Can Plagiarism Be Creative?
The same week I read about a German author who is defending her plagiarism, J.K. Rowling is being mentioned in another case
of an author who believes Rowling heavily borrowed from his books.
In the instance of the first case of plagiarism
, the author Helene Hegemann believes that her use of another's author's work is an art form. According to the Salon article I read, Hegemann reportedly told a German newspaper: "I myself don't feel it is stealing, because I put all the material into a completely different and unique context and from the outset consistently promoted the fact that none of that is actually by me." However, as Laura Miller points out on Salon, Hegemann did not give the author of credit for the passages taken from "Strobo."
Please note that I have no first-hand knowledge of either case of alleged plagiarism, but I am interested in how reading someone else's work can or might influence my own work--maybe even creeping into my writing?
Many writers state that by reading the masters, they improved their own writing. When studying the greats, often a professor will suggest copying the words of the master to learn the cadences, word choices, and rhythms. I'm sure my novel writing career would do much better if I were to borrow heavily from the greats. I also understood that as civilization has moved along, we build on the shoulders of those who came before us. Some even argue that there are no original stories, just a re-hash of stories that have come before.
But sometimes, that line blurs. I have taught college students whose academic careers could be destroyed due to one instance of plagiarism and yet the students seem unsure what constitutes plagiarism--and why it would be such a big deal.
I think that as an exercise and to understand the world it is vitally important to be aware of the work of those who have come before. From the standpoint of creativity and our own interaction with creativity, I'm not sure that plagiarism is the best method of rising to the occasion and meeting our muse. Or is it?Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and creativity coach. Besides contributing to AOL's ParentDish, she blogs at The Write Elizabeth, delving into creativity in everyday places.
Labels: craft of writing, creative writing, Elizabeth King Humphrey, plagiarism
As a writer, what battles are you fighting?
"The picture that looks as if it were done without an effort may have been a perfect battlefield in its making."
Robert Henri from The Art Spirit
This quotation comes at an excellent time for me. I've just witnessed a plasterer put the final touches on a couple large holes in our home's 1916 walls. Almost 10 years of living in this home, we've been working on many remodeling projects and the plastering helps to move us to complete one of the last big ones.
Except we asked the plasterer to finish his work rough. It was difficult, he told me, because he was accustomed to make everything "smooth as glass." But our walls are the old, rough plaster. Make them smooth and they will look out of place to the rest of our home. We were asking the plasterer to do something he was unaccustomed to doing, but a technique he knew how to do because of his experience. Smooth or rough, the end result hides the cracks and the "battlefield" beneath it.
Do you ever read someone's work and wonder about how many drafts it took to get to the rough or smooth finish the author was after? Do you ever wonder what "battles" needed to be fought in order to achieve the effortless read you enjoyed? Then look to your own work. What are you fighting when you fight the "battles"? Are you able to achieve the desired, perhaps, effortless results--rough or smooth? Or is the battle still being fought among the words as you try to finish your work? Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and creativity coach. Besides contributing to AOL's ParentDish, she blogs at The Write Elizabeth, delving into creativity in everyday places. After writing this blog, Elizabeth plans to stare at the walls to watch the paint and plaster dry. Literally.
Labels: craft of writing, Elizabeth King Humphrey, the process
Surrounded by paper...and computer keyboards
We've all been there, looking for the magic bullet of writing. Even though I've studied writing and been a reader my entire life, I think: If only I write with this pen on that notebook, I'll have a best-selling novel. My desk overflows with the fun notebooks I've picked up, in my quest for the "right" one that will inspire me to tell a story. I purchase pens that I've seen other writers use. Perhaps I've been using the wrong tools, I tell myself.
I'm fascinated with how some of writers still take pen to paper, writing longhand until their thousand-page manuscript is finished. One successful novelist told me that he wrote while feeding his infant, legal pad and pen propped between baby and bottle. With three kids, I've never quite managed that, but I have dabbled. One writer told me of his use of index cards. Shortly thereafter, I am clearing out the office supply store of its stock of legal pads and index cards. Sketches and words flow over the notepads and stray pieces of paper. But the stories remain on the pages and my computer screen remains blank because, I think, the novelists haven't worked that way. They have sold his books while I have not.
