Tag Archives: craft

Cerebral Crotch Rockets, Reblog

This just shot through the ether and landed on Dogpatch’s doorstep. Kristen’s post is guaranteed to muscle you into the writing zone. Enjoy!




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I’m Hearing Voices, Strong Ones – Paragraph Analysis

“Two things to get straight from the beginning: I hate doctors and have never joined a support group in my life. At seventy-three, I’m not about to change. The mental health establishment can go screw itself on a barren hilltop in the rain before I touch their snake oil or listen to the visionless chatter of men half my age. I have shot Germans in the fields of Normandy, filed twenty-six patents, married three women, survived them all, Continue reading


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Writing Styles – What is Yours? A Test

Check out the writing analysis in a post by Joe N, a nurse working, living, and writing in Nepal.

The tool he highlights dovetails nicely with a book I’m reading, Stanley Fish’s “How to Write a Sentence.” It’s an interesting analysis of writing styles, but the tool found in Joe’s post may also use verb selection and placement, sentence length, and vocabulary to make the analysis more complete. Continue reading

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Pixar’s Story Tips

This dog

Dogpatch white dog

was wandering around through someone else’s blog this morning, Circles Under Streetlightsand discovered a fab reblog of Pixar’s story writing tips from the Indie Writers Guide.

Check out both sites for additional great info. 

Hope your Thursday writing selves are getting things done!

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Waiting for Robin Hood

While I ponder the nature of time, taking the time to find the right word, create the right sentence, and place those right sentences in order until I have a piece that “works”—I am filled with a sense of dread as challenges to write 12 books in 12 months or to write a novel in a month pop up online like prairie dogs. Now I’m not slamming those particular endeavors, no siree. Anyone who can put out that many words deserves respect for their hard work.

And yes, it does light the fire of urgency under writers who are sitting on their thumbs. It gets their hands out from under their butt cheeks and on the keyboard or wrapped around a pen, putting words on the page. But let’s now talk about a little thing like QUALITY. Continue reading


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Composting 101

Symptoms Problem Solutions
Story has unpleasant odor. Not enough air due to overwrought word choice or compaction.

If there is an odor of ammonia, too much pure crap is standing in the way of the real story.

Strip the pile of its dense, soggy materials and replace with crisp, crackling prose to soak up excess bulls#!t.

Turn the pile, add fresh material, and move narrative elements around to aerate.

Cover pile (put in drawer to rest) until inclement weather subsides.

Story is rich and warm only in the center. Failure to build heat/tension. Pile is too small. Narrative elements are missing.

Insufficient conflict.

Not enough air. See first symptom.

Lack of nitrogen. Rich material is superficial. Go deeper.

Make pile bigger. Identify missing narrative elements.

Add water by sticking a garden hose into the center in several locations.

Turn the pile to aerate narrative elements.

Mix in nitrogen, otherwise known as conflict.

Add or remove backstory.

Toss and start over!!!!

Story temperature exceeds 160°F. Not enough air, lack of carbon, prose is turning purple. Turn the pile to aerate.

Mix in 2 parts Hemingway for every one part bad Faulkner.

Large, undecomposed items remain in the story even after considerable time has passed. Ya got some clunkers there. Read to friends and remove sections that make them grimace.

Shred clunkers before adding new material.

In the middle of the night, rodents, coyotes, and raccoons lurk in the shadows near the story, waiting for a chance to raid the juicy bits. Your prose is attracting aggressive nocturnal elements. This is usually a sign that the writing is going well. Animal-proof your work area only if this bothers you.



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Reading to Write

Where have you been all my life? I don’t know how I missed you as I was wandering my way through my MFA. I don’t know why no one talked about you, not a teacher, a fellow student, or my next door neighbor. I once was lost, was blind, but now I’m found. Hallelujah! Continue reading

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