Elizabeth Gilbert was once an "unpublished diner waitress," devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of 'Eat, Pray, Love,' she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.
See an inspiring TED Talk from Elizabeth Gilbert HERE.
"Writers ought to write and I take up my pen in the hope that it may loosen my spirit."
-- E.M. Forsters
You see me write a lot about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) around here, but NaNoWriMo doesn't start for another 211 days -- what's a writer to do?
Enter National Poetry Month, and you guessed it -- National Poetry Writing Month ( yes -- NaPoWriMo)!
In honor of this momentous occasion, I'd like to share a couple of resources to help get the poetic juices flowing:
1) NaPoWriMo.net offers a 30 poems in 30 days challenge. Much like NaNoWriMo which challenges novelists each November to reach a word count goal in 30 days, NaPoWriMo lists poetry writing prompts on its web-site each day in the month of April. For instance, the prompt for Day 1 was an ekphrastic poem (poem inspired by or about a work of art). This could be something like a sonnet or a haiku or free verse. The prompt for Day 3 (today) is to write a charm – a simple rhyming poem (think nursery rhymes!). You don't have to use the daily prompt -- just write! And when you're all done, if you publish your poems to your blog or web-site, you can share that with NaPoWriMo as well; they also feature Participants' Sites on their web-site.
2) The complete 10-week Poetry for Kids course lays out 10 simple poetry lessons that you can do once per week for 10 weeks or all at once! Some of the lessons:
Check them out! And, if you prefer for someone else to lead this journey into the poetic and the rhythmic, let us know -- we have a great class for you -- Poet's Corner!
Now go be brilliant. Come back, and email me your poetry. If I like it, I'll publish it here and on our Facebook Page.
Calling all writers!
I am looking to publish two to three stand-out pieces here on The Writer's Community. Pieces can be on any topic and be considered poetry or prose.
Please keep submissions to approximately 500 words due to space constraints.
Those pieces that are selected for publication will be returned to the author with a free sample of our instructional writing service. See another sample HERE.
Please send all submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our last NaNoWriMo class was on December 16. What a great experience and memorable journey it was. On with the publishing phase!
For help with publishing your novels, see our NaNoWriMo Specials.
On our last day, the students had some fun with writing prompts. Check them out HERE.
"Two years ago we offered a creative writing class to our homeschool group using the NaNoWriMo resources as our guide. Many of the children in the class were reluctant writers — including my own. I was hopeful, but doubtful. How were two boys who never wrote anything of their own free will and volition going to sit down and write a novel in one month?"
My writing students at Mosaic Freeschool began their noveling adventures last Friday! See National Novel Writing Month.
You can see what they've been up to this fall by reading our update on Mosaic Minutes.
This is my third year teaching writing to homeschoolers. I love working with homeschooled students! Please keep us in mind when considering hiring a writing coach for your kids. Our prices are reasonable and your young writer's skills will improve!
National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a., NaNoWriMo, is almost upon us!
What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? According to the Young Writers Program website, NaNoWriMo is:
National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It's a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!
In 2011, my two children (ages 11 and 8 at the time) participated in the program, wrote, and ultimately self-published, 10,000 and 1,000 word novels, respectively.
Prior to "winning" NaNoWriMo, I would have characterized them as non-writers -- only writing when absolutely necessary, and almost never attempting anything close to creative writing. I was delighted to watch this process un-fold. Over the course of the 30-day challenge I saw them struggle, concentrate, create, suppress inner editors, fight writers block, and finish their novels by the deadline!
Last year, my oldest attempted NaNoWriMo again, but only wrote about 2,000 words before throwing in the towel. He was taking a journalism class that fall and wasn't able to find the time or inspiration to write a novel.
This year we are giving it another go! We are joining forces with a group of students and meeting twice a month to prepare for our writing adventure. There are some wonderful ideas emerging already, and as facilitator of the group I am so looking forward to seeing these novels come to fruition next month.
It's not too late to sign up for NaNoWriMo -- simply click the typewriter graphic above. Educators: there are Lesson Plans for grades K-12 and grade/age appropriate Workbooks available, too -- all for FREE. If you have 10 students or more, you can even order classroom noveling kits for a small donation. The kits include a writing progress wall-chart, stickers, and NaNo buttons for the "winners".
If you have any questions about how the program works, please drop us a line in the comment section. Now sign up, set a goal, and join us in creating something great!
