Tag: Writing

Encouraging and Caring for Public University Students

 

There was a line of students to see me after my “Reading, Writing & Inquiry” class had ended. I had been commending the class’s written assignments and half a dozen college students wanted further comment on their work. The group had been given an assignment to discuss their favorite book, writing, or activity. One young man had contributed a tremendous piece on race car design. Showering encouragement on his work, I suggested that his input demonstrated a care for human life. Some students wrote about overcoming trauma. Others wrote about their deepest care for others.

One young woman wanted a bit more of my time. She asked to see me after class. We found a table outside the classroom.

Sitting across from me, she gushed, “I just have so many ideas for the next assignment, I just don’t know which one to pick! Would you help me?!”

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I wasn’t looking for a NASA researcher, I was looking for goat cheese. I must have seemed perplexed as I surveyed the half-dozen or so options in the display case. My mission was to find a goat cheese to substitute for ricotta, which my daughter has problems digesting. Enter the cheese stocker guy. You know, […]

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The Malaysian Chronicles (Part III)

 

I was thinking “we gotta be close.” My land navigation skills are sufficient and via pace count and time I knew we were in the area. We had been moving through the jungle for close to two hours. We were being relatively quiet – not bad for close to 25 guys. The Malaysians carried next to nothing and the Americans had their standard fare – roughly 65-90lbs of equipment. As I alluded to in my last chronicle, our standing joke is 3000lbs of light weight gear. I had on Night Observation Devices (NODs). They were second generation so wipe all that Zero Dark Thirty equipment out of your head. These were monocular and did not adjust to depth, meaning that if you wanted to look at your map you had to reach up and adjust them, then readjust them for moving. And when moving they worked for longer range looking vice what is happening at your feet. I saw some serious headers taken by guys wearing NODs. And you haven’t really lived until you’ve fallen with your ruck on, driving your head into the ground whilst wearing said NODs.

We had sent out the Landing Zone (LZ) link up team hours earlier. Just before dark Sgt. Johnny had come back confirming the link up point. Earlier in the afternoon we finished drying out, ate (including some delicious wild mangoes and papayas) and finalized our plan. As Early Evening Nautical Twilight – EENT came on (because saying “dusk” is so arduous) we rucked up and started moving. The Malay’s tactics were fast and light and they moved OUT. We slowed them down as our tactics are slow and deliberate. There is a debate to be had about this but this is not the time nor place.

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I’m working on my writing.  My writing style is generally more conversational and open.  I do, sometimes, write more professional items (research, crap like that).  I’m working on writing for various purposes, but instead of just writing on my random musings I thought it might be a good time to ask people. What have you […]

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Angel Eduardo is a writer, musician, photographer and artist. He and Bridget discuss the discipline of being a professional artist, the moral panic around art these days, self-censorship and the fear of being cancelled, victimhood culture, exercise & discipline, Bridget’s ideal super power, why mistakes are like wrapping paper, what to do when you’re lost, and the ground we’re losing in the equality movement. Angel explains his concept of “star-manning,” a way of engaging in discourse with each other that acknowledges a person’s point of view and their intentions in a conversation as a means of finding common ground, making them feel heard, and making them more likely to listen to you in return. He believes that most people mean well, and we often lose sight of that fact and depersonalize them in a disagreement, particularly over social media. Learn more about Angel on his website, angeleduardo.com.

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  Nine years ago yesterday, Captain Carroll LeFon…known to the blogosphere as Neptunus Lex…was killed in a combat training accident.  This is an appropriate time for those who followed Lex to remember, and hopefully for some who did not know of him to be introduced to his exceptional writing. Preview Open

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The Writing Coach: Give ’Em a Name

 

There is an old saying that, “Every person is the hero in his own story.” In writing fiction, every character is the protagonist in his own story, or at least he thinks he is the protagonist. To create believable characters, we have to respect the characters. This matters for our protagonists. This matters for our antagonists. And it even matters for those side characters we plan to kill off on the next page “off-screen.”

To properly respect a character, we ought to know at least a little about them. We ought to know their name as a first step. That doesn’t mean that it has to be used in the story, but we ought to respect the character that much. Our protagonist is walking down the street and happens to notice an odd sort of fellow who is wearing a purple Robin Hood-style hat with a green feather? The reader doesn’t necessarily have to know his name is Fulgencio Z. Buffalobreath, or that his name at birth was John Smith, but he changed to to be more distinctive, but the author should know that.

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‘The actual beginning, though it is not really the beginning, but the actual flashpoint, was – I remember very clearly – I can even, I can still see the corner in my house in 20 Northmoor Road where it happened: I’d got an enormous pile of exam papers there, and marking school examinations in the […]

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If I Were Your Writing Coach, I Would Start You at the Beginning

 

Your first line is the most important of your written work. It is like the door to your house or business. You want it to be inviting so the reader will feel welcome and come for a visit in the world you have created. If the door to your house is chipped and scuffed and needs painting or refinishing and maybe the screen on the storm door is hanging loose, people might be a little hesitant to come visit. If you want to be a professional writer, your first line is the door to your business. If the opening of your written work is sloppy or uninteresting, why would the reader want to move on to the next line? If the first paragraph is dull or passive or even seemingly evasive through being non-specific, why would a reader want to bother reading the second paragraph? You don’t want your reader to feel like they have entered a rough part of town where few of the houses are maintained.

As mentioned in the previous entry of this series, I critique a fair number of works of art before they are seen by the public. While I have critiqued works of visual and industrial art, my forte is in the written word. I have helped other authors develop poems, short stories, novellas, novels, and even non-fiction works. I often come across the same issues in the works of many authors, especially those who are amateurs or just trying to break into the profession. This conversation will highlight one of these common issues and errors: the weak opening.

