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NaNoWriMo 2020 Update #2

Today is 20k day. As of writing this, I’m at 20,945 words. I haven’t written for today yet. So it’s safe to say I’m doing all right this year. Today I want to talk about accountability in writing. Accountability is, in fact, part of the magic of NaNoWriMo. Part of the reason that more wordsContinue reading “NaNoWriMo 2020 Update #2”

NaNoWriMo 2020 Update #1

Novel word count at time of publication: 8,588. As you are probably aware, it’s November. That means, among other things, that it’s time for NaNoWriMo. It’s a familiar rhythm at this point, and I love it. And it’s the rhythm of NaNoWriMo I want to talk about today. Honestly, it’s the only thing that feelsContinue reading “NaNoWriMo 2020 Update #1”

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”

Whom Do You Write For?

One of the hardest questions that authors get asked perhaps too seldom is “Who are you writing for?” It’s also, perhaps, the most important. More important even than “Why are you writing?” or “What are you writing?” Writing without an audience just doesn’t work. The audience completes the text, you see. Sure, the author mayContinue reading “Whom Do You Write For?”

The Embodied Literature Review: A Classroom Activity

Last week, I introduced my students to the genre of the literature review. This is, for most first year composition students, an entirely alien genre, since it’s largely the province of academic work. However, the course I’m teaching requires, as part of its description, that my students produce an annotated bibliography of 15-20 sources andContinue reading “The Embodied Literature Review: A Classroom Activity”

I Asked My Students What Makes Good Writing. This Is What I Learned.

Yesterday, I opened class by asking my students what makes writing good. I’m not entirely surprised by the results that I got, but they are telling. I expected every section to mention description, but only three out of four did. The odd one out did mention world-building, though, so perhaps description is still represented. ButContinue reading “I Asked My Students What Makes Good Writing. This Is What I Learned.”

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”

Teaching Against Deficiency

There’s been a lot of talk about “ungrading” and, of course, most of us are probably aware by now of the growing body of research that shows how standardized testing is not a useful measurement of student learning and may actually be doing harm to students. I don’t have anything really conclusive to say aboutContinue reading “Teaching Against Deficiency”

Obligatory End of Year Post 2019

Measurements of time are arbitrary, of course. You can tell me that we measure time according to the movements of the celestial bodies, but we all know that’s merely a reference point. And it’s certainly not why we’re being innundated with “What did you do this decade?” social media posts right now–that’s very arbitrary, really.Continue reading “Obligatory End of Year Post 2019”

What Is Genre Chauvinism?

I’m sure there’s a better term for this, and I really ought to know it given my dissertation work, but lately in my head the term that’s been sticking for the way that certain genres (which, not coincidentally, are often those associated with youth or women) are unfairly considered unimportant or even toxic is genreContinue reading “What Is Genre Chauvinism?”