I’d like to emphasize this blog post from the blog Writer Unboxed. Some very interesting results from this survey – of high interest to writers in particular. Have a look.
Another article from Matt Grant that I wanted to share, one that I know he is excited about having written.
I’ve spent a good part of my life encouraging people to write. Writing can be profitable, but it is also good for stability, growth, and your soul. People need to feel the freedom to try their hand at it, to derive whatever benefit it gives them.
To see through writer Grant’s eyes how this school operates was both exciting and a balm to my own soul. Read it and see the good people can do.
I’d like to expand upon my first INKAS post.
There are, roughly, twenty INKAS our group created. Over time, I will try to cover all of them, sharing with you what our students discovered.
Since I was working with writers in grades 3 through 8, the explanations I’ll use have been directed at kids. But, the advice still applies, and I count on you to ‘upgrade’ the tip to your own level.
Our INKAS were divided into groups. The first group consisted of stories we classified as ‘Words that Tell’; words that tell a story. This group of INKAS includes Short Story, Children’s Story, and Children’s Story with Illustrations. (I’ll elaborate on the Children’s Story categories in the future.)
We all pretty much know what a short story looks like, but the INKA will help you remember what a reader expects to find in one.
Remember the best story you ever read? Think about why you liked it. It probably had dialogue, or conversation. It’s much more interesting to ‘hear’ the characters speaking for themselves than to read about that they said. Many exciting stories start out with dialogue. What would you write for a story that started out with this line?
A story will usually have action, and description, too, to let the reader know what people and places look like.
It may sound funny, but a writer needs to make sure their story has a strong beginning, a sturdy middle, and a definite ending. Some new writers lose steam after starting out, and they simply stop writing. A good story has something definite to say, and it stops only when it has said it.
What else makes a good story? What helps it capture your imagination and keeps you reading? One answer: when you can care about the characters. And a reader only will care about the characters if the writer cares about them first.
Whatever happens in your story, whether it is full of action or full of internal thoughts and reflection, the characters should grow and change; something should happen in their lives that is important to them.
Finally, whenever you write, write what is in your heart. Write about something that you care about. Write with passion ! You will enjoy the writing more. You will stay engaged with the story, and you will keep your reader engaged, too.
An article on the innovative new book center started in NYC. written by Matt Grant, a Brooklyn writer whose blog link can be found in my list of Associated Writers’ blogs , and who – I am proud to say – is also my son-in-law.
My college roommate in Dublin: 100 pages into Sweet Corn, Fields, Forever
INKAS ? What are INKAS?
INKAS are a tool I created while working with a school writing club. We discussed what makes up a good story (or poem, or essay, etc), and then jotted down our thoughts.
We came up with INKAS for the 20 categories of writing we studied. Each INKA lists the characteristics of the type of writing named on the box. The image illustrates the definition of INKAS.
A recent discussion at our writing group showed me that some new writers don’t know (and some experienced writers lose sight of) the basic characteristics of the kinds of writing we do. So I have resurrected INKAS to help with that understanding. We begin with Short Story.
Short Story – typical length: 1500 words
- Has a complete beginning, middle, and end; is long enough to tell the whole story
May be aimed at any age
- May be based on truth, but is usually made up
May have dialogue in it (use proper quotations marks and paragraphing)
- Uses description and active words (verbs); remember the 5 senses
and a short story
… tells the reader about something
…has events that are important to the main character and that make the reader care.
…is written economically; every word counts
the following post first appeared on REMAINDER’s book page. Having updated that part of the site, I am re-posting it here so that it can be read and archived.
I wrote REMAINDER in response to a number of things. September 11. A friend, who was also my daughters’ godfather, dying of pancreatic cancer. A desire to lift up a diverse community’s ability to get along, even during times of stress. Fracture lines don’t always have to be along lines of heritage.
It became a love story and a coming of age story and a story of life. What happens when ordinary people meet circumstances that exceed the boundaries of their power? What makes a good decision, and when the decision is good for one but bad for another, how do you choose?
Living in community, even when the goal is to be independent, means that somehow, some way, your decisions are going to affect and be affected by other people. What does it look like when we navigate that? How does it play out?
Remainder, Tennessee is a small community – not even incorporated – inhabited by people who just want to live their lives their own way. The world has already made demands upon it in response to 9/11. And every resident has their own personal story. Into this delicate balance comes a steamrolling powerhouse intent on showing terrorists developing land into planned communities. Remainder stands as the final site, and Wilson Parker must acquire the land necessary for his company to build. How much land? All of it.
The residents of Remainder have decisions to make. Sell, or fight it. Even as they each face personal critical points in their lives.
The end of one life, the coming of a new one, and the daily struggle against the ghosts of past lives – like all of us, the residents of Remainder have things on their minds. How do they all cope? What becomes of the community?
Read it to see what remains.