Improper Words

Today’s writing exercise is a mind workout. It’s a simple process, that for me really opens my mind to new word choice possibilities.

Here we go:

  • First grab a dictionary.
  • Flip to any page you want.
  • Randomly choose a word from the page.
  • Now, use the word in a sentence, but change the part of speech it normally is to another one. So, if the word is a noun, use it as an adjective, or a preposition.
  • Do any part of speech, but try to maintain a similar meaning or at least a meaning you would expect that word to have in the new form.

Colors are a good example. You hear about a leaf greening, or a face yellowing, what would be oranging?

How about the sun oranging the street?

What about the word corolla – a noun meaning the petals of a flower?

What if a building had no windows on the first floor, but the higher up you looked the more windows there were and the tighter together they were built? What if they seemed to curve together and make up the whole top of the building. Could the windows be corolla windows?

Not only is it a word that evokes specific imagery but the vowels smooth over from one word to another. Corolla windows.

Words are limitless.

I always joke with Justin that my English degree certifies me to change the language at my will.

The truth is (I love this topic, if you can’t tell) language changes by anyone’s will.

Obviously, I think there is importance in the proper way of writing and using the language -proper spelling, grammar and all that, but I think about how fun it is to manipulate the language as well and really-how important it is too. Creatively changing the language to meet the needs of a writer wanting to express a very specific idea makes using words in uncommon ways important, as an exercise of the creative mind and a practice for writers pushing envelopes like e.e. Cummings and Shakespeare.

What are some of your favorite uncommon, improper uses of words?

 

Also, check out a review for my poetry collection by Michelle Proulx! A big thank you goes out to her for reading and letting people know about it.

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A Writers Business Plan

I have been bad. Well, not all bad. I have been rather successful at writing this blog 5 days a week. Though its not really too much work, it takes dedication and commitment. I may have missed some days here or there but so far I am proud that I’ve been sticking to writing each day. Now, where I have been bad is not continuing to write on my zombie book or my angel book, despite the available tools, and a genuine excitement (anxiousness) to get these published. Last year I started a business plan and I accomplished many things because of this plan. However, as time continued and holidays, family, excuse, excuse got in the way I neglected to update and keep up with that plan.

I am growing tired of these ideas being trapped in my head. So onward plan and outward with creativity.

I have a beautiful planner my dad got for me and I am ready to business plan it up. And get these books PUBLISHED!

Want to create a business plan for yourself? It’s a fantastic way to delve into the projects, and create realistic, achievable goals.

I plan on mapping out specific goals for the next 12 months. All sorts of goals, like finishing certain chapters, finalizing, editing, proofing, ( I have so many pages of written text that just needs to be typed its daunting, but I can, I think), and don’t forget market strategies (some are best before the book is published, others after), giveaways, tours and spotlights, etc. There is A TON involved with getting that book published and if your a self-publisher, God help us.

Truth be told self publishing is pretty easy (once you get the hang of it) but if you lack dedication, a realistic outlook, enthusiasm, or confidence, not to mention patience, you may see a lack of productivity.

A business plan helps. I had a plan created for each book, each broken down by different categories like marketing, writing, editing, etc. as well as a plan for this blog and other social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Getting back on track with a solid, updated business plan will be the push I need to publish the proposed 2 (or even 3) books I have lined up for this year.

If you want any tips on business plans, I’m happy to give my thoughts.

Also, if anyone has something specific they would like to know more about regarding poetry or writing, I will make next weeks workshop dedicated to you 🙂

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Line Breaks

Today’s exercise is a simple one, but can be highly rewarding. The directions work well for either poetry or prose -LIMITLESS!

Directions:

  • Write or take an older poem and type it out in a block, no line breaks, so that it reads like prose.
  • If you are a prose writer, take a block of text (or write one) make sure that all the dialogue remains blocked in one large paragraph.
  • Without thinking to much, start from the beginning and hit the enter key at any point you want.
  • Make some lines long, some short -vary it.
  • If you see a compound word, hit the enter key.
  • Even if a word is not compound and you want to break it up, do it.
  • Now, re-read your text. Make sure to pause appropriately at the line breaks or any mid line punctuation.

By doing this exercise, I’ve noticed that certain tones become the center of the now-poem, sometimes a different tone than the one intended or previously attached to it. The point is that oftentimes by doing this, things in the text are revealed, words that were lost within the prose find a meaningful presence and you discover more about what you have already written.

Besides the discovery, this exercise frees writers who are often nervous about changing the text. It’s an exercise in opening up to editing your own work. You are able to see alternatives and may end up liking that alternative better.

Reification: A Real Tool, Maybe a Hammer

Today we are looking at reification, which is taking an abstraction and treating it like a concrete. It is similar to personification. Personification allows you to attach human qualities to anything, whether they be abstract or not, whereas, reification allows you to make an object out of any abstract thing.

Personification example: That sun you use to draw in elementary school in the corner of the paper, large rays and cool shades. (Well that’s not a literary example, I guess… Here; Even the sun had to wear shades to keep cool. -terrible, but I love it.)

The sun (as a concrete object) does not really wear shades and it is so far from being “cool” but attaching these human traits and objects, even addressing it as he, allows him to be like a person or personified.

Reification example: I held fate in my little fingers, like a dime, in-fact, fate was a dime, my last dime, and I slipped it in a machine, watched the wheels roll on and on with no spectacular ending. (Might be a bit cliché, but I really like that sentence).

Fate, in that sentence, is made into a concrete object, something the narrator can hold, manipulate.

Can you tell the difference?

It’s a very interesting process, choosing what objects symbolize certain abstractions. Is hate a sweater you throw on, bundled, literally get swallowed up in the threads?

Not only is the use of reifications useful in poetry, when creating concrete, tangible moments out of raw feeling is often a goal, but using them in stories is a great benefit as well. Within a novel, using a concrete object to equal an abstraction can help provide clues to the reader as to what is going on or being felt.

Here are a list of abstract words, try making a list of a few objects that could be a concrete counterpoint, a reification:

      Love
      Hate
      Loss
      Jealousy
      Bravery
      Honesty
      Misery
      Information
      Trouble