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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Build a Story World

Read With Impact (Three)

For poetry, read for language and metaphors. Practice studying for implicit and explicit examples and watch for the sound of words as well.

They are usually ordinary words that are fine-tuned for a clear purpose. Musicians all use the same notes, but one may write an opera and another heavy metal rock. The styles, the genre, the melody all impact the final result.  Likewise our words arise out of each project.

We fine-tune by deepened vocabulary. What needs to be highlighted? Where do we need to whisper or to shout? Do we make sure our reader has absolutely no doubt what we intend, or do we want ambiguity?

Exercise: Briefly 

  Journal your answers to these questions.

a.     Have you ever had to defer a dream (define)?

b.     What did it feel like?

c.      What images stay with you?

    Read           Dreams by Langston Hughes

                        Hold fast to dreams
                        For if dreams die
                        Life is a broken-winged bird
                        That cannot fly
                        Hold fast to dreams
                        For when dreams go
                        Life is a barren field
                        Frozen with snow


a.     What is explicit? What is implicit?

b.     Two prominent images are the broken-winged bird and the barren field. What are some feelings you associate with these images?

c.      What qualities make a writer’s voice distinctive and memorable?

Application: Practice Changing Clichés

1.Take well-known clichés and shift them around. Make a list of as many common ones that you can think of and then crisscross them just for fun. Some will be hilarious and ridiculous. And some might spark a new phrase.

2. Or make a list of metaphors and similes from one poem and then re-write them. Put your new version back into the original poem. How does the focus change?

3. This is really entertaining in a small group of writers and rather surprising at some of the images that can come to the surface.

4. Practice shifting old concepts around until they become new and fresh.

Share: Choose one or two of your favorites and share.

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