Category: Writing

A Design-Based Approach to Storytelling

A Design-Based Approach to Storytelling

I’m one of those writers who loves plot for plot’s sake. (Which is probably one reason I’m drawn to genre fiction.) But one thing I’ve found is that outlining a plot is a wretched place to begin. I’ve known since my NaNoWriMo days that I’m not a plotter. But I’m a not a seat-of-my-pantser, either. …

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Today, You Can Take a Poem through Seven Drafts

Today, You Can Take a Poem through Seven Drafts

I want to offer you something that I developed in my sophomore English class last year. I’m always trying to get my students to revise. Revision is where all the creative decision-making happens in writing. I came up with a method for pushing a freewriting through seven drafts, and into a focused, straightforward expression of …

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Five Ways to Jackhammer through Creative Block

Five Ways to Jackhammer through Creative Block

We all get stuck. And waiting around for inspiration to strike is…well, let’s just say it’s not a winning strategy. We know this. So what can we do about creative block? I’m a teacher, but I’m also a creative professional — a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, who’s dabbled in music, theater, cartooning, and other …

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Freewriting Works. So Why is it a Tough Sell?

Freewriting Works. So Why is it a Tough Sell?

I’ve been teaching the technique of freewriting to high school students for a dozen years. Peter Elbow invented it. Buy and read his book, Writing without Teachers. The theory in a nutshell is this: you can more efficiently clarify your thinking, invent thesis statements, or whatever, if you warm up your brain by writing some …

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Writing Poetry: How to Live with Your Terrible First Drafts

Writing Poetry: How to Live with Your Terrible First Drafts

You Suck at Writing Poetry. The first draft is always a failure. If you’ve ever tried writing poetry, I bet you know this. I have a theory. Lots of people try poetry. Most would sooner admit to watching porn on their lunch break. But they do. They try it, but they get stuck. Because they …

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How to Write Fiction: 5 Books That Are Actually Useful

How to Write Fiction: 5 Books That Are Actually Useful

  My Quest for Useful Books on How to Write Fiction. I have a confession. I call myself a writer, but I’ve never read Stephen King’s On Writing. Yes, the classic on how to write fiction. The one everyone quotes. Haven’t read it. I know. Sacrilege. I’m assuming you’re here because you haven’t gotten around …

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