Finally, it dawns on me that instead of basing my end result on what anyone else does, I need to embrace that the notepads and scraps of paper are a part of my process. I collect the notes I've made on one project or another and create a notebook for each novel idea. When the pieces of paper overwhelm or take over my desk, I then turn to my trusty keyboard. But before I get to that point, I doodle, sketch or write plot overviews in a funky notebook picked up in a SoHo paper shop are part of my craft.
The paper and notebooks I choose become a part of my storytelling process. The story of a small boy won't appear in my flowery notebook, which, instead contains the story skeleton about romance, love and longing. But neither of them seems to come alive with just a cursor blinking at me. They need the love and support of my taking the time to play in the beginning and embrace the organic nature of a story--including the notebook as a vehicle.
Now, as a separate issue, I need to work on that success thing, which won't take the pens or notebooks of anyone else. Just me.Elizabeth King Humphrey is a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and freelance writer. She also blogs at CoastalCarolinaMoms.com and TheWriteElizabeth.com, where she contemplates finding creativity in everyday places She is getting ready to dive into another fun fiction project, notebook in hand.
Labels: craft of writing, creative writing, Elizabeth King Humphrey, the process
Motherhood creeps, jumps and leaps on the page
Happy Mother's Day to all creative souls who give birth to a piece of writing, nurture it and, if with luck (and a few other ingredients), watch it spring the wings of independence as a published work, lovingly caressed by devoted readers.
This past busy week, while my mother visited, I turned in a piece of work to an editor for a new-to-me publication. I had researched, drafted, re-drafted, re-researched, and coaxed my husband to read it (twice!). It was a tight piece of writing about a complicated subject. Word-by-word, I was proud of it.
After I turned it in, I had some back and forth with the editor. We tweaked it, outside influences creeping into my original piece of writing. Improving it to become a better piece of writing. When the editor asked me to send my invoice, indicating they had accepted the latest draft, I was thrilled.
As I sent the invoice off, I noticed another e-mail from the editor. My piece had been sent on to another editor and there might be more changes coming.
As I wait for them to maybe send it back, my mind (and heart) are going through a checklist about why they might not like this "child." But my creative work has been released into the world and I need it to stand its own.
Enjoy your day and try to find a creative spark to nurture and release into the world.Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach. She writes about motherhood at Coastal Carolina Moms and creativity at TheWriteElizabeth. The creative spark she hopes to nurture today will revolve around a Tiki Bar on a sunny beach.
Labels: craft of writing, Creativity, mother, Mother's Day
Pockets of daily writing time
Recently I spoke with someone who seemed amazed that I can write as much as I do and be the mother of three. Some of the amazement, I think, comes from people who don't feel comfortable writing wondering how those of us who do feel comfortable can spend our time writing. Certainly I can look at people in other careers and wonder how they do what they do for hours at a time.
There are weeks I don't feel nearly as productive as others, including this past week which was consumed by pitches, queries, marketing activities...and caring for my family. But today, when I had time between picking up the kids and scheduled interviews, I realized how different my writing schedule may seem from other writers. Some carve out large chunks of time and my writing professors always seemed to recommend big blocks of time to write.
But for me, I find that often I am firing forth during pockets of time when my kids are occupied with naps or homework. When I do have stretches of time, I tend to flit about on different projects within those chunks of time. Oddly, this works for me. Even when working on an article, I'm able to pull away and return without losing too much of the thread. (Or so I like to think!)
What is your writing work habit? Is it developed from a necessity or is it the way you have always done things?
