Strongly affected. . . Prompt #347

Today’s writing prompt is a visualization . . . then the prompt. Set yourself up for an uninterrupted twenty minutes. Get comfortable. Have your writing implements nearby . . . paper and pen or computer. Settle into your chair. Feet flat on floor. Hands relaxed. Rotate shoulders in a circle. Reverse direction. Stretch arms out in front. Arms overhead. Arms to the side. Take a deep breath in. Hold. Let go. Feel your feet connected to the floor. And that connection goes down into the earth, way down, deep down, to the center of the earth. Firmly planted, deeply rooted. Feel the connection up your legs, through your calves, into your knees. Feeling connected up into your thighs. Completely relax into your chair, letting go of all tension that might be in your legs and thighs. Just let go. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Let your hands go limp….

Just Write

Write Memoir in Voice of Narrator

Whether you tell your story chronologically, or with flashbacks, or with intercutting, it’s important to write your memoir in the voice of the narrator. Examples of these different ways of telling a story are used in The Write Spot Anthology: Discoveries. “Maintaining a solid narrative structure is critical to ensure readers move in step with the sequence of life events. . . When they [readers] can follow your progression as a character, they can also fully enter your story.” —Dorit Sasson, “Refresher Course,” The Writer, February 2016 Note from Marlene: When writing about something that happened in childhood, use appropriate age-based language. Show character growth by using adult language when writing about the character as an adult. Examples of narrative structure, character growth and details on how to use intercutting in your writing can be found in The Write Spot Anthology: Discoveries.

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Personal Essay As Therapy

“One reason we choose to write essays instead of another kind of nonfiction piece is because we can use the personal essay as a kind of therapy. Sometimes the act of writing gives us the opportunity to work through the conflict and come up with another way of looking at the situation. As the writer explores her problem, owns it, and then comes up with a resolution that will change how she relates to her problem in the future, the reader will be looking at her own life and doing the same thing. That’s why the essayist must be committed to the process of discovery and must be as honest as she possibly can be about what she uncovers. More than any other piece of nonfiction, the personal essay has to be written and rewritten and rewritten, often many times, to get to the heart of what it is we…

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Thumbnail sketches

Figure drawing classes often start with timed gesture drawings of initial poses lasting as short as five seconds before the model moves. Gradually the time increases to 10, 15 and 30 seconds. By the time you get to a minute, it feels as if you have all day to capture the pose on your sketch pad. The idea is to keep you free, dexterous and more focused on process than product. Such short bursts also keep you from taking yourself too seriously—otherwise, you’d quickly become frustrated. —“Train Your Eye for Better Writing,” by Tess Callahan, Writer’s Digest September 2017 Tess suggests you can do the same with writing. “At odd moments throughout the day, in a diner or in transit, jot down gestures, expressions or snatches of overheard dialogue. . . . Whether or not these little moments make it into whatever story you are writing, they will deepen your…

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Emulate Writers to Improve Your Writing

The following is an excerpt from “Train Your Eye for Better Writing,” by Tess Callahan, September 2017, Writer’s Digest: “I encourage my students to read deeply a broad range of writers, and after each one, try writing a few sentences in that wordsmith’s style. For example, take a signature line from William Faulkner. . . and, while keeping the sentence structure intact, pluck out all of the nouns and verbs and replace them with your own. Don’t place these emulated lines directly into your own writing. . . Instead, the idea is to practice emulating lines so that the many different styles can work their way into your brain, spin around in the blender of your subconscious, and serve to inform your own unique voice. No art form exists in a vacuum. The impressionists were friends and rivals who hung around in the same cafes, shared, traded and borrowed, and…