#1
Hello, all. I'm currently taking a class called Writer's Craft at school. What I am learning can benefit you as a writer, so I'm going to post all my notes taken in that class, and I hope it can benefit you. I shall add more as the class progresses, but only what pertains to prose, lyrics, poetry and the like. No business related writing or anything.

***I really hope this belongs in the S+L techniques page. If not, I kindly ask a mod to tell me where to put it, or help me move it.***
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Feb. 10th, 2008 - A quality of good writing is its contribution of insight, truth, and sincerity.

This may help you become more confident when making such a contribution and increasing self-expression and acceptance. Writers may have difficulty writing at such a caliber due to the Inner Critic, who breeds fear, doubt, insecurity, and self-censoring. Remember, that most of the greatest pieces of literature (that have become classics) were at one time or another banned. Great writing is often controversial, attacked, and will not be accepted by everyone; be brave enough to write for that outcome.

Who is the Inner Critic?

The Inner Critic is the voice in a writer's head who makes critical, judgemental, or warning remarks to the writer about what has been written or the writer's ideas. It may say things like...

that is a bad/ unoriginal/ lame idea

you suck

what will your family/ friends think if you say that? They won't like you anymore. They'll be angry/ shocked/ disappointed/ sickened

A pseudonym or pen name is taken on by many writers as an answer to some of the fears and problems the Inner Critic raises.

Psychoanalyst Carl Jung defined the shadow as the part of the human personality that individuals reject and ignore. This is because the shadow is the part of the personality or self that is disliked. It is shortcomings, negative personality traits, and weaknesses. The shadow is often projected on to others. That means the things found unpleasant in other people is really what we don't like about ourselves.


Free Writing

Free writing is writing down what is in your head indiscriminately. Any thought, no matter how dark, silly, stupid, or unoriginal it is, is written down. Word choice, structure, punctuation, grammar, or anything else is of no concern at this point. All that matters is getting everything in your head in writing. There is no Inner Critic present or censoring taking place. Later, when finished, you can go back with your Inner Critic (notice "with", rather than letting your Inner Critic dictate to you) to discriminate what ideas you want to keep and discard, and move on to the rewriting phase.

Feb. 11th, 2008

Generally, we consider creating a writing under a psuedonym as a little dishonest, almost like putting on a mask. True, when the intent is to deceive, overawe, or attack. But you can create a perfectly reasonable persona, one that has some of your own background, concerns, and ideas, without being dishonest.

The term persona comes to us from the Latin translation of the Greek word for mask. A persona (Latin per + sono) was a mask worn by an actor during a dramatic performance. A mask sits between its wearer and the eyes of the world. It screens his/her aspect as it creates a surface pregnant with meaning for those who gaze upon it.

Your writing voice may be one in the same with your true self, or it may be a complete re-definition of your character. The choice is yours. Here are some tips for creating your persona:

1) Which side of the brain is your persona primarily using? Emotional, logical, imaginative, statistical?)
2) Create a persona that matches your own personality. It is hard to maintain a completely foreign personality.
3) Choose a persona with a lot to say. This adds interest.
4) Make a character sketch: Where were they born? Raised? Married, dating, or single? Career? Hobbies? What life events made them what they are today? What influences their writing choices?
5) Be consistent. Don't alter your core beliefs radically without justification.
6) Choose a persona that will grow with you, and change as you change.
7) What kind of readers do you want to attract? Like attracts like.
8) Choose a personality to emulate. Think of a celebrity, a favourite uncle, or a strange neighbour. Think of how they spoke and wrote. Combine people.
9) Most importantly, make your character believable.

Note* At first, these seem like they may not apply, but you may soon find out it's easier to write under a persona.

Feb. 13th, 2008 - Free Writing

Free association is an exercise that allows the mind to express itself without self-censorship or repression (the Inner Critic). How it works is that a trigger word is presented to a person. The person says or records the first word or phrase that comes to mind after hearing the trigger word.

This exercise serves two purposes:

1) It will practice the habit of thoughts flowing freely and without censorship.
2) It gives insight into your secret thoughts and feelings.

Free Writing

Free writing is writing down what is in your head indiscriminately. Any thought, no matter how dark, silly, stupid, or unoriginal it is, is written down. Word choice, structure, punctuation, grammar, or anything else is of no concern at this point. All that matters is getting everything in your head in writing. There is no Inner Critic present or censoring taking place. Later, when finished, you can go back with your Inner Critic (notice "with", rather than letting your Inner Critic dictate to you) to discriminate what ideas you want to keep and discard, and move on to the rewriting phase.

Review and Selection (Macro-editting)

At this point go back to reread what you have produced during free writing. Pick out what ideas you would like to keep, and which ones don't work. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help in the review and selection process.

1) What is the theme(s) that ties together everything that's been written?

2) What parts of the writing are relevant to the theme?

3) What parts of the writing are irrelevant?

4) What have you written that is beautiful, true, or unique?

Planning

Plan for the rewrite. Now that you have selected what to write about, you need to decide how to write it.

You need to decide on things like voice, tone, genre, structure, diction, etc. For today's exercise we will just look at structure, but as we move forward in the course you will need to take many other aspects into consideration as well.

Your rewrite will be in the form of a poem, so you will decide what poem structure best fits your needs.

A selection of poetic forms can be found here.

Rewriting

This time write with the material you selected to keep from the reviewing phase, and how you decided to during the planning phase. This time you should write with fair consideration for word choice, grammar, punctuation, structure, etc.

Feb. 20th, 2008 - Micro Editing

Micro-editing is the close examination and critical scrutiny of each smallest part of a whole. In writing, this means a word by word review and revision. The result is a refined and polished piece of work.

Feb. 22nd, 2008 - Writer's Block

If you ever find yourself with writer’s block, the following exercises can help:

Don’t Take It Seriously

Instead of trying to write what you want, write what you don’t want. It’s often easier to know what we don’t want. Write the sarcastic, stupid, lame version of your story. Often by purging our minds of what is wrong, in the process you will find what is right.

Mimic Another Piece of Writing

This is a great way to start writing. By mimicking another piece of writing you will have:

- a structure provided for you
- themes
- characters
- plot

Some of the greatest works of literature have been based off of other people’s writings. Consider Shakespeare, one of the greatest artists of the language: many of his plays are retellings of long established stories. Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, and MacBeth are all borrowed stories.

Collaboration:

Discussing your work with other people is a great way to overcome writer’s block. A fresh perspective and new ideas can give your work new life. For professional writing, often writers work in groups for this reason. Developing the ability to work in collaboration with other writers is important for this type of work.

Feb. 27th, 2008 - Common Errors in English

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html#errors ; A good link for people who need help with perfecting their work.
Last edited by XxGibsonSGxX at Feb 27, 2008,
#2
I am currently taking this class as well, so this should turn out to be an interesting thread.
#5
Would you guys reccomend this course? I might take it but I'm not sure how well I'd do and if it would help me later in life.
#6
Well, I recommend it to anybody. If your writing lacks, this is the class to improve it. It also can help when you need to do business related writings, if for any reason you ever need to. Although, it may differ from curriculum to curriculum. Overall, I'd take this class over any other class, probably.