Labels: craft of writing, daily writing schedule, freelance writing
The Copycat Experiment
by LuAnn Schindler
In the movie Finding Forrester
, Sean Connery's character William Forrester encourages protege Jamal Wallace to develop his own writing voice. When Jamal appears stuck, Forrester hands him a book and instructs the young writer to copy some of those lines until his own ideas take over and he creates a new story.
When I taught high school English ( in a heavily
writing-based classroom), I encouraged students to do the same thing. If we were discovering the art of the personal essay, I distributed copies of Bob Green's Be True To Your School
or Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Sometimes it was the work of Anne Sexton, Mark Twain, Judy Blume or Shakespeare that I placed before them, hoping they would connect with the work.
We would read sections from the works and discuss the strengths of the writing. Then I would give students a snippet from a work, have them copy it, and build a story based on those opening lines.
Students created new characters or established new settings for these works, but the important lesson they learned was that if you removed the original snippet, there was a new, unique story which they had developed.
You can do the same thing. Ever notice that you like a certain author's books? Jodi Picoult
is one of my favorite authors. Sure, I aspire to write heart-touching stories like hers. But do my words resemble hers exactly? No, and even though I can learn a lot about technique from reading her novels, or any book for that matter, I am the master of my own voice.
But you can use your favorite author's works to develop your writing skills. Have an idea for a character but not sure how or where this character fits? Insert her into one of your favorite reads and see how she develops. You'll be surprised by how many ideas for character development will take root from this type of exercise.
In Open Your Heart with Writing
, Neil Rosen discusses the pros of the copycat experiment. Rosen suggests taking a well-known TV series and move it to a new location. "When you combine research and your own original ideas to create a new location, it is interesting to see the influence it has on changing the dynamics of a story," writes Rosen.
I think about the number of Shakespearean spoofs available from play script companies. These authors take the Bard's words and characters and give the storyline a fresh twist. Kids enjoy the modern tales and relate to the updated content. Plus, whether they admit it or not, they've just been exposed to classic stories.
Using the works of great authors to build or sharpen your writing skills can improve your technique. By living Forrester's
example and words, you will create a piece that others might someday use as an example:
"You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head.
The first key to writing is . . . to write, not to think!"
Open Your Heart with Writing by Neil Rosen. Copyright 2007. DreamTime Publishing
Labels: Characters, craft of writing, LuAnn Schindler, setting
Clearing Your To-Do List...and Your Mind
by LuAnn Schindler
If you are like me, you keep a mental list of everything you need to accomplish. As each day passes, you cross off those items you've taken care of and then the cycle begins again as you add more to-dos. Some of the items on the list are short-term solutions; others might include long-term goals.
I keep my to-do-list on my computer (thanks Vista and Google applications). It's one of the first things I look at in the morning, and I review it every evening before I shut down (literally AND figuratively). The list keeps me on track toward the bigger goals I've established for myself.
Why do I have an easier time developing new ideas? I think it is because I DO write down my to-do list. When you simply think
about a potential list of events, articles, and deadlines, your mind draws energy to keep the list fresh. Writing down the bones of the day frees up space in my natural hard drive - my brain.
The same premise works when you consider long-term projects. I use the same technique when I'm preparing for interviews. I write pertinent questions, which allows me to spiderweb my thoughts into even more questions.
I also journal every day. When my fateful day comes, my children will have volumes to read. I hope they enjoy it. But one of the qualities of journaling that I truly enjoy is that once a thought has gone from brain to pen to paper and I've had the opportunity to vent or share joy, the thoughts usually are wiped away. Creative thought continues to develop.
And that is what writing is all about - creating new venues of thought that challenge your creativity. Clearing those thoughts - the to-do list, the grocery list, the character sketch, the new line of a poem you've been working on for days - and putting those words on paper open the path for new ideas, new characters, new stories.
That's the heart of writing.
And I can cross this blog post off my "to-do" list and open the neural pathway to creativity.
Labels: craft of writing, creative expression, daily writing, journaling, LuAnn Schindler
A Good and Fair Critique
Recently, I decided to overcome some old fears and submit some work for critique to a writers group. I had to finally admit to myself that this was necessary. As writers, it's a good idea to show our work to fresh eyes because being so close to your work sometimes makes it hard to see what it's missing.
