Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Four Great Moments from ACES 2015

The high point of my year two years running has been the annual conference of the American Copy Editors Society. Yes, I recognize that that's a little sad, but it's a great conference with wonderful people who speak the same language I do.

This year's conference, ACES2015, was no different . . . apart from its being so much colder in Pittsburgh than it was in Las Vegas for ACES2014.

Monday, March 30, 2015

National Poetry Month Challenge

April is National Poetry Month, the time each year when writers, readers, publishers, and libraries celebrate the vital, vibrant position that poetry holds in our culture.

One great thing about poetry is that (just like any other kind of writing) everyone can do it. Not to say that everyone can do it well, but a lack of skill shouldn't preclude an attempt. You get better at something by practicing, after all.

Writing prompt: Personal fiction

I'm decompressing and recombobulating after ACES 2015 (the annual conference of the American Copy Editors Association) this morning, so this is going to be short and quick. More about ACES tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rewriting prompt: You're a poet and don't recognize the fact

Rewrite a scene — yours or someone else's — as a rhyming poem. Couplets, quatrains, sonnets, whatever — just not haiku, okay?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Writing prompt: Android porn

It's 200 years from now, and androids are common in society. They even have rights . . . though not quite as many as meat people. You walk into your android's bedroom/workshop/recharging station and he/she/it is sitting in front of a screen enjoying the android version of pornography.

What is it and why?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rewriting prompt: Another opinion

Today's rewriting prompt is short and imageless because I've been spending all my free time preparing for my presentation at the 2015 annual conference of the American Copy Editors Society, otherwise known as ACES 2015. If you're going to be there, make sure you find me and say hello.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Writing prompt: Saying thanks

I haven't read much by Terry Pratchett. But still. Whenever a writer dies — and especially when a writer dies too young — I feel a special kind of loss.

Whenever a Terry Pratchett dies — or a Ray Bradbury or a Maya Angelou — we hear a lot from other writers about what an inspiration they were.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rewriting prompt: A new ending for an old story

We've all read novels whose endings have left us, to be nice about it, disappointed. (Stephen King's The Stand jumps right to mind.) You know how you wanted it to end, so why not make it end that way? Pick up the story where it starts to go egg-shaped and rewrite it to your liking.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Writing prompt: Half-human, all humanity

  1. Start with an animal you dislike. Maybe it's ugly, or seems to have no purpose, or it's only ever been a nuisance to you. Whatever animal (or insect) that is, hold that image in your head.
  2. Pick out one or two physical characteristics of that unliked animal and give them to your otherwise human character. Your protagonist, then, is part-human, part ugly-pointless-hated-nuisance animal.
  3. Place this protagonist in a world in which his or her mutations are unique and rare but not uncommon enough to be noteworthy. These types of mutations are as rare as, say, Crohn's Disease or Type 1 Diabetes.
  4. Send your protagonist on a job interview.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rewriting prompt: Indulge in grandiloquence

In today's rewriting prompt, I ask you to do the opposite of good editing.

Start with about 300 or 400 words — fiction or essay, it doesn't matter. Rewrite it using the most multisyllabic, sesquipedalian verbiage you can muster. Stretch both the language and yourself.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"Out for what do you need that gun?"

The Last Man On Earth premiered this Sunday, and I congratulate the show's writers for how they started this new series. [Warning: There be spoilers ahead.]

Monday, March 2, 2015

Writing prompt: What's On Your Mind

Create a character who is doing something that ought to require a great deal of concentration, but have her distracted by thoughts of something completely unconnected. This will of necessity need to be written in first person (or, I suppose, second person) as you jump from the character's outer world to her inner world.