Relationships, Truth, Written Communication

I love stationary

butterfly stationary
This is the stationary I purchased on my latest trip to B & N.

While at Barnes and Noble the other day, I spent a large quantity of time in the stationary section. I love stationary. While it doesn’t make me happy (that would be silly,) it does give me an intense feeling of pleasure to consider covering a piece of pretty paper with a good, old fashioned, handwritten letter.

I can spend as much time choosing stationary as I spend choosing a book to read. I have to get it right because I don’t write so many letters these days. Before the internet, both of my grandmothers used to send me cards and letters on a regular basis. When I was in the military, getting mail was one of the highlights of my life. One of my grandmas has since passed away, and the other still sends cards. But it’s been a long time since I have gotten anything but bills and junk in my snail mailbox. Continue reading “I love stationary”

Education, Writing Prompts, Written Communication

Wednesday Writing Prompt: The Greatest Longing

English: ink and charcoal on paper
What is the greatest longing of your main character’s soul? | English: ink and charcoal on paper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quite some time ago, I mentioned that I would be posting writing prompts for you on Wednesdays, but somehow I never managed to follow through. But, have I got a good one for you today!

One of the writing exercises I had to complete for my Advanced Novel Writing course this week included a free-write in which I had to answer the following question:

What is the GREATEST LONGING in this character’s soul? Continue reading “Wednesday Writing Prompt: The Greatest Longing”

Education, Random Writing Rants, Written Communication

Active vs. passive voice: Why you should care

Wheeeee!
Wheeeee! (Photo credit: Erika Hall)

Do you use active language in your writing? Do your teachers occasionally tell you that your writing is too passive? Are you confused about what this means? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

One of my students told me last semester that her mom is an English teacher, and that she doesn’t even bother trying to teach the difference between active and passive voice to her students anymore because none of them ever “get it.” What a shame.

I wonder sometimes why passive voice is such an easy trap to fall into. After all, active sentences are typically simpler than passive sentences and require fewer words. Wouldn’t you think the brain would take the path of least resistance and lead the writer to write more active sentences? Apparently not. Continue reading “Active vs. passive voice: Why you should care”

Writing Prompts, Written Communication

Can you write a Story A Day in the month of May?

writefirstwritefast
writefirstwritefast (Photo credit: jwordsmith)

Each week, I ask my Written Communication students to spend about 15 minutes freewriting on a specific topic. At the beginning of the semester, I asked them to each submit several freewrite ideas for us to use throughout the semester. Once in a while, I will sit down and do the activity with them. When I do, I always end up with an interesting piece of writing I likely would not have otherwise written.

I find freewriting and the use of writing prompts to be extremely useful. So, I was just sitting here thinking that it might be fun to do a similar writing prompt on my blog once a week. And, since Wednesday and Writing both start with W, I thought, why not Wednesday Writing Prompts? Continue reading “Can you write a Story A Day in the month of May?”

AWP, Conventions & Conferences, Education, Writers on Writing, Writing Programs, Written Communication

AWP 2012 | Creative Writing in the Real World

Creative writing class-fine arts center (40269...
Creative writing class-fine arts center (402690951) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it April already? I meant to write a ton of compelling blog posts about all of the sessions I attended at the March 2012 APW Convention in Chicago, but I didn’t get past describing the first session. Although I’m a bit behind, I think a lot of the lessons I learned at the convention are essential. So today, I’ll take a peek backward and tell you about the second session I attended, titled, “Out There and In Here: Creative Writing in the Real World.”

This session was presented by Abby Bardi, Rick Kemp, Janice Meer, and Adeena Reitberger in the Astoria room of the Hilton Chicago. The AWP’s official description of the session follows: Continue reading “AWP 2012 | Creative Writing in the Real World”

Education, Essays, Written Communication

Time to write another essay

Day 34 - Essay and Notes
Wanna write an essay with me? What would you write about? (No, that's not me in the picture!) | Day 34 - Essay and Notes (Photo credit: Auntie P)

My Written Communication students are writing a booklet of essays that they will be turning in at the end of this semester, and I’m planning to write a booklet of my own along with them. This week we learned about the descriptive essay in class, so they must write a descriptive essay by our next meeting. The students have been planning their essays for several weeks, but I’m just now thinking of mine. I can’t decide what to write about. I know, I should have made my outline right along with them.

The final booklet of essays will contain essays using each of the following patterns of development: Continue reading “Time to write another essay”

Education, Essays, Written Communication

My Dream Career: A 5-paragraph essay

English: Hands collaborating in co-writing or ...
Could I survive on writing alone? Or would I get too bored? | Image via Wikipedia

Earlier this morning, I wrote a post on teaching the 5-paragraph essay. In that post, I promised to share the essay I wrote for my Written Communication students this week. So, here it is…

My Dream Career

If you could have any job, what would you do? This is a typical first date question, job interview question, or composition class free writing topic, one whose answer may provide a great deal of insight into the life of the respondent. If you were to ask this question of me, my answer would surely provide insight into my psyche simply because the way I would answer is far different than the average American. Continue reading “My Dream Career: A 5-paragraph essay”