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Jan's New "Class"--Writing Basics

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

Moderators: mikeedwards, glorybee

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OldManRivers
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Postby OldManRivers » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:58 pm

Jan, the masculine side of me resonates with the writing of Jack London. I love the words he uses to bring to life that "call of the wild"...

"One night he (his dog, Buck) sprang from sleep with a start, eager-eyed, nostrils quivering and scenting, his mane bristling in recurrent waves. From the forest came the call (or one note of it, for the call was many noted), distinct and definite as never before, - a long-drawn howl, like, yet unlike, any noise made by husky dog. And he knew it, in the old familiar way, as a sound heard before. He sprang through the sleeping camp and in swift silence dashed through the woods. As he drew closer to the cry he went more slowly, with caution in every movement, till he came to an open place among the trees, and looking out saw, erect on haunches, with nose pointed to the sky, a long, lean, timber wolf."
May God's gentle grace be with you.

Jim McWhinnie

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Postby CatLin » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:06 pm

From "Eyes of Elisha" by Brandilyn Collins:

"Chelsea cowered in the far corner of the courtroom, as yet unnoticed by the crowd. She didn't know how she'd gotten there. She didn't know how she'd get out. She didn't know how to take her next breath.

Her mind lay shattered, the puzzle pieces of Meg Jessler's murder having flown into a million shards in her brain, then back together in maniacal rewind. But now the picture was different."

(In addition to the salsa words, I love the alliteration! :D)

I try to delete as many adjectives & adverbs from my first draft as I can, replacing my "rice-cake" nouns and verbs with "salsa" words. When I try to do it as I write I get bogged down, so I'm getting into the habit of italicizing on the fly (ctrl+i in MS Word, just to confuse Verna and Ruth further. ;)) I probably use too many salsa words - the stories I spend the most time editing tend not to do as well in the challenge as some of my quickies. Could be the reason why?

And I love the thesaurus at dictionary.com!

Suggestion for a lesson:
Varying your sentence structure - I see a need for this in the beginner and advance levels.

Thanks, Jan!!!!!
Catrina Bradley
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"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (The Message)

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Postby browniesgal » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:21 pm

Hey Jan did you see the correction? I am so thrilled my heart is pounding like a sledge hammer on a spike.
I tried to throw some salsa in, ha ha.
I love Jack London too. That was a wonderful piece of London.
Thanks Jan, ,Ruth
Last edited by browniesgal on Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:26 pm

Jim, I love Jack London, too, and that particular passage is very rich with salsa words. Thanks so much!

Any ideas about future topics?
Jan Ackerson

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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:28 pm

Catrina, thanks for the selection--very salsa-full.

Love your suggestion about sentence structure; that one will definitely show up in a future class.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby CatLin » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:29 pm

YEA!!!

Ruth is italicizing!!

:lol:

psst, that was Jim's London quote. I started reading "Call of the Wild" when I was a kid, but couldn't finish it. I always meant to go back and try again 40 years older. ;)
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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:31 pm

Ruth, hooray! You did it!

Remember that it's different when you submit for the challenge. You have to actually type in the symbols (no box to click), and you use the <and> signs rather than the [ ] brackets. And don't forget the / in the symbols that close your italics.

I highly recommend that you use the "preview" button below the challenge box before you hit submit. It's a good idea every week, but especially the first time you try HTML. If you miss just one keystroke, you won't get the italics (or you won't have turned them off).
Last edited by glorybee on Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby browniesgal » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:44 pm

:music2 On to the next italics situation! I went back and corrected, Catt. I realized I made that mistake. But come on go read it. It is wonderful writing!

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Postby Ms. Barbie » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:11 pm

Would someone please demonstrate too many salsa words? Thanks!
Barb Culler

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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:18 pm

I'll look around, Barb...check back here in a little bit.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:51 pm

Okay, I found this at http://www2.localaccess.com/suthed/writing.htm, because I was too lazy to search through my library for examples of bad writing!

This was deliberately bad--it's for a contest. You probably won't see writing quite like this in published books, but honestly, some authors come pretty close:

``Nigel lifted his Mont Blanc pen and held it in brief repose as he gazed past the conflagrative crackling of the fire in the hearth, through the triple-plate bay window, watching the incandescence of the twinkling stars like the detonation of a million flashbulbs, and the preponderance of frothy snowflakes blanketing the earth as creamily as marshmallow fluff, then, refreshed and inspired, he began to compose his annual Christmas form letter.''

There are lots of great words there--just too many of them, to the point of ridiculousness.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby OldManRivers » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:56 pm

I am having this queasy anxiety that your example looks hauntingly familiar. I pray that I did not write it.

jim
May God's gentle grace be with you.

Jim McWhinnie

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Postby mljoshua » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:12 pm

What a great exercise, now I need to go find a book other than the Human Resources book nearby so I can participate.

On another note, to work on vocabulary - let me suggest www.freerice.com - work on vocabulary and perform a charity action all at once. (verified by snopes.com)

Jan - thanks so much for this!! I needed something to do with my free time - besides school, work, grandkids, and two in-process novels - not to mention the weekly challenge :)

Woohoo!!

Michael

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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:37 pm

Michael, thanks for the link to the free rice website. I'd been introduced to it a few months ago, but I'd forgotten all about it. What a wonderful site!
Jan Ackerson

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Postby kpwrite » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:21 pm

Thanks for mentioning FreeRice, Michael! I just spent a good chunk of time with it!
Kristi

"When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'" -Erma Bombeck

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