Once you have read through Essay Project #1 (it’s over there, to your left, on the Menu under “Essay Projects”-please be sure to read all of that link before writing with any questions), you should know what to do here; I not only explain the entire assignment in that link but also give you examples of exactly what I am looking for in your submissions. Twelve are due this week with another twelve due Week Two.
need them five paragraph
Writers On Writing Assignment, EN 101/EN 102
1- The Assignment-
Beginning the first week of the semester, we will discuss the authors and books listed below. I share links to the many sites which have excerpted and organized Writers on Writing quotes. We shall read some together, talk about them, write about them, reaction papers, assessment, dual-entry journals and finally, write because of them. Do you have to read a King novel? No, but he is an unqualified success and admired by many for his prolific output and the quality of his prose, and he has kindly shared with anyone interested how he does it. He is a valuable resource, and his help is out there, abundant and often free and inspiring. Ray Bradbury has told my students, “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it’s your turn. Jump!” King tells them, “the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” Dorothy Parker confesses in our classrooms that “I hate writing but love having written,” and Hemingway concedes that “we are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” They speak to us, we listen, we talk to another and then we write.
For this assignment, find quotes which resonate with you, share them with us, write on why they had such an effect and then compose an essay (I assign the topic) which was aided by at least one of these quotes.
We learn much in life from watching, analyzing and then trying it ourselves over and over, from tying our shoes to how to speak to how to cook, etc. You all could put me out of work by reading every day, thinking about how you’re reading, how the writer crafted his/her work and then taking the best from this person and that one and synthesizing it into your own writing. I can talk all day about writing, but until you get active, even just being an active reader, it pretty much comes to nothing.
Therefore, let’s focus these first two weeks on “writers on writing.” I have provided links to great sites on this subject. Dozens of pieces of advice from the professionals await you there! If for any reason you cannot access that website or wish to find more writers on writing quotes, simply Google “writers on writing” and you will find enough sites and examples to be able to do this assignment.
What you submit to me: the final draft along with the first two versions you worked on with our in-person tutors and/or e-Tutoring.
Here are several links to writers on writing:
This one has more advice on non-fiction; however, all of these should be useful, whether writing fiction or non-fiction:
After we complete our first essay assignment, there will be an accompanying reflective piece on how Writers on Writing advice helped you in composing your essay. This reflective piece on the process to be included in your portfolios, and then before the final week, I will ask you to select one of the quotes on which you wrote during the semester, to write a final reflection on how it has influenced you, and I conclude it with your taking one of them and “sharing” it with my next semester’s students along with the best related advice you can give them. Often, I take these pages and do share them with future students and repeat the process year after year. Perhaps the best part of this assignment is that you, too, now are quotable, valuable resources, that as T.S. Eliot wrote, “…last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice.” Learn the language, and become its voice! I want for you to feel the importance of having joined the community of writers, of plugging into a tradition which has been happening without pause for over five thousand years. Doing this only once or twice a semester might give you some inspiration, but doing it every week reinforces what you have read, what you write, informs you through the act of writing that this work is big, important and valuable.
2- Why We Do This-
I love learning about artists’ processes, how they get to that state, that place where they can compose a special musical piece, paint a masterpiece, dance to the delight of thousands or, of course, write a great poem, story or play. How do they open a path, and/or how do they remove any obstacles? Does their art come from a routine or throwing away the rules? What works for them? Then, as a musician and a writer, I want to know what they do that might also work for me; I want to create my own path and voice, unquestionably, but even the greatest of explorers sometimes relied on a compass, a guide, a friendly native pointing them in the best direction. I want this for myself and to share with you, to help you overcome any attendant fears or doubts or sense of having no direction. Other students often comment on “just not knowing how to start,” whether talking about a poem in Creative Writing or an essay in Comp I. Certainly, I know strategies I can teach you all to get writing, freewriting to clustering to the Reporter’s Questions, and I encourage you to “just let go and let the writing happen, don’t judge it, don’t let the Inner Critic stop you,” and this usually helps, but I also realize that I am just one voice you will hear and that having an open circle of support is typically better than just one point. Why not turn, when possible, to a fantastic resource- the very writers whose works we are reading and analyzing and enjoying as well as other writers of their caliber? We can turn, we should turn to such professionals; this is an example of Ethos, a term coined by Aristotle meaning that a person can be persuasive based on his or her reputation and accomplishments.