I gained some useful advice, but also some that I had to take with a grain of salt. Anytime you submit a piece for criticism, you'll have to have a thick skin for some of the remarks, but it's also vital to remain open to what others have to say. While it's always nice to receive glowing feedback from our friends and peers, it's wise to give your work to unbiased readers. This won't include your mom, sister, brother, favorite uncle. The critics need to have a basic understanding and appreciation of writing as a craft. They can be prolific readers, but it's almost always better to show your work to other writers.
I think that people who critique others need to keep in mind these points:
- The author is probably very proud of her work, so don't trash it. Is there anything good you can find in the piece? Anything? If so, say something positive about it.
- Do nitpick on spelling. We're writers after all; our spelling should be excellent.
- Really read it, not skim over it. You can't do an honest and fair critique if you don't fully consider the work.
Likewise, the person who submits a piece for criticism needs to keep in mind:
- This is only someone else's opinion. You don't have to agree with it, but see if there's anything you can take from it to make your work better.
- You can't be ultra sensitive to criticism. Everyone isn't going to love everything you write. Tom Clancy is a best-selling author and just about any book he writes is going to do well, but there are people in the world who don't love Tom Clancy. I doubt he's really bothered by that.
- You're brave for submitting. Because writing tends to be so personal, it's not merely pieces of paper we send out to be reviewed; it can sometimes feel like pieces of ourselves, our "babies." If you can overcome the fear of allowing others to look at and judge your baby, you've taken a step that many others haven't.
Labels: craft of writing, critique, critique groups, Del Sandeen, writing
Bucking the Trends
It never fails. Once a Harry Potter-like phenomenon hits, dozens of YA books about wizards and magic follow. Some are successful, while others fall into literary oblivion. A huge chick lit book is made into a major motion picture with Hollywood's hottest stars slated to star in it? Expect chick lit to fill the bookshelves in the next year. This is what happens when trends hit the publishing industry. A lot of new writers will get excited and want to jump on the latest bandwagon, prompting scores of them to blindly send out queries and/or manuscripts, explaining why their
book is better than the current bestseller.
This is not always the best approach and here's why:
1. Publishing is a slow business: By the time a writer gets a final draft of a manuscript finished, it could be at least six months to a year after the hot new trend debuts. (If it only takes one month to churn out a "polished" manuscript, there's small chance it's really polished.) Once you start on the querying road, it could be another six months to a year before you get a "yes" from an agent or publisher and then another year or two until the book is actually published. Guess what? The trend is probably dead by then.
2. The trend is not really your style: Say the trend is romance with a quirky heroine; she swears like a sailor and chain smokes, but is really kind to puppies and elderly ladies. If this is right up your alley, it'll show with each enthusiastic word you put on paper. If you're more the crime scene analyst type who's trying to catch the latest serial killer and you force yourself to write about the quirky heroine, chances are she won't ring true and you'll hate every word you have to write about her.
3. Many agents aren't interested in the latest trends: While some agents leap onto the latest bandwagon, some are more concerned with writing that will last the test of time, writing that will become the next generation's classics. The last thing they want to see is the next Narnia chronicle; they want a hero who readers remember long after they close the book.
Instead of spending the next year or two of your life hoping to publish a book whose premise will be outdated and tired by the time readers get their hands on it, spend it crafting a book whose characters you love, whose story is true and whose trend is timelessness.
Labels: Being a Writer, books, craft of writing, Creativity, Del Sandeen, fiction, Tips, writing, writing craft, writing voice
I was estatic. Ifelt like I had just won the lottery. I was jumping up and down, gawking at an e-mail announcing I had received an honorable mention in Women on Writing’s summer flash fiction contest. I told my husband, my best friend and my two-month-old son. Then I paused. Should I call my parents?
