Monday, March 29, 2010

Use Specific Details in Your Writing

As you write - particularly as you approach the Symbol section of Introduction to Fiction and Poetry, the details in your piece will play a key role in holding the reader's interest.  You can follow the link to Learn More about using Specificity of Detail to Enhance the Tone and Interest in Your Stories.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Writing Sonnets with Meter, Rhythm, and Proper Form

Sonnets, as short as they are, sometimes strike fear into the hearts of poets.  For those unaccustomed to the challenges of writing in meter, they take a bit more work - you find yourself counting syllables and checking stress with nearly every word.  Added to this is the requirement to fit the end rhyme into one of the standard sonnet forms.  Yet because of these challenges, sonnets are also an incredibly useful teaching tool - they help develop an awareness of the interplay between meter and the perceived rhythm of your words.  This exercise will help you develop confidence in building lines which use meter and rhyme together. (see also my post "Sonnets: Poems of Love and Ideas")

Sonnets: Poems of Love and Ideas

Sonnets are one of the most popular and yet most challenging of poetic forms.  As a closed form, sonnets follow very stringent guidelines regarding meter, rhyme, and stanza structure.  Yet the real strength of the sonnet forms lies in these guidelines - these short poems are packed with rhythm, and the author can use very slight changes in the form to indicate subtle shades of meaning.  (see also some Exercises in Sonnet Writing).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Writing the Idea Poem

The Idea Poem

As we discussed in class today, the idea poem has two major considerations for the writer.  The first is that the idea poem - as a poem - has a poetic advantage in regards to philosophical argument.  Unlike expository essays or journalistic reports, the idea poem can present indelible images which the reader may find more convincing than mere facts and figures.  The second consideration is the corollary to the first - the poem must provide a cogent argument.  The idea poem is centered less around situation or character and more around conveying an intellectual idea to the reader.  This second consideration leads to a major potential weakness for the idea poem as an art - if the reader doesn't believe the poem's argument, the reader may not accept the poem...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Writing the Setting Fiction Sketch

Setting.  It's the easiest aspect of fiction to identify.  The author describes a landscape or an object, and it's setting.  Deciding the importance of that setting to the story is somewhat more complicated, but it's an important consideration as you write your own fiction.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Writing Tone

A friend of mine e-mailed today asking about how to teach tone to her students.  And this is a very important question for any writer.  In your stories, physical descriptions, actions, and character details will carry the reader only so far.  Besides understanding and "seeing" the story, the reader needs to feel the story.  This is where tone comes in.