Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Character Who Steals Your Life - Voice Sketch for Week 5

Here's a quick description of how to approach this weeks assignment.  Your focus in this work of fiction is capturing specific details with with you're intimately familiar, but then changing the perspective of the main character to reveal these details in a different light.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Place and Setting: The Habitat for Our Fictional Characters

Setting plays a crucial element in establishing the tone and context of the story.  As you write, choose setting details which reflect the nature of your protagonist and the world he or she inhabits

<--Week 3 - Week 4 - Week 5-->
Blocking - Setting

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blocking Details: The Action of Scene

Blocking Details represent one of the most delicate aspects of writing in scene.  If we focus too much attention on facial expression and body language, then the story seems forced.  Yet if we don't include enough, then the characters seem like talking paste-board cut-outs.

<--Week 3 - Week 4 - Week 5-->
Blocking Details

Friday, February 18, 2011

Poetry Workshops: The Fifty-Point Scale

The poetry workshops will use a fifty-point scale similar to the Fiction Grading Scale.  However, the scale will be customized for poetry - come back soon to see how the specific needs of poetry are incorporated into the numbering system.

Fiction Workshops: The Fifty-Point Scale

Here's the 50-pt scale I use for your fiction workshops.  Before worrying too much about the numbers, make sure to read How I Use the Scale.

Workshop Grades: The Fifty-Point Scale

For this semester's workshop assignments, I grade in 5-pt intervals based on a fifty-point scale.  Before worrying too much about how the scale will affect your grade, I'd like you to consider how I use the scale to tell you about your writing.

Creative Writing: Workshop Grades

I wanted to let you all know how I see workshop grades in terms of your overall grades for IFP.  Writing is a subjective field, and so it is difficult to assign objective grades.  This is why I use workshop grades as indicators of your writing progress rather than the balance of your total grade.  In all, your writing ability counts toward 30% of the final grade, with a possible 10% adjustment added to the final grade for progress.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dialogue Reveals Character Motivation and Social Manipulation

When we speak, our words carry not only meaning, but purpose.  In fiction, each word of dialogue should not only reveal the facts of the situation, but the motives of the speaker.

Human Nature: Deception, Manipulation, and the Constellation of Cultural Icons

Why do we need conflict in fiction?  Why are we gluttons for sad/tragic/scary/romantic/mysterious stories?  Quite simply, it's because we're human.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Balancing Dialogue and Action in Scenes

Dialogue is a critical component of stories.  Today we look at how to use dialogue without overusing it or - worse still - using incorrect attribution.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Writing in Scene: Clawing Your Way Up the Mountain

Today's lesson is focused on using conflict within each individual scene to drive the plot forward.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Writing Conflict: Freytag's Pyramid and the Shape of Narrative

In discussing Freytag's Pyramid, so far we've only touched on the basic structure of the story.  In this lesson, we address how each individual components of the story contributes to the development and eventual resolution of the story's central conflict.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Narrative: The Muscular Form of Stories

In fiction, narrative forms the bulk of the text.  It is the text of the action, setting, and character reflections.

Viewing and Printing PDF Comments

As I comment on your pieces from this past week, I'll be e-mailing them back to you as PDF documents.  Some of you have already received flattened PDF documents.  However, I've decided to send the full-scale annotated PDF documents instead.  If you have any trouble viewing these files, please read here for assistance.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Plot Diagrams: Emotion and Causality in Narrative

One of our main authorial decisions in writing is where and when to "start" a story.  Building tension requires us to choose a starting point which is close enough to the conflict to hold the reader's interest, and yet still distant enough from the climax that the story can be be driven continuously forward.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Narrative - The Perspective Behind Stories

Narrative is a carefully defined term with many applications.  At it's core, narrative is about telling a story - and mastering this art is essential for success in fiction.

Welcome - Perspective in Narrative - Plot Diagrams