Most people would say “Of course, call your parents!” But let’s just say that my family is – er— complicated. Whether or not to call them and let them read the story deserved at least a bit of consideration. My story was about a tender moment between a daughter and her dad, and there is almost no mention of a mom. Little did I know that this fact would become a pertinent issue to my mom.
Since I was high off the news of my award, I went ahead and called my parents. They were excited, in their own way (I think I interrupted their British soap operas on PBS). I told them I would e-mail the story to them that night.
Lo and behold, the next day my mom called. I had a sixth sense that we were going to talk about my writing. And we did. The conversation went something like this:
Mom: Hi. Well, I read your story.
Me: Great, what did you think?
Mom: Oh, it was good. You always have had good relationship with your dad . . .
Me: (I knew where this conversation was going.) Well, it wasn’t actually something that happened between dad and I. I made it up.
Mom: Oh, I know, I write sometimes, too. But we always pull from our experiences when we write. . .
Me: When I was writing it, I was actually using other peoples’ parents as my muse. It’s called fiction, mom, it’s not real.
Mom: Well, maybe next time you can write something nice about me and enter it in a contest.
Me: (Sigh) Yes, maybe next time. . .
(Thinking to myself: Yeah, just wait for my memoir, ma, you’ll definitely make it in to that piece of work.)
Obviously, there are tons and tons of issues behind this little conversation between my mom and I. (What mother/daughter relationship is simple?) But has anyone else handed over their writing to someone else, just to be completely misunderstood?
Two big questions loomed up in my mind as I sat considering this conversation with my mother. First, is it normal for the people in writers’ lives to be a little bit nervous? Are there writers out there who have started family feuds because of something written in a piece of fiction that struck too close to home? Second, how do we write about the nitty-gritty in our lives while protecting, or at least not angering, those closest to us?
I think I will be nervous if my daughter (now two-years-old) becomes a writer, especially a reflective, introspective writer like me. My writing does draw from my life, but the fun part is putting a new spin on a person or situation to make it portray the same theme in a new light. I think this is also a good way to protect real people from resembling my characters. Let’s pretend I have a stuffy old aunt from San Francisco who calls me to gossip about her the people at her bingo club. If I need this aunt’s character as part of my story, I could turn her into a young, interior decorator who gossips about her neighbors. The essence of the character is the same, but her identity is disguised.
I decided I am not going to censor myself as I write to alleviate these concerns. The interactions I have with people in my life will add vigor and believability to the characters I create in my stories. So much good material, no matter how much I need to disguise it, cannot go to waste.-Susan L. Eberling
Labels: craft of writing, Family, WOW Summer 2007 Contest
Writers Write, Right?
I’m certain you have heard this sentiment expressed again and again but it does, indeed, make sense. How can one call herself a writer if she isn’t putting pen to paper or tap-tap-tappity-tapping on the keys of her MacBook? Well, not too long ago I had to evaluate this exact notion for myself.
I’ve been calling myself on and off for nearly 20 years. I was, of course, most prolific in my early teens when every new heartache or adult reprimand manifested itself into a truly awful poem that dripped of undying teen angst. How I wish I were that way again. No, not emo and angsty, but rather, still turning to the page to express thoughts no matter how whimsical they may be.
As many of you know, we are now in the thick of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I thought this would be a brilliant way for me to get into the habit of writing everyday. After all, writers write, right? We are on day 8 of said NaNo and I officially have 794 words dedicated to my novel. That’s nearly a whopping 100 words a day and only slightly shy of the 1,667 words needed daily to arrive at the coveted 50,000 words come midnight of November 30.
At first I felt like a failure for not banging away at my keyboard and producing the words that No Plot, No Problem!
encouraged me to crank out. I, once again, felt I was not a real writer. I was ready to throw away my latest copy of Writer’s Market
and cancel my subscription to Paste
magazine. (The latter really has nothing to do with writing, but rather something I enjoy and in my dramatic fit I felt I needed to practice self-deprivation for being bad.)