A few weeks ago, we gave you some basic pointers on how to punctuate dialogue. Now that you know where the periods and end quotes go, it's time to understand how we can make our dialogue more interesting to read!
First of all, good dialogue does a few important things to the story.
But how can you accomplish these things effectively, especially if you are not a seasoned writer?
Let's take the first part: Dialogue helps us understand the relationship between characters. Below, I'll give you an example of dialogue that does not accomplish this, and second, an example of dialogue that does.
"What time do you have?" Sarah asked tentatively.
The second set of dialogue lets us know that Sarah was asking a stranger for the time and not someone she already knew. Also note: eliminate the use of adverbs in dialogue tags when possible, such as "tentatively" and "brusquely." Show through the actual dialogue how something is being said or asked. It's perfectly acceptable to use says/said, asks/asked as dialogue tags.
Our second objective: Moving the story along might look something like this:
"I'm terribly sorry," Sarah choked back tears, "it's just that I have a very important meeting and everything that can go wrong has gone wrong."
Our last objective: Increasing tension, might look something like this:
"Downtown," Sarah ventured, "at Main, between 5th and 6th Streets?"
Now we've hopefully got you wondering what the gist of the story is -- whether or not the plot is about to unfold.
Again, note our verb choices: choked back (tears), sighed, ventured. All better choices than he said/she said or she asked/he asked, although it is perfectly acceptable to use said and asked, sparingly.
Care to continue the story? Feel free to give me the next set of dialogue in the comment section. If it's believable, I'll approve it for publishing here!
Our Back-to-School Sale has been extended to 9/30/13. Please let us know how we can help your budding writers achieve success this year!
We could write several articles on how to write good dialogue for a story, but first we need to know how to punctuate dialogue!
Here are five basic rules to get you started:
1) Use a comma between your dialogue and the tag line. What's a tag line? The tag line is the words you use to identify the speaker.
"I don't want summer to end," sighed the boy.
Try to use he said/she said very sparingly. It gets boring. Things can be said in so many different ways...he sighed, she groaned, we shouted, they queried (instead of they asked!).
2) Periods and commas go inside quotation marks. Off-set the tag line with commas if it interrupts the sentence and do not capitalize the first letter of the first word in the second half of the sentence.
"I don't think," he muttered, " that we should have to go back to school yet."
3) Sometimes the punctuation goes outside the quotation marks if it is not part of what's being quoted.
What do you do when you hear, "I'm just not ready yet"?
Notice that we off-set with a comma before the actual quote, that we open and close the quote with quotation marks and, in this particular case, no other punctuation. The question mark after the end quote is all we need.
4) If you need to use a quote within a quote such as for titles of plays or books, use single quote marks for the inside quote.
"Mom told me to read 'War and Peace' on my summer break, can you believe that?" the boy asked incredulously.
For interior dialogue, you can use italics instead, but whatever you choose, choose to be consistent.
5) If you are directly quoting someone, but leave out part of the quote, use ellipses to indicate what's being left out.
He said, in part, "I'd rather not go back to school this year....maybe I'll travel the world instead."
This should be enough to get you started with punctuating your dialogue correctly. We'll be back soon with some ideas on how to write better dialogue.
Don't forget all Gathering Ink services are $5 off until 9/15/13.
From now until September 15, 2013, Gathering Ink is offering $5 off all services!
Simply click the S-A-L-E graphic to the right to Get Started!
What can we offer you at Gathering Ink?
We offer affordable evaluation and timely turn-around of your writing projects from creative writing to research reports to college essays. Gathering Ink offers constructive critique delivered in an encouraging and instructional manner. Adherence to grammar and punctuation rules, sentence structure, as well as overall flow and feel of the writing are emphasized. For home educators: if your writing curriculum does not offer specific guidance of your student's completed assignments, then our services may be the perfect complement.
Gathering Ink is perfect for home schoolers, college students, or any individual looking for assistance with writing technique. We do not issue grades or scores. True learning comes when obstacles are removed and the writer can find a safe place to be critiqued. We provide thorough feedback aimed to encourage, not to frustrate. By implementing the suggestions and returning the work for review, writers can feel a sense of accomplishment and gain a deeper understanding of how to improve their writing, eventually becoming independent self-editors.
This is a forum where you can ask questions about your writing projects. We'll do our best to answer them or post helpful links to get you pointed in the right direction. Occasionally we may feature exceptional pieces of writing, such as poems or short stories/essays. To ask a question or to submit a piece for consideration, please email your question or writing piece to: