Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Revising Is a Layered Affair
What writers eventually discover is that revising is a many-layered affair. Even just a second reading of a paper or article typically turns up a number of surface-level corrections that need to be made. Later readings frequently turn up more subtle inconsistencies or incoherencies, even among experienced writers.
Posted by on 11/6/2013 3:15:00 PMComments 0
What's Your Point?
What is your point? Rude as it sounds, the question “What’s your point?” reminds writers that communication always has a purpose. We don’t write merely to put words on paper. We want to express a thought, an idea, an opinion, a feeling, even an irony, and we want someone else to understand what we’re saying. For example, the point that an image makes (whether visual or textual) must be clearly constructed. The potential irony of the two signs to the left is clear from their juxtaposition. Most handicapped persons are not going to be riding skateboards.
Posted by on 11/2/2013 1:25:00 PMComments 0
Voice and Vantage Point
Voice: Developing one’s voice is critical for writers if each of us wishes to standout as unique in a galaxy of other writers. But voice is an aspect of writing that is formed from many different elements—tone, style, and vantage point, to name a few. Vantage point is, arguably, the most impactful as it also helps shape tone and style.
Posted by on 11/2/2013 1:19:00 PMComments 0
Tightening Your Prose
Hemingway’s Influence

Writing tight prose need not make our writing dry and strangulated. Ernest Hemingway, known for his tight, concise prose style, influenced most twentieth century writers. The crispness of Hemingway’s style demonstrated that the overly elaborated style of the nineteenth century was simply unnecessary and often obscured the underlying richness of thought.

Posted by on 11/2/2013 1:59:00 PMComments 0
The Hidden Structure of Writing
The word structure can evoke images of a linear arrangement of ideas, even a certain logical rigidity. Structure, however, can also be flowing and organic. The mind creates its own connections and provides its own logic if we allow our thoughts to flow and are sensitive to the relationships that emerge. Reflective writing allows us time to recognize, explore, and play with structure in our writing.
Posted by on 11/2/2013 1:13:00 PMComments 0
More Than Just a Comparison
Over the years, I have observed students’ struggles with writing comparison papers in composition classes. Invariably, a student’s thesis will end up being that two things are alike or two things are not alike. Getting students to make the leap from this structural statement to a more focused point about what the similarities or differences reveal, suggest, or imply takes a round of repeated discussion.
Posted by on 11/2/2013 2:21:00 PMComments 0
Storytelling for Writers
Listening to some great stories today during a storytelling performance session reminded me that the art of storytelling can be an excellent exercise for writers. To tell a story artfully, capturing the listener’s attention, a storyteller must know all the component parts of the narrative but then be able to stand apart and enliven the narrative with gestures, voice, and timing. It is not enough to just tell the story, the storyteller must be able to create the significance of the story in a manner that is dramatic enough to stay with the listener.
Posted by on 11/2/2013 2:25:00 PMComments 0
Writing Teachers’ Favorite Words of Advice
All writing classes explore many of the same issues and strategies. What makes each class unique is that every professor has his or her own take on how to bring students into the writing process to help them own the experience. Writers need to realize they already have the faculties needed to be good (or better) writers, but writing instructors know certain strategies and practices can help.
Posted by on 11/2/2013 2:27:00 PMComments 0
Tracing the Blueberry Path from the Previous Blog
Directionality. Reflective writing does allow us to look inward, backward, around, and forward, feeling for connections, resonance, parallels, even incongruity among our own thoughts. These subtleties of pattern and signification are what help us develop meaning. We swallow blueberry juice from a glass and the taste carries us into the past: we remember standing in a woods, eating plump, juicy blueberries from a bush. We immediately understand the directionality of our reflections–from taste in the present to memories from the past of taste and of place. We are relating the present with the past through sensory resonance—the taste of blueberry juice and the taste of blueberries picked straight from the bush connect in our awareness. That resonance of taste creates meaning that has significance for us.
Posted by on 10/20/2013 10:39:00 AMComments 0
The Nature of Reflection
Reflecting on Language: My father had a passion for words that never dimmed. My clearest memory of him is seeing him sitting on the couch, reading, various dictionaries lined up on the couch beside him. Daddy had dictionaries for different purposes and liked to use them all. I inherited his love of words and am always curious about the etymology of words I encounter. I enjoy learning when words first appeared in English and how their defintions differ or change over time.
Posted by on 10/19/2013 3:07:00 PMComments 0

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