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Tag Archives: Practice Writing

On Visual Storytelling: How to Write a Visual Scene

Tweet With all these posts lately on writing rules, I’m becoming quite the party pooper, aren’t I? That’s no fun. My goal isn’t to limit you as a writer, though — it’s to help you grow as a storyteller. Yesterday’s discussion of late attribution and flickering perspective was meant to help you spot the really […]

On Getting Better: How to Write in the Deep End

Tweet So…a conversation that started out with my gross negligence as a father has now become an essay on expertise. I guess I’m telling you to fake it ’til you make it. The sentiment has been much on my mind recently, as I just finished reading No Plot, No Problem, the NaNoWriMo handbook. It’s heavy […]

On Getting Better: Writing in the Deep End

Tweet Yesterday I told a story about throwing my daughter into the deep end of the pool. It wasn’t intentional, but it was astonishingly effective. Funny enough, I’d been thinking about that metaphor a lot lately. In the last year I’ve been thrown into the deep end at work, building incredibly challenging documents on impossible […]

On Getting Better: In Too Deep

Tweet I’ve been bragging recently about my daughter’s early education. (Joyful, joyful! The girl is learning to read!) We’ve also been trying to teach her some other skills — things like self-control, critical thinking, and fingerpainting. Last weekend, though, it was too hot to spend any time time learning (or teaching, for that matter). Summer […]

On Serial Fiction: Unkilling Athelstane

Writing serial fiction can teach you some important lessons about storytelling, like flexibility in your plot when unexpected events force you to make changes.

Extended Metaphor (Technical Writing Exercise)

This week, I want you to develop an excellent example of an extended metaphor. You’ll have to deal with all the problems I mentioned in last week’s article, but it gets harder because you’ll have to deal with them again and again, every time you go back to that well. You can do it, though. The whole trick is to spend some serious time thinking about your metaphor before you start, pick one that really works, and only talk about the aspects of it that do work.

Write a Sonnet (Creative Writing Exercise)

This week you’re going to write a sonnet. Some of you just rolled your eyes, because sonnets are child’s play. Some of you just gripped at a failing heart, because sonnets are Shakespeare-level expert stuff. If you’re in either category, you missed the point of yesterday’s post. That’s okay. I’ll say another word or two about it next Tuesday, but for now I want you to humor me.

The Creative Copy Challenge (Creative Writing Exercise)

Today’s exercise barely deserves a blog post at all, since I already spilled the beans in yesterday’s article.

Still, in case you didn’t make it to the end, I’ll say it again: Go over to the Creative Copy Challenge blog, and write a short story. Use all the words, format them so we can find them, and then come back here and post a link to your comment (once it gets approved by the moderators).

Writing Prompts

When I was in fifth grade my teacher gave us an assignment to write a one-page story using at least half of our spelling words for the week. That’s what we call a “writing prompt.” Writer’s Digest offers regular writing prompts, and most creative writing courses are built at least partially around them. The goal is to get you out of your languishing manuscript and just get you writing. They usually do that by creating a scene you haven’t thought about before, forcing you to start fresh, make something happen, and then get on with your work.

Everyone’s a Critic (Technical Writing Exercise)

Your assignment this week is to provide me detailed feedback and practice borrowing others’ inspiration, all at one go. I want you to pick an article on and critique it on your blog. Write 300-900 words analyzing the presentation, the content, the readability, the skimmability, the applicability, even the statistical distribution of non-E vowels. Go back to my advice in “What Should You Write About?” and figure out what you should write about, when you’re describing my blog.