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”

Writing Is Social

We all know the stereotypes of the writer: the introvert with cats hiding away with coffee and alcohol, scribbling away in a notebook (ok, minus the coffee and wine, it’s true for me). “Writing is a lonely profession,” people say. We see it as a soloistic endeavor: the grand aloof maestro spinning mesmerizing tales outContinue reading “Writing Is Social”

How To Decide To Cut A Scene: A Heuristic for Writers

Almost every fiction writer has heard “kill your darlings” and “show don’t tell.” These pithy sayings get repeated so much that they lose a lot of meaning and they’re frankly a little annoying, because they don’t really help writers know when to kill darlings, or which darlings to kill, or what to show and notContinue reading “How To Decide To Cut A Scene: A Heuristic for Writers”

Update: Due Week Results

Before the semester began, I wrote about my resolution to improve response times on student work by assigning due weeks and having students sign up for their due dates within the weeks, rather than having a set due date for the entire class. Last week I wrote about building revision into the syllabus, which wasContinue reading “Update: Due Week Results”

Building Revision Into the Syllabus

Muriel Harris usefully posited the notion of “one-draft writers” and “multi-draft writers” in 1989. For anything less than a novel, I tend to be a “one-drafter”, meaning that I resist revision because I do most of my deep revision on the planning end of things. My outlines are basically my first drafts, and by theContinue reading “Building Revision Into the Syllabus”

Dr. Cox’s 3 Rules For Peer Criticism

Peer criticism is unquestionably important for learning, especially in writing. It’s also unquestionably tricky to implement effectively. To help out, in this post I offer three simple rules you can use to guide a peer criticism session. There is a lot against us in the traditional classroom when we try to implement peer criticism. ThereContinue reading “Dr. Cox’s 3 Rules For Peer Criticism”

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