Notes on the Craft
Photo by Craig Clevenger
I’m a big believer that art happens only when one pays attention to the craft. To that end, I try to be as specific as possible when teaching or offering feedback on students’ work. Each of these essays addresses a specific part of the craft of writing; some have previously appeared over at the Cult, others are exclusive to LitReactor. Most of these come from questions and follow-up discussions with students on the Cult, or are a result of input from some of you here at LitReactor. Now back to work.
1: The Devil in the Details
A good description uses lots of details to paint a vivid picture for the reader; a great description uses just a few details placed in opposition to each other to elicit an image from the reader's imagination. This essay originally appeared over at The Cult.
2: Cave Men, Sharks, and the Doors of Perception
Three common errors that are easy to spot and easy to fix, which makes for a radical improvement in your prose.
3: Night of the Living Syntax: Disembodied Action
On giving your characters volition by making their actions deliberate, plus a handy postscript on the erroneous concept of the "passive verb." This essay originally appeared over at The Cult.
4: Going the Distance
Some personal thoughts on planning a story... and then sticking with it.
5: Talking Heads, Hearing Voices and the Disappearing Narrator
A few practical techniques for writing dialogue.
6: The Safety of Transgression versus the Risk of Honesty
In: Craig Clevenger, Theme, Transgressive, Writing
Being deliberately transgressive is the safest move a writer can make.
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