But then I had a better way to look at this. (Never mind the fact I’m not sure what I would do without the free music sampler that comes with each edition of Paste.) The fact is that although I’m not reaching the NaNo goal, I AM writing. No need to tell myself that I’m not the next Octavia Butler or Louise Rennison, I’m me and I’m writing. No need to count the words, it’s the writing that matters.
Labels: craft of writing, freelance writing
Find Your Striker
I’m one soccer mom among many. I’ve been cheering kids on for eight years this season. But I’m proud to say I’m a civilized one. I don’t yell at kids when they err or shout critiques across the field. I do know a few “back-seat blabbermouths” though. I’d like to muzzle them.
Being well-mannered is easy; we just focus on the positives: the good efforts, the tricky foot maneuvers, head shots, dribbles, saves, and dashes down the field to shoot a goal (whether successful or not). The plays we’re not expected to focus on are those weaker ones that make us cringe and stifle comments--the half-Charlie-Browns where the cleat completely misses the ball, the oooh-that-player’s-leg-deflected-the-ball-into-her-own-goal mishap, the keeper’s foibles when the ball gets by and rolls slowly into the goal, or any general human error. Everyone makes them, and kids on the field feel far more dreadful than the highly-paid Beckhams when they mess up.
Being a soccer parent is a lot like being an editor. In the same way that we might cheer kids forward on the field to shoot for the right goal, editors want to cheer writers forward in their work, whether they’re submitting queries, contest entries, or full submissions. We never want to discourage anyone from joining a team or playing through the toughest times. When we ask for submissions here at WOW!, we ask that prospective freelancers study the ezine to gather a sense of our voice, our focus, and our monthly themes. I think that’s the universal request in other markets. No one would ever say, “okay, take that manuscript and just shoot for all the markets, simultaneously. Eventually, one will end up on the right desk”; of course not!
All writers have days where submissions and queries “make goals”; but we also miss the target markets at times. It matters little whether a writer has many years under her pen or keyboard. What matters most is that writers never give up, never stop moving toward their personal, professional, and other goals. Sometimes, though, we need to step off the field for a water break, a walk, a day off, or a full fingertip-and-muse recharge. At some point, chocolate just isn’t enough.
Scrimmaging with kids is a lot like sending our work out. Each one of us looks down the field (researches market guides), figures out the best path to take (locates the name of a specific editor to whom we might address a cover letter or query), and passes the ball (written work) straight toward the correct striker (editor) who will then take a written work and shoot it straight for the goal (target market). Sounds simple, here, right?
It’s sometimes easy to overlook all the possible markets. It also takes time to research the markets. Every writer needs to check out submission guidelines and pay attention to any tips provided by editors, no matter where we’re at in our careers. I sent my last piece out in a huge rush, so it came back fairly quickly. If only I’d taken the time to research a better goal, I wouldn’t have ended up reading a rejection notice with a hand-written note, “Please continue to keep us in mind!” Well, I can’t be mad at any other players. I can only cringe at my poor aim. Is there such a thing as a “writer’s cheer” or a poem?
Would any of you like try to write one? I’m not a poet. But I enjoy reading them from time to time.
Cheers to each of you for taking the time to shoot for the right goal!
Labels: Being a Writer, craft of writing, writers markets
Flexing a Writer’s Perspectives
Every classroom of writing students requires flexible group dynamics. Teaching, in general, requires an open-minded ability to facilitate learning for all personality-types and individuals of diverse backgrounds, including gender, job experience, lifestyle, age (meaning life-experience skills, in this sense). College instructors, secondary school teachers, and all teachers certainly need energy to teach any subject to all students.
The best memories from my college English composition course lessons linger from my students’ diverse perspectives and the infinite number of ways each one could perceive the same subject. When I taught three courses with thirty-five students per class, and I used the same writing exercises for each one, I came away with 105 different writing perspectives.