Action and Active Voice

If you are writing most types of fiction, write your first sentence in the active voice. You probably want the whole first paragraph in the active voice. You want to establish movement in your novel or short story. Don’t set the scene. Don’t tell your reader that it’s a bright and sunny day or that a vehicle moves slowly.¹ Focus on a character and what he, she, or it is doing.

If I Were Your Writing Coach, I Would Advise a Different Point of View

 

I critique a fair number of works of art before they are seen by the public. While I have critiqued works of visual and industrial art, my forte is in the written word. I have helped other authors develop poems, short stories, novellas, novels, and even non-fiction works. I often come across the same issues in the works of many authors, especially those who are amateurs or just trying to break into the profession. This conversation will highlight one of these common issues and errors. I may do more as time allows.

In most short works, such as a short poem, say a sonnet, point of view is not a big deal. The point of view may be the author of the work, or it may be a character made up for the occasion. When we start writing longer works, especially works of fiction, point of view becomes much more important. It seems that most beginning authors attempt to write from the point of view of an omniscient narrator. This is usually a mistake.

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When I was fifteen and decided that I would be a writer, I realized that writing was much harder than the authors made it seem.  To take out my pen to paper was something I would tell myself to do, but then I would find things to clean in my room that I hadn’t touched […]

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Acclaimed author Lionel Shriver joined Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky, Staff Editor Madeline Osburn, and Townhall Staff Writer Ellie Bufkin to discuss the demand for wokeness among fiction authors, and the recent glorification of the body in society. Shriver is the author of the new novel, “The Motion of The Body Through Space.

Shriver argued that the left now dictates how writers must assign their characters. For example, she said, all black characters must serve as exemplary, wise, and kindly role models within stories. The woke left has limited authors’ creativity and made books less interesting, she said, by setting a standard for each type of character.

NaNoWriMo Victory: I Published a Book!

 

There has been a lot of sadness and negativity in our world so far this year, but I want to share something good with you all: during the stay-at-home months of March and April, I was able to accomplish a goal that I have had for as long as I can remember. All gratitude and praise to Jesus, I have published my first book!

Even before I could read, myself, I was “writing” books. My mom would fold and staple paper into a “book” for me, and then I would draw the pictures and “read” my book aloud. Once I learned how to actually read and write, I didn’t slow down. In fact, my main issue has always been actually finishing something before I move onto another idea. Being a published author is what I have always wanted to do with my life, but I lacked discipline growing up, and then college and working distracted me from my goal.

Revelations of a Post Writer: We Are What We Write

 

When you write a post, you tell us a great deal about yourself. It’s one of my favorite experiences on Ricochet—getting to know people through their writing, not just learning more about a topic. Did you realize how much you tell us about yourself when you write? If not, let me tell you how you reveal who you are.

One of the first things I notice about a writer is your “eloquence factor.” There are some people who have a gift that I simply love. Their words are linked together like chains of daisies, colorful, graceful, and captivating. I don’t write that way, but I love to read others who do. It is like appreciating not only the utility of the thing, but the art that runs within and through it.

But there are others of you who are more utilitarian: words serve your mission to communicate and share with others. Your writing is often brief, to the point, with no words wasted. You are there to serve the idea, you, your computer, and the sentences you write. It is an honorable and practical endeavor.

Gigi Levangie, author and screenwriter, drops by for a chat that covers everything, including Swedish Death Cleaning, the Erehwon Phenomenon, aging in LA, the difference between a collector and a hoarder, and growing up “the crazy white b*tch down the street.” She and Bridget discuss why participation trophies are detrimental to children’s progress into adulthood, the impracticalities of college, why you shouldn’t give all your energy to who is in the White House, and how being a blank slate allows you to learn. Bridget tells the not-to-be-missed story of the Poodle Skirt Incident of 1992. Gigi talks about her career as a writer and how she’s managed to crank out 7 books. It’s a fun, fast and loose conversation between two kindred spirits. Be sure to check out Gigi’s latest book Been There, Married That.

Full transcript available here: WiW71-GigiLevangie-Transcript

Lessons from an SJW Mob (or, Horror in Romancelandia)

 

Isolate the target. That’s the first rule of mobbing. But who knew it would result in so many targets?

My sister and I are writers. She’s romance, I’m mystery. We’re both members of Romance Writers of America (RWA). So, when a fairly big-name romance writer, Courtney Milan, was censured by RWA for cyberbullying, we got curious about what was going on. We got even more curious when Milan’s gang turned on the RWA board and got most to resign, ruined the reputation of the gay man who became president, and seems on the verge of taking down the 9,000+ member organization.

Why Subscribe? The Breadth and Depth of Ricochet

 

typewriterFrom time to time, Ricochet members capture the incredible breadth of posts on a given day. This is far more than a center-right political discussion and rant site. I wonder if we might roll up a sort of topical author list. Here is my very imperfect and incomplete start. If you would, please share your own go-to post series or exceptional stand-alone entries.

From Gary McVey’s serial history of television in America, to the very long-running, always informative Hank Rhody series that started with “How to Build a Computer, Part 1 of N: Silicon,” to SeaWriter’s weekly book reviews, to SkipSul’s ongoing series on Orthodox iconography, this is an amazing-value web publication.

That does not even touch the poetry (often by Arahant) and food and photography posts, some singular and some occasional. “She” provides both recipes and fine stories in her “Friday food and drink posts.” You won’t find articles in any other publication as good as LC’s occasional posts on Khmer history and culture. I would not have pulled my DSLR camera out of storage and done several original reporting stories, were it not for RightAngles responding to a monthly theme prompt with an amazing, informative, illustrated article on the state of the stock photography business.