening line of one of Shakespeare's most famous sonnets, titled either "Sonnet 18" or by the first line:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Your first task should be to identify polysyllabic words that can only be pronounced in one way. "Compare" and "summer's" are two such words, an iamb and a trochee, respectively:
˘ / / ˘
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Saying "COMpare" or "sumMER'S" would sound awkward, as this is not how they are pronounced in normal speech. We have another hint in "a," which is part o
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.
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
PE: Literature Critique TipsAs part of Project Educate Critique week, the Community Volunteers would like to share more art specific elements to consider whilst giving good critique.
Today we are looking at the Literature gallery, with our Top Tips.
Before you start
READ the piece all the way through.
Read it again, making notes of what you would like to point out in your critique.
Stay Objective- you are critiquing the piece not the person.
These tips are areas which aren't just necessary in critiquing others' work, but also when self-critiquing your own writing. This is one person's suggestions and I welcome any further tips in addition.
A good opening. The opening to any form of writing doesn't necessarily need to involve a physical explosion, but it needs to have an initial hook; something to entice the reader in. It needs to be clear, something that
a dangerous hallucinationThe light coming through the window was bright,
much too bright.
Even though my eyes were closed
I could see it-
The skin of my arms prickled,
sweat dripped from my brow.
It was two in the afternoon but…
the sun was setting
through the window facing east.
I should have seen the hutch,
shelves lined with bone china
decorated with delicate leaves and vines.
I was so thirsty
and reaching for cups that should have been there.
Instead I found a billboard of butterflies,
the colors raging
more than any rainbow
I'd ever seen.
Their wings fluttered and flashed
yet somehow they moved in slow motion.
I wanted to stand,
wanted to reach out and touch them but…
I couldn't move,
and yet I laughed
ignoring my dry mouth
and the tingling in my feet.
There was a tempest
on the rise
and in my blood.
A sugar rush disguised
as a riot of butterflies
and they were swarming me.
There was a small vial
of insulin in my pocket
that I nev
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