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Creative Writing Workshop
Transcript of Creative Writing Workshop
An Exploration of Tools and Techniques for Creative Writing
Imagine, Create, and Share!
Vocabulary, Sentence Structure, Purpose (Analysis, Response, Observation, Persuasion)
Basics of CW
Techniques for Creative Writing
Verbs & Vocab
The Basics of Creative Writing
Thinking outside of the BOX
Creative Writing is about having the freedom to write without the limitations of conventional writing.
Lose the Structure!
No 5 Paragraph Essays
No Thesis, Topic Sentences, Evidence, or Conclusions
What is Creative Writing?
The primary purpose is to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions, rather than to simply convey information.
CW works outside the bounds of professional, academic, journalistic, or technical forms of writing. It is typically identified by its emphasis on narrative craft and character development.
Voice is an author's unique way of writing and phrasing things.
You should be able to recognize an author's written voice as easily as a person's spoken voice.
Deals with the writer's emotions
Attitude toward a specific subject
Sentiment the narrator wants to convey to the audience
Description of Tone includes:
formal, informal, intimate, somber, playful, serious, condescending, etc.
Authors set tone by expressing feelings through words
Tone is not an action !
Point of View
Creative writing allows the author to speak from the perspective of anyone or anything.
Writer can become anyone or anything
Ex: Opposite Sex, different background, life, or culture.
Writing traditional stories from a new point of view
Ex: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Wicked, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
"Steven, come here" ____
Tone is not explained or expressed directly.
"read between the lines"
to identify it.
"I feel alive for the first time in years," said Faber. "I feel I'm doing what I should've done a lifetime ago. For a little while I'm not afraid. Maybe it's because I'm doing the right thing at last..."
"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
- Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"
Wordiness, awkward use of language, poor sentence structure, and lack of clarity all muffle the voice of the author.
Read your essays as if you were an outsider, or have a friend read it for you.
Learning to self-edit is a very important part of the writing process.
An author's voice takes time to develop. It may be difficult for novice writers to find their "voice."
“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
Whilst these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream..."
A Midsummer's Night Dream
by William Shakespeare
Parody and Satire
A parody imitates the style of another composition, author, or type of writing.
Normally parodies are written for comic effect and often by applying that style to an outlandish or inappropriate subject.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
is a perfect example of a parody. Grahame-Smith took Jane Austen's text and introduced zombies into the storyline. Throughout the novel, he maintained Austen's writing style, voice, and even much of the original storyline. He created a new work that is recognizable as Jane Austen's but that definitely isn't.
A satire, on the other hand, is intended to do more than just entertain; it tries to improve humanity and its institutions.
Satire is literary work that tries to arouse the reader's disapproval of an object — a vice, an abuse, or an institution — by ridiculing it.
Euphemism, irony, exaggeration, and understatement to are all tools of Satire.
Examples: George Orwell's
"I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled..."
"I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that children...at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom..."
"A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish..."
No matter how good the plot or subject line, poorly-written dialogue can turn a reader off quicker than anything.
It should follow some simple grammatical rules.
"Dialogue should be enclosed within quotation marks. "
A new paragraph should be started every time a new person is speaking.
It should be concise.
Long, wordy passages of dialogue might seem like a good way to get information across, but they can be tedious for the reader.
It should be broken up with action.
People don’t typically stop everything when they talk. They fidget. They keep washing the dishes. They pace. Don’t forget that your characters aren’t static.
It should have a PURPOSE.
Provide information about a character
Move the story forward
Don’t get too crazy with dialogue tags.
Usually, a few well-placed “he saids” or “she replieds” will do the trick.
If your dialogue is well-written, it should be clear who is speaking, even without the tags.
Don’t use too much dialogue.
Your readers don’t need to know everything your characters say, word-for-word.
Dialogue should be chosen carefully.
Don’t try to mimic actual speech.
Our actual speech wouldn’t make great dialogue. We say “um” and “uh” a lot. We trail off in the middle of sentences. We change subjects without warning.
