words

“Aglet”: or stories of vocab

The guitar player strums or picks. The turtle does not scuttle or bumble. The sink drips, while the sirens . . . the sirens . . . holler? Hoot? Sound off?! What describes the sound a siren makes? It’s important to have the right vocabulary, especially when communicating important things […]

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how I create characters

How I Create Characters

Let’s assume I’m this world-renowned author, with aspiring writers from around the world flocking to me for advice. I have this wild, white beard from years of paying attention to other people, a colorful yet tasteful garb over my head to prevent ideas from spilling out, and a voice as […]

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poetic speech

Food, enstranged

Have you ever wondered what makes a great piece of literature? Theorist Viktor Shlovsky believed that what a good story was was this, one that sticks around, plays with us, remains. However, to achieve that “long-lasting effect” in a work of art takes a specific set of devices. Like poetic […]

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air travel airplane

What’s next? An announcement, pronouncement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,   Thank you for visiting this page. Some of you will notice there has been some inactivity as a result of one’s being inactive inactively for a minute here on this blog, yup me, allowing the days to produce only a lack of content, let’s just say. […]

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Etimología 2 – el señor agá

∀ “El Cid” Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar   Nada, solamente un conjunto de nuevas palabras, un acervo de curiosidades, un acuerdo entre poetas, el ágape de anónimos, un afaníptero agobiado, y a esto vamos: ¿quien podrá componer un poema, un poema con estas palabritas?   Acervo – (un conjunto de […]

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Etimología – 1 (Lavar mi castellano)

∀ (Imagine: Bueyes del sol)   Quiero compartir esta próxima fase de mi aprendizaje con usted: una serie de ejercicios sobre la etimología castellana. Viene, en gran parte, o mejor dicho por una parte, a través de un libro llamado Breve Diccionario Etimológico de la Lengua Castellana, compuesta por Joan […]

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Write a monologue that feels rhythmically right

(Art by Cosimo Miorelli, for Bloomsday 2015)   Ok, so, this is the third and final Charles Johnson exercise (I must confess, the last three exercises have all been from page 37 of The Way of the Writer, which I finished yesterday).   (3) Write a monologue of at least […]

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Describe a Character With Focus on Vowels and Consonants

(Art by Dana Cooper) Today’s exercise again comes from Charles Johnson‘s book, The Way of the Writer, where he credits much of his early development to his late mentor John Gardner:   Describe a character in a brief passage (one or two pages) using mostly long vowels and soft consonants […]

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Write one sentence describing a single emotion for a whole page

Today’s writing exercise comes from Charles Johnson, a National Book Award winner, and author of the novel Middle Passage, the short story collection The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and the graphic novel Shall I Rise–just to name a few publications from his almost fifty years of writing and scholarship. He was the […]

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Avoid Editing while you Write, and Writing while you Edit

There are as many methods of producing great literature as there are pens. Nevertheless, one way of sabotaging our output as writers is to criticize before we’ve concluded our daily production of words. When you are writing, write. When you are editing, edit. Both are as essential to great work […]

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Write to reflect on action

Writer of many home-study courses for Time-Life Educational systems, Ron Bradley, was the English learning trainer who helped certify me to teach others. He has this to say about reflection:   “[Use] reflective practice to improve your teaching and professional growth: ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll […]

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Write ten Forbidden Joys (from The Artist’s Way)

Writers, does writing come easy, or is it hard? Either way, I’m sure you’d prefer it to come naturally. … Today’s writing exercise comes from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a book with 12-weeks of exercises to get yourself unblocked, and write (/be creative) naturally. She calls the exercise “Forbidden […]

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Write to gain perspective (from “The Artful Edit”)

Click here for PDF –_Practice Perspective   This semester I enrolled in Susan Bell’s Fiction Workshop. It runs like most MFA workshops–write material, present it to a classroom of peers, and then a week later listen to their comments/critiques. Bell’s class however, unlike other workshops, has two twists: the first […]

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Write a Story in Future Tense

Click here for a PDF — A Short Story in Five Tenses   As an exercise for my wonder English students at New York Language Center, I asked them to write the final page, all sentences in future tense. It takes a lot of concentration to not run through prose. […]

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Write a Story in Five…sentences, snapshots, parts

Our Writing & Publishing Lab course, lead by Luis Jaramillo and John Reed at The New School, began with one simple exercise: “Write a story in five snapshots.” To do this, we followed what’s called the “Five-part story structure”: (A) First you write Action. (B) Second you write Background. (D) […]

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