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.
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. &
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
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
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 On Self-Publishing
Tips On Self-Publishing
I recently decided to self-publish a compilation of my work. It is something that I've wanted to do for a long time, but have always put off for several reasons; the imagined cost, basic lethargy in editing the damn thing, and laziness when it came to mail-outs to publishers. If this sounds like you so far, you might be able to benefit from a few things I learned along the way. Below I will discuss almost everything you will need to know before jumping into a self-publishing project, some pitfalls to avoid, and approximately what to expect to come out of your pocket. (I'm talking about money, pervert.)
Once I decided I was definitely going forward with this project, my first step was to find publishing houses/printers that offered the services that I wanted. There are many resources for this, but I found the below link most helpful in finding presses that would actually not only turn around a quote quickly,
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
Colon, Semicolons, and Hyphens Trouble often arises when dealing with combining sentences. It's good you're taking a look at this - very good. How many of you have wondered how to use a colon? A Semi-Colon? How about a Hyphen? Well, this piece of literature will keep your head spinning for a while. Not because you are going to be confused, but because there is a rather large amount of information. However, you shouldn't let that stop you from becoming a better writer, right? So, let us continue with the lesson on:
The main use of a colon is when you want to link a lead-in(a sentence that can stand alone but will be used to bring in two or more primary subjects) with the items(subjects) that will be introduced by the lead-in.
Confused? Well, look at the sentence below:
I ordered many items on the list(Lead-in): tomatoes, chips, b
A word about haiku - MS JamesA word about haiku - by Michael James
I believe there are a few basic precepts about haiku that are largely overlooked, or just flat out just not taught in most basic literary (poetic) courses. Everyone seems to know that a haiku is supposed to be written in the structure of 5-7-5 syllables per line respectively, but there is much more going on than just a simple syllable constraint. I shall attempt to give a brief overview of the main points about haiku.
First off, the 5-7-5 syllable structure most often cited as being the sole 'structural rule' of haiku is based on the original Japanese constraint. However, the Japanese language and more specifically their word structure differ from English in a critical way when it comes to the definition of this structure. In the Japanese language, each sound unit is called an onji as opposed to our syllable. This unit of measure for a word is considerable more concise than what we use to define a syllable (typically only
Metre Learning GuideSo. Metre.
It has become a dirty word in some poetry circles.
It conjures images of withered, grey-haired men laboriously counting out beats and stresses whilst coughing up phlegm because of all the dust in their cramped and quasi-arcane libraries.
It really isn't all THAT bad, trust me.
So, without getting too 'old-man' technical - What is metre? what is it good for?
And, importantly, how does one use it?
Well, let's see if we can come up with some workable and easily understood answers by the end of this.
#1: What is metre?
Technical Language: The most well known metre, 'Accentual Syllabic Metre' is the rhythmic arrangement of syllables and patterns of stresses in a poetic line.
Translation: Metre is a poetic device that allows you to consciously orchestrate the flow of rhythm in a poem by paying attention to the natural rise and fall of the spoken word, and how to align those patterns of word-emphasis in an effective way.
#2: What is metre good for?
Basically, metre is
"Poeticks: On Angst" 1 of 2
Angst. People admire and despise, protest and support, immerse in and shun, indifferently yawn, while holding very firm opinions as their respective buttons are pressed when they hear the word "angst." As a starting point of Poeticks, we have decided to take up the differing opinions from inside DeviantArt, to lay out those arguments for all of you to read. Please keep in mind that these are "your" thoughts, as they are, and you are completely free to agree or disagree. Our objective is not to push forth an ultimate commandment, but rather to present to you the many (and often times conflicting) opinions we have received from fellow DeviantArt writers, in hopes of perhaps enlightening, sublimating or organizing your perspectives on the matter; or even to entertain you. We would be extremely pleased if it would serve as a personal reference point, or if it would incite writers to question and re-debate in
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!)
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)
Tips For Editing Poetry
***Tips For the Novice (and otherwise) - Editing***
The blanket statement, "Editing/revision harms poetry," is simply wrong. It's akin to a photographer claiming that focusing the lens ruins the emotion of the photograph. It is the details, and the appropriate attention paid to them, that separate a photograph from a snapshot. Imagine a film maker slapping every frame he shot up on the screen without editing for continuity, for pacing, for effect. What a disaster. That is not to say that editing can't be destructive - there is such a thing as poor editing, just as there is poor writing. But done correctly, done well, it is one of the most important tools in the poet's shed.
Never shy away from editing/revision. Some young writers feel that to revise is to kill the spirit of the poem. This notion serves to sacrifice the potential of a poem for an ideal that
Lesson 1 - Basics of MeterQUOTE OF THE DAY
"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