Category Archives: Teaching writing skills

Techniques to improve skills of novices and struggling writers

Kick starting a story

Many writers believe that most readers will only read a novel that grabs their attention from the first page. A dramatic episode must unfold in the first paragraph. I witnessed a workshop in which writers were coached to do just … Continue reading

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Stories for the new stars

Walking beneath the of faces of stars glowing from two story tall billboards, I glanced down at the stars embedded into the side walk—at least when they were not covered by the feet of the crowds on Sunset Strip. Above … Continue reading

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What is the bad guy really thinking?

Do you recall the campy original Batman series in which the villain de jour always explained his detailed plan for the crime as Batman was slowly moving towards a not so sure death? Is there a problem with adding the villain’s … Continue reading

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What makes poetry, poetry?

As a young child I assumed poetry must rhyme.  Meter was beyond my comprehension. It was only that constant repetition of ending sounds that mattered. In fifth grade, the teacher encouraged us all to enter a poetry recitation contest.  The … Continue reading

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Pointed view

Almost everyone knows about first person and third person narratives in writing. Basically as humans we all see from the familiar, limited first person point of view that allows us only to know what goes on in our presence.  Much … Continue reading

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Simply unreliable

Characters who have psychological profiles, also have their own viewpoint – opinions, judgments and prejudices – concerning the world around them. The first person narrator that is a viewpoint character – such as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby – … Continue reading

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Out of character

“It fits the  perpetrator’s M.O.” … you’ve heard M.O. mentioned in so many police shows, detective novels, any kind of work related to law enforcement. What is it? A profile of a killer who has struck again collection constructed from … Continue reading

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The character who saw too much

Writing from the first person point of view routinely goes through periods of popularity only to be followed by a flood of amateurish first person novels. Then, writing “gurus” will advice the beginning writer never to write in first person. … Continue reading

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Physiological writing

What exactly are physiological reactions? Imagine you are a young teenage girl. You are waiting in the math hall, and that handsome senior with an air of indifferent confidence strolls past you on the way to calculus. Normally you are … Continue reading

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Unknown, unnerving

While watching a military movie, that was unexpectedly full of death in gory detail (i.e. multiple flying body parts) my mind decided I had seen enough gruesomeness I started laughing. Unable to squelch the giggles, I told my husband that I … Continue reading

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