I have read quite a few classic “Writers on Writing” books: Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers and more. Each has scratched that itch I have about artistic processes while also benefitting me both as writer and musician-creating one’s own writing place, for instance, can produce a quality guitar piece just as well as it can a strong short story. Writer on writing has benefitted me, and like a good parent, I want my students to have everything I have had and more. Turning each of you onto these accomplished pros and their accomplished prose is an endowment (I cannot leave you money-I have none!).
Classrooms can be as strong a community as one experiences, with common goals, caring, well-trained teachers and open-minded, hungry students-great learning has occurred in these small spaces. Yet, writing also can be one of the most solitary practices, each of us alone in the end with a pen or keyboard, powerful feelings and tentative thoughts, our inner cheerleader and inner critic our only company. How wonderful is it, then, to be able to invite some of the Greats in for a visit, let them remind us to sit comfortably, to “go in fear of abstractions” (Pound) and that “if you wish to be a writer, write” (Epictetus). Reflection on these writers leads to self reflection, metacognition and becoming writers themselves.
4-Sample journal entries from my Summer 2014 EN 102 OL class:
Rakash Singh, EN 102
1. Stephen King, “In both writing and sleep we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our day time lives.”
I took from Stephen King to view writing as being a creative process that needs to be simply creative! I don’t really stop my regular life to write. For example on the reader response journal for Greasy Lake, I continued making my hamburger helper while I was writing the response. Though I am satisfied with the response, it could have been an experience of pleasure vs. a task. I think when something is viewed as art, and a form of expression, you’ll produce just that.
1. Stephen King, ““I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.”
This one I found very funny (ps it took a lot for me not to write “highly hilarious”). I am what you would call “wordy.” I tend to suffocate my writing in adjectives. I do this to try and get the reader to really understand what I’m trying to convey, but it usually results in an unenjoyable read. I think going forward I will visualize my writing as meal, and the adjectives in my writing as the seasoning of the meal. Enough said. =)
Melissa Johnson, EN 102
“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
― George R.R. Martin
I particularly loved this quote by George R.R. Martin. It describes my writing style completely as well as my way of life. The quote expresses the two different writing styles one of which being very detailed and thought out ahead of time (which isn’t me) and the other one that simply writes words and figures it out along the way. In life I tend to be a planner but everyone knows that things get in the way and plans change. In my writing, I tend to put words on the page and see where things go. I quite simply relate to the gardener side of this piece. Are you an architect or a gardener?
“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.”
― Red Haircrow
The quote by Red Haircrow explains that your writing style should be your own and no influenced by what others think. You should make your own decisions in life and let everyone else decide if they like your or not. What do we always care what other people think? Being a dancer in my past I can definitely relate to what the author is stating. In order to be the best dancer you have to dance for yourself, not for the others around you. This idea can be brought into everyday life and the decisions we make for ourselves.
“Anyone who says writing is easy isn’t doing it right.”
― Amy Joy
Amy Joy stated this perfectly! I struggle with my writing and tend to make tons of revisions before the final draft. I agree with her that if writing is easy then something is not right. I wish writing came to me easier but this course and this quote has pushed me out of my hiding place and allowed me to get stronger.
Samuel Alexander, EN 102
“Because here’s the thing: No matter how much one tells stories of magical beasts or impossible worlds, in the end, it is always the world of here and now one is writing about. The better one understands that world, the more powerful the stories will be.”
— Steven Brust
Steven Brust’s advice to understand the world impacted me, because that is what I do every day as an Illustrator. It is great advice because when one diligently seeks to understand the world and their surroundings, it creates a foundation for their creativity to be built upon. Brust revealed to me that I can also utilize this process for writing. One way I can make his advice a part of my writing process is to pay closer attention to the real problems in the world. This will allow me to create greater conflict in my writings that can easily relate to or challenge others.
