What is Fiction, what is Not?

I open at random one of my favorite books of Nonfiction, Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands.   Page 19: Half and Half There was a muchacha who lived near my house. La gente del pueblo talked about her being una de las ortras, “of the Others.” They said that for six months […]

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The Blue House, Episode 2: Proportions

Beth Kephart: It’s one thing to take a measuring tape to a set of architectural blueprints and announce a series of dimensions. It’s quite another to think and write of a house proportionately. What was small and what was large, and in relationship to what, precisely? Think of the work […]

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The Blue House, Episode 1: Intro

“Installed in the moment. Awash with history.” That’s what writer Beth Kephart says about our childhood homes. And it is the line pushing me to post about this topic.   A quick authorial note, I did not just happen on the article. But our instructor, and fellow doctoral student at […]

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Target Practice

All around me: the crisp cool morning air, permeating the two exterior walls of my childhood bedroom; my wife in the room with me, tapping out the voice-over to her newest YT video; my sister downstairs singing to the dogs; the periwinkle blue carpet holding me up; a warm mate, […]

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The Writer’s Lexicon: Went . . . -em- !

First, a charm. Second, a blast. Third, no prob. Forth and fifth too.   But then came sixth period. A monster of a period. What do employees want to do their last hour? The bad ones slack off. The good ones sprint. Either way we expend our pent up oodles […]

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The Writer’s Lexicon: Turn Very

Just a word. Any word.   The class wouldn’t respond, weren’t responding.   What starts with the letter P?   Silence, followed by cell phone screen tapping and eye lash twirling.   What about A? . . . A?   One student’s lips trembled. I figured, that’s a start.   […]

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The Writer’s Lexicon: Shrug Sigh Think

Man, got home with a terrible headache! Backache. I’m sitted (seated) crisscross at the floor of my childhood bedroom, pounding away at the keys. Welp, here it is, another installment of . . . VOCAB IMPROVEMENT.   Today I read about the three words in the title of this post. […]

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The Writer’s Lexicon: Nod, Noisy, Said, Sat, SMH

Today I would like to try something different. Instead of blurting out one exercise paragraph after the other, I figured to write about my day at school. The goal is the the same: avoid instances of the title irritations. No nodding. No “noisy” or “loud.” No Said! And No sitting […]

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The Writer’s Lexicon: Irritations Be Gone!

Today’s exercise tackles the issue of characters clearing their throat. It seems I am not the only one asking my people to cough-cough every couple of scenes. This is a prevalent action, sort of a cop out. Really, the solution would be to understand the character’s motivation better, and reveal […]

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The Writer’s Lexicon: Bring the Vocab

In today’s exercise, the author of Writer’s Lexicon asks us to replace all iterations of the word “bring.” Look no farther, she indicates, than the dictionary definition: “to carry, convey, conduct, or cause . . .” The definition provides your synonyms.   The solution requires that we pay attention to […]

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The Writer’s Lexicon: Big Replacements

In this chapter we are asked to tackle the big problem of using the word big in our stories. To work this, we are given a series of paragraphs to improve. Tools include utilizing “-size,” such as “roach-sized,” or “saucer-sized”; synonyms that characterize; and simple show not tell.   Ready? […]

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The Writer’s Lexicon: Soar Beyond the Limits

In this edition of the Writer’ Lexicon, Ms Steinemann urges us to invent adjectives (a form of loosening the neurons, if you will) just as Lewis Carroll did.   Combination   The nineteenth century author combined words to create slithy (slimy+lithe), and even mimsy (miserable+flimsy).   Let’s have a go […]

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Commune Exercise Day 5: Perfect Your Practice

Take 2 minutes to describe your “daily ideal” for writing. Relevant to your life, particular to you.   Manias: quiet or music, closed space, uninterrupted. Long stretch of time or at least two hours (minimum 1 hr). Completely for myself first drafts, with reading option. Email sharing not until full […]

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Putting It All Together: Reflections on Chapter Five

I did not reflect on the last chapter, because it was essentially a recap. So quickly let us recap.   According to Mr Ed, all good beginnings have, to various degrees, the following:   Backstory (or events before the book) Setup (events leading up to the start of the story) […]

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