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Tag Archives: Negotiating a Connection

Sex and Violence

Tweet I started the week talking about my short story class, and some of the challenges that come with providing feedback to our peers. The worst of it was talking about a sex scene buried in one of the many stories we’ve read so far. And, mostly, it was a whole lot of worrying over […]

What I Learned About Writing This Year…from Unstressed Syllables

Today, my snippet of courage has come to you in the form of a poem: my attempt to convey via symbols the intangible emotions — the happiness, the wonder, the impish delight — I feel at the realization that Unstressed Syllables will be a year old tomorrow…

Market Research (Creative Writing Exercise)

This Creative Writing Exercise calls for market research: Choose the target audience for a work-in-progress and evaluate the document against its expectations.

Manage Your Metaphors

Every document is, essentially, a phone call — a conversation between you and your readers, and you’ve got to establish a connection before you can start talking. I’ve said that before, haven’t I?

I’ve also said a good first draft is a block of marble, from which to carve that glorious statue known as a final manuscript. Oh, and telling instead of showing is the same thing as playing a game of poker with your cards on the table. Good document structure is a tower of red, yellow, and blue blocks. Poetry is magic, punctuation is alchemy, and so is blogging about your life.

Loving Language (The Purpose of Poetry)

When I was in third grade (or maybe it was second), I wrote a poem about sunset, and rest. I did it in number 2 pencil on a sheet of wide-ruled paper torn out of a 78-cent spiral notebook. I illustrated the edges, with an angry sun and an optimistic moon, and my best effort at a seagull. I can remember this in such clear detail, because I’ve still got that page. It’s creased with folds, and the pencil’s faded, but I’ve still got it, tucked away somewhere. The meter is awful.

Describe Your Reader (Technical Writing Exercise)

Whoever it is you’re writing for, their needs and their expectations become vital ingredients of your document, so take some time to figure it out. I’m sure you already do that, probably subconsciously, every time you write anything, but let’s formalize it. Write a page describing your readers. Tell us how technical they want your material to be, how much they’re willing to read at a time, which topics matter to them, and just what it is you have to offer.

Audience Analysis

My dad is in his first Creative Writing class, as I’ve mentioned before. His first assignment was to write something for the class to review. The assignment was vague, but its destiny was clear: the whole class would pass judgment on whatever it was he wrote.

Email Context Audit (Business Writing Exercise)

Tweet I talked last week about the importance of writing good introductions to establish context (especially for readability down the line), and that message is never more important (or overlooked) than when you’re sitting down to write an email. We still occasionally run into the big formal business letters and memos on company letterhead, and […]

The First Page

Tweet It was a dark and stormy night, when a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in my neighborhood. True story. Nearly everything I said about introductions in Tuesday’s post, Negotiating a Connection, applies to Creative Writers just as much as it does to the Business Writers. The big […]

Negotiating a Connection

Tweet Once upon a time, you had to write an intro. Maybe it was for a business letter (probably a query letter, if you’re one of my Creative Writing readers). Maybe it was for a memo you had to write at work. More likely it was for an English class, or the essay portion of […]