All posts filed under: writing

Writing about yourself: Memoir in an age of oversharing

writing

Flickr photo by Len Matthews There has been a string of articles recently discussing the issue of writing about yourself. It started with an article in The New York Times by Susan Shapiro entitled “Make Me Worry You’re Not O.K.” She’s a writing instructor and the author of nine first-person books including three memoirs. Here’s the link: Susan Shapiro: Make Me Worry You’re Not O.K. (NYTimes.com) She described her “signature” writing assignment of writing about something […]

A question of suspense

writing

When I was in graduate school at the University of Iowa, I distinctly remember the late John Bennett saying that asking questions in the first or second graf of a story was lazy journalism. Rather the journalist should form the question in the mind of the reader without having to obliquely ask it outright. John’s motto was, “Show, don’t tell.” Lee Child writing in The New York Times frames the problem a little differently. The […]

Stillness and writing

writing

Photo: Cyndi Williams Silas House on The Art of Being Still in the NYTimes. He’s referring to young writers being still, seeing this as a common problem. He says of these young writers: They read books about writing and attend conferences, workshops and classes where they talk ad nauseam about writing. However, they spend very little time alone, thinking, much less hunkering down somewhere and actually putting words on the page. The problem is, too many […]

Attacking passive voice zombies

writing

Rebecca Johnson tweets: I finally learned how to teach my guys to ID the passive voice. If you can insert “by zombies” after the verb, you have passive voice. MightyMur adds some examples: The final, brilliant word on passive voice. “She was killed [by zombies].”

Having fun with WordPress grammar

writing

A few years ago, Automattic the company behind WordPress acquired a grammar checker called After the Deadline. It offers “contextual spell checking, advanced style checking, and intelligent grammar checking.” If you use WordPress.com, then the proofreader is automatically available. Using a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can install the JetPack plugin to get the functionality. Once installed, JetPack adds some options to your user profile. It’ll check for the following grammar miscues: Bias Language Clichés Complex Phrases […]

Want some mail in your mailbox? The Rumpus can help

writing

I blame telemarketers. Before the days of smartphones when most people had land lines, telemarketers reigned supreme. They could and would call you. A lot. Most people found it incredibly annoying. Eventually there was political will to do something about it. The federal government created the Do Not Call registry. And it was a good thing. There still are a few bad actors that call regardless or surreptitiously gain your permission to call you. But […]

Wisconsin ‘writer’ wins 2007 Bulwer-Lytton

writing

I love the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. It’s an annual contest put on by San Jose State to imagine the most horrifically written first line of a novel. It’s named after the guy who wrote: “It was a dark and stormy night.” Anyway, the 2007 winner of the contest is Jim Gleeson from Madison, Wis. Congrats, Mr. Gleeson, and here is his winning entry: Gerald began – but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost […]

30 Poems in 30 Days: June 2007

writing

The project was this: write a poem a day for the month of June 2007. It’s now July, and the poems are written. I’ve assembled the poems into an electronic chapbook in PDF format, which you can download. 30PoemsIn30Days.pdf And here are links to the 31 poems I wrote starting on May 31 and ending on June 30. My Glorious Song The Freedom of Liberation A Dormant Muscle True Love A chance to survive My […]

30 Poems in 30 Days: An Ode to the Day (30/30)

writing

An Ode to the Day It’s 5 a.m. and the birds sing their song – an ode, it is, to the day. The house lay quiet. It is too soon to tell what the day will hold, but know there is harmony in the woods close to the source spring of nature. Soon the others will stir – with breakfast, with coffee, and the house will be lively. Dogs walked, showers taken, the day will […]