Two of my favorite exercises involved teaching description, how to look for it, and how to write it down on paper so readers could sense objects and subjects through the writer’s eyes, ears, nose, taste buds, and finger tips, or whichever senses applied. Of course, this involved teaching how to be aware of one’s sensory perceptions and how to capture them on paper. For example, I’d used one of Annie Dillard’s passages from “Death of a Moth” to illustrate the use of details. Here it is:
“One night a moth flew into the candle, was caught, burnt dry and held. I must have been staring at the candle, or maybe I looked up when a shadow crossed my page; at any rate, I saw it all. A golden female moth, a biggish one with a two-inch wingspread, flapped into the fire, dropped abdomen into the wet wax, stuck, flamed, and frazzled, in a second. Her moving wings ignited like tissue paper, like angels’ wings, enlarging the circle of light in the clearing and creating out of the darkness the sudden blue sleeves of my sweater, the green leaves of jewelweed by my side, the ragged red trunk of a pine; at once the light contracted again and the moth’s wings vanished in a fine, foul smoke. At the same time, her six legs clawed, curled, blackened, and ceased, disappearing utterly. And her head jerked in spasms, making a spattering noise; her antennae crisped and burnt away and her heaving mouthparts cracked like pistol fire. When it was all over, her head was, so far as I could determine, gone, gone the long way of her wings and legs. Her head was a hole lost to time. All that was left was the flowing horn shell of her abdomen and thorax--fraying, partially collapsed gold tube jammed upright in the candle’s round pool.”
In the previous passage, I’d asked my students to consider the following questions:
1. How many abstractions do you find in the passage?
2. How many specific and concrete terms are there?
3. How does Dillard achieve startling precision and grace?
I’d provided more questions for my students, but this is just a sample. By examining Dillard’s perspective, students had a clear example from which they could practice their own writing.
Another exercise to push students beyond the day-to-day “thought box” included particular 3-D images or optical illusions.
A great place to go for practice is the Third Side Perspective
As students decided on their perspectives, on various pictures like those provided at the Third Side, I asked them to write a descriptive passage as detailed as possible. These exercises enabled students to approach writing from a reader’s perspective and learn how to apply their senses like Dillard. They had to think about how to “show” their subjects for readers.
For instance, when you glance at the picture atop this Blog, what do you see? Of course, you might see one of two images, or both: an old lady and/or a young woman. How would you describe the picture provided here?
These exercises can work for anyone. Our perspectives can be captured on paper or on a blank screen for others to see, hear, touch, taste, or feel. We need only think outside ourselves.
How do you flex your perspective or practice drawing pictures and scenes with words?
Labels: craft of writing, sensory writing, Sue Donckels, writers perspectives
Craft of Writing Magazines: Web Resources
Looking for other online magazines seeking submissions? Here's a few you may want to check out this coming weekend, and get ahead of the game!
Anotherealm offers writers some good science fiction stories and help with writing better science fiction themselves. It's definitely a fun and valuable resource for those interested in science fiction.www.anotherealm.com
ASSOCIATED WRITING PROGRAMS
The website for Associated Writing Programs provides information about important writers' conferences as well as writing programs at our nation's colleges and universities. The site also contains an online version of The Writer's Chronicle, information about writing contests, and lists of resources for writers.www.awpwriter.orgFICTIONADDICTION
FictionAddiction is filled with articles on the craft of writing and even has one on what gifts to get a writer. Also included are book reviews and a question & answer feature hosted by Anne Bowling (editor of Novel & Short Story Writer's Market).www.fictionaddiction.netPOETIC VOICES
Poetic Voices serves as a tool for poets with its information on conferences, contests, and other events around the country. It also features poetry written by the readers as well as advice from other poets about the craft.www.poeticvoices.comTHE E-WRITER'S PLACE
The e-Writer's Place is dubbed "The electronic magazine for every writer" with its articles full of sound advice and links to other writing resources on the web.www.ewritersplace.com
For a complete listing of writer's markets, go to www.writersmarket.com
Labels: craft of writing, magazines, online, resources