“Three things are in your head: First, everything you have experienced from the day of your birth until right now. Every single second, every single hour, every single day. Then, how you reacted to those events in the minute of their happening, whether they were disastrous or joyful. Those are two things you have in your mind to give you material. Then, separate from the living experiences are all the art experiences you’ve had, the things you’ve learned from other writers, artists, poets, film directors, and composers. So all of this is in your mind as a fabulous mulch and you have to bring it out. How do you do that? I did it by making lists of nouns and then asking, What does each noun mean? You can go and make up your own list right now and it would be different than mine. The night. The crickets. The train whistle. The basement. The attic. The tennis shoes. The fireworks. All these things are very personal. Then, when you get the list down, you begin to word-associate around it. You ask, Why did I put this word down? What does it mean to me? Why did I put this noun down and not some other word? Do this and you’re on your way to being a good writer. You can’t write for other people. You can’t write for the left or the right, this religion or that religion, or this belief or that belief. You have to write the way you see things. I tell people, Make a list of ten things you hate and tear them down in a short story or poem. Make a list of ten things you love and celebrate them…”
— Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury’s advice intrigued me, because he first explains that all creativity for writing can be found in your head—your experiences from “your birth until right now”. In addition to this truth, Bradbury offers incredible advice on how to awake that creativity by simply making lists of nouns and asking, “Why did I put this word down? What does it mean to me? Why did I put this noun down and not some other word?” This advice is especially helpful and familiar to me, because this is exactly how I work as an artist when formulating and creating a composition for a story. I will incorporate this advice into my writing, by coming up with different nouns and titles and answering his three questions to fully comprehend their meanings and spark my creativity.
I took Ray Bradbury’s advice and decided to write ten nouns/titles of things that I love and are very personal to me. I also chose one and answered his three questions “Why did I put this word down? What does it mean to me? Why did I put this noun down and not some other word?” My list:
The Savior, The Eternal Friendship, The Redeeming Trials, The Stones and Diamonds, The Shore, The Violin, The Tumbling, The Whimsical, The Basement, The Imaginative Mind, The Experience.
I wrote down “The Stones and the Diamonds”, because of a story I had recently heard that greatly impacted me. In the story, a boy walking on a path hears a faint voice say to him, “Pick up as many stones as you can, large and small. Place them into your bag and carry them up the mountain.” The boy, seeing no one, was a somewhat disturbed by the voice and eventually concluded that he was dehydrated. In response, he took a large sip of water and continued his hike. A few hours later, the strange voice again whispered to the boy, “Pick up as many stones as you can, large and small. Place them into your bag and carry them up the mountain.” Certain that he heard a voice and driven by a childlike curiosity, the boy obeyed and filled his bag with stones. The stones made the journey up the mountain difficult for the boy, but he pressed on. As he reached the top of the mountain, the voice spoke one last time, however this time it told him, “Reach into your bag and take out the stones”. Frustrated and tired, the boy obeyed the voice one last time in the hope that it would leave him. As the boy pulled out the stones, he was suddenly awestruck. The heavy, tiresome, and muddy stones, had transformed into crisp cut shimmering diamonds. If you have not already comprehended the moral of the story, the “Stones” represent all of the many challenges in life, such as learning how to write a letter as a child, being trained for a new job, or even taking Composition II class to help improve your reading and writing skills. Though difficult at first, these challenges will eventually turn into “Diamonds” — refining and maturing your character. In order to grow as a person, we must boldly confront every new challenge, cultivating them until they turn into diamonds. I specifically used these two nouns “Stones and Diamonds”, because they are the central point of the story; and they make a great title.
Casey Brady, EN 102
“Those who write are writers. Those who wait are waiters” -A. Lee Martinez
This also goes along with being a leader and a follower. If you are going to be your own person and do what you want and have the passion to do it, you are a leader. If you practice writing you are going to be a good writer. On the other hand, if you wait for others to lead your way than a waiter is all you’ll ever be. Your not going to go anywhere, your not going to improve. I am going for my dream right now because noone else is going to get me where i need to be, but myself. I have a good work ethic so that I can get material out so people can hear me and I work on my craft so that I an get better. I disagree with the saying, “Good things come to those who wait”. No, good things come to those who actually do something about it. I will wait no longer!
“There are lots of guys out there who write a better prose line than I do and who have a better understanding of what people are really like and what humanity is supposed to mean-hell, I know that” -Stephen King
This is an everyday life lesson. A person can be so good at something or one of the best, but there are always going to be others who are higher up than him or her, and that is fine-I have other things on which to care. I am a great writer and singer, but I know that so many others are better than me. They have more experience, and understand their craft more and that is fine. Everyone is different though which makes noone absolutely perfect because everyone has their own idea of perfect. I just try to do everything I can to the best of my ability. King’s quote inspires me to keep my focus on my growth, that I’m not in a contest.
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