Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 8 | I DID IT!!!!

The state capitol of Madison, Wisconsin
We’re off to Madison for a little staycation to celebrate my completion of the summer novel writing challenge. | The state capitol of Madison, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I did it. I set myself a goal to write a fifteen-chapter novel in fifteen days. I ended up needing an extra chapter, so I wrote a sixteen-chapter novel in sixteen days. I have officially completed the Write Your Novel This Summer Challenge!

At 83 pages and 22,935 words, my first draft is (obviously) full of holes. However, the important thing is that I finished it. The entire story is on the page. I have a beginning, middle, and an end. I did not write a single unnecessary scene. I wrote only the pieces that absolutely had to be there to hold the puzzle together. Now, on to draft #2!

What’s next for me? Continue reading “Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 8 | I DID IT!!!!”

Novel Writing, Writers on Writing

How to get your story line back on track

Master’s Thesis
Should I put my story line aside for now and concentrate on what I need to accomplish for thesis? | Master’s Thesis (Photo credit: hsivonen)

I’ve been zipping through the story line of my novel for the past couple of months in an effort to get the entire story on the page without worrying about revisions. I’ve hit 46,472 words, and I’ve been feeling pretty good about the whole thing. That is, until a few days ago when I got the idea that my story line had somehow veered away from where I wanted it to go.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m open to changing direction when it’s appropriate. However, it seems like this time I have turned down a dead-end. The story train has derailed, and I’m left wondering how to pick up the pieces of the train wreck and put it back on the right track. Continue reading “How to get your story line back on track”

Education, Essays

Criticism: How to be constructive rather than destructive

English: Students working with a teacher at Al...
How do you provide criticism to a student without destroying his or her sense of self-worth? | English: Students working with a teacher at Albany Senior High School, New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most important – and most difficult – parts of teaching is providing constructive criticism without destroying a students’ belief that he or she is capable of succeeding in school.

I recently started reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity and am working through some of the exercises she presents in her 12-week course. This morning’s task was to write about three old enemies of my creative self-worth.

I’ve been lucky in that I’ve had a lot of encouragement of my writing endeavors throughout most of my life, so it was hard for me to think of three. Then I remembered my high school Rhetoric tea Continue reading “Criticism: How to be constructive rather than destructive”

Random Writing Rants

Free-writing is hard.

English: Screenshot from Linux software KTouch...
My keyboard foils my free-writing every time. | English: Screenshot from Linux software KTouch. An image of the Home Row keys for touch typing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m in a whining mood today, and can I just say this one thing? Free-writing is hard.

It’s not what I thought it was. I have two free-writing activities that I need to do for class this week, and the first one did not go well at all.

A good chunk of my free-write turned into me whining about how free-writing is so hard to do. But I’m supposed to write what comes to mind without thinking about it, right? And when I was doing this free-write, my thoughts about how hard free-writing is just kept taking over. So, now I’m going to whine about it in this here blog post for a few minutes and get it out of my system before I attempt to tackle the other one. Continue reading “Free-writing is hard.”

Random Writing Rants

I Need Chaos to Write

Reminiscing Summer
Summer might have been sensational if I’d managed to write something. (Photo credit: Lin Pernille Photography)

It’s hard to believe summer is over already. So much for all of that writing I meant to do this summer. I only taught one course over the summer semester, and that was online so I never actually had to BE anywhere. I did a bit of freelance writing, but the work was hard to get this summer for some reason. I had a lot of time to write, yet somehow couldn’t ever seem to get anything done. Now that I’m back to school with a full-time teaching schedule, I suddenly have all sorts of material begging to be written. It seems I need chaos in my life in order to write. Continue reading “I Need Chaos to Write”

Education, Mount Mary College, Sigma Tau Delta, Uncategorized, Writing Programs

2012 Sigma Tau Delta induction

Sigma Tau Delta
Sigma Tau Delta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I officially joined the International English Honor Society at the 2012 Sigma Tau Delta induction ceremony which took place in the beautiful Caroline Hall student lounge at Mount Mary College.

According to the Sigma Tau Delta website, “Candidates for graduate membership must be enrolled in a graduate program in English, or one of its specializations, have completed six semester hours of graduate work or the equivalent, and have a minimum grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.”

I lured my children to the induction ceremony with the promise of food, and they were actually very well behaved throughout the ceremony. Perhaps it was the promise of a slice of the huge cake sitting on a back table that kept them in line. My boyfriend came along as well to keep an eye on the kids and man the video camera (he kept the camera trained on me for pretty much the entire video!) Continue reading “2012 Sigma Tau Delta induction”

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”

Education, Essays, Writers on Writing

Teaching the five-paragraph essay

English: Ernest Hemingway on safari, Kenya, 1954
Can't you just hear Hemingway mumbling about how bad first drafts suck? | Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, my Written Communication students workshopped their very first essays of the semester. I don’t like to ever ask my students to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself, so I wrote an essay along with them.

Early in the semester, I asked them to write ideas for free writing topics on little slips of paper that I placed in an envelope. We do a 10 – 15 minute free write in every class session. Sometimes I have a topic planned, and sometimes I’ll pull a couple of their ideas from the envelope and let them choose one. Usually, unless I have something I need to do to prepare for the next portion of the class, I’ll sit and free write with them. I think this is a useful activity for any w Continue reading “Teaching the five-paragraph essay”

Blogging, Random Writing Rants

Too busy to blog

Endless grading of term papers
Endless grading of term papers (Photo credit: joguldi)

It happens to the best of us. We want to write more often, but life somehow gets in the way. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got so many different projects in the works, I can’t seem to focus on any of them. And, I’m spending so much time worrying about getting my final project and paper written for one course, and my mid-term paper written for another, I have very little time left to write something I actually want to write.

Yes, here I am, complaining once again. *sigh* Continue reading “Too busy to blog”