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Paragraphs, Chapters, and Other Breaks

When I was in elementary school, I couldn’t figure out paragraph breaks, no matter how many times my teachers tried to explain them to me. My paragraphs were always too long or too short, evidently. It was always the same feedback. Paragraph breaks are a higher level of separation. Above that, chapter breaks. Above evenContinue reading “Paragraphs, Chapters, and Other Breaks”

The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You

Notice I said “can learn from you” not “that you can teach” in the title. That’s because this lesson is not one you explicitly teach. It’s not on tests. I’m not even sure how you’d assess it. But it’s important. The most important lesson your students can learn from you is this: Grace. Grace isContinue reading “The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You”

Building Plot: The Power of Yes

When I had been writing fiction in earnest for about two or three years, I was doing some revision when I noticed a pattern: my characters said “no” a lot in dialogue. It ranged from quiet “no”s to big, dramatic, Luke-finding-out-who-his-father-is “NOOOOooooo”s. I mean, I was a middle schooler at the time, and my writingContinue reading “Building Plot: The Power of Yes”

Writing Rules and Genre

This semester I’m having my students write in a number of genres. That’s not a bad thing (actual results may vary…). But, as happens every semester, we’re struggling. We’re struggling because my class isn’t my students’ first exposure to writing (my students are adults–they’ve actually been writing for a LONG time, whether they realize itContinue reading “Writing Rules and Genre”