Good dialogue should approximate real speech, not mimic it.
“What do we do now?”
Shadows from the single candle flickered on Heather’s face. It masked the basement smell with green apple. She rolled her eyes at me.
“Nothing, Kristy. Just wait.”
I sighed. I was sick of waiting. My arms, and my legs, were starting to hurt. I drummed my fingers impatiently on the plastic pointer thingy.
“Stop it,” Heather hissed. “You’ll make them mad.”
“Make who mad?”
“The spirits, stupid.”
Right. The spirits. Like I really believed the spirits were going to talk to us on a piece of Parker Brothers cardboard.
What is Dialogue?
Writing Action Scenes
Action scenes aren't just for espionage or fantasy novels: almost every story will have some sequences in which the characters are doing things.
Different forms of Storytelling
Parody or Satire
Techniques for CW
“Fortunately for Jennifer, the attacker was far enough away that when he attempted to grab her she sidestepped him and delivered a sharp kick to the outside of his left knee. He grunted and fell back against the stack of wooden crates. He then got up clumsily, rubbing his arm, showing his anger at how easily Jennifer had dodged and hit him.”
Remember, when adrenaline is flowing and things are happening, people don't engage in lengthy discussions. To be realistic, keep dialogue short and snappy when writing action scenes.
Keep the Dialogue Short
Good Action Scenes vs. Bad Action Scenes
An easy way to improve the FLOW of action scenes:
How do I do this?
“The attacker lunged at Jennifer. She dodged to the side and delivered a sharp kick to his knee. He grunted and fell against a stack of crates. He scrambled up, rubbing his arm, eyes full of hate.”
Verbs and Vocab
Make full use of Verbs
Scenes are not written like the norm in life, so while some of the verbs you use may not be everyday words, they should not call attention to themselves.
drag out the thesaurus
I was watching while Simon was peeling all the potatoes.
I watched Simon peel all the potatoes
Varying the Vocab
Words can be repeated for emphasis.
Repetition of a sound (alliteration) can also help create atmosphere in your writing.
Repetition must have a
Use variety in Sentence Beginnings.
Be creative in the description of your main subject/ topic.
While volunteering at the animal shelter, I had the chance to work with many animals. I really love animals because of their innocence and happiness. Animals bring joy to my life.
When revising your essays, make sure you do not use the same words over and over and over and over again.
In the first draft, don't worry about verbs: just get the words down.
But in your revision, focus on the language.
Verbs are often one of the most important elements in writing.
They give your scene momentum.
Use Active not Passive Voice
Writers often start with an anecdote to engage the reader by describing a moment, which tries to illustrate a larger point in their essay.
The rest of the essay is used to explain the broader meaning of the anecdote.
You usually do not want to tell one long story in your essay.
But you do want to look for mini-stories, or moments, or “times,” that you can relate as examples of something you want to illuminate in your essay.
In essays, an anecdote is an example of a point you want to make that uses a little story or animated description.
Example: You want to make the point in your essay that you are a creative person = describe something creative that you made
During a walk near my home, I found a long stick that looked like the letter “Y.” I smoothed the surface with sandpaper and covered it with blueberry blue paint I found in the garage, then wrapped it with twine and colored yarn. From my junk drawer, I tied seashells, a couple old keys and a bent fork to the ends and hung it in my room.
What’s that?” my little sister asked.
“Art,” I said, even though I wasn’t even sure what I had made.
PICK UP THE PACE
Keep the details
of your action to a minimum.
Some writers use shorter, choppier sentences, or even incomplete sentences to give their scenes a better pace.
An action scene is not the moment for long descriptions of setting .
Dialogue is one of the ways you can “show” your reader what’s happening in a scene.
Dialogue can move your story along or reveal information about a character.
Reveal his/her inner thoughts or desires
Effective dialogue is an essential part of Creative Writing.
Said, Yelled, Gushed
The description surrounding the verb will set the
some students wrote an essay...