Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Landmarks and signposts: a good essay is like a map


When my first semester as an MA student came to an end, I realised I had been a survivor. I had survived studying and working as a freelance translator at the same time. To tell you the truth, I had no idea that a person could be THAT BUSY as I was at that time.

So now I would like to share some tips with you on how to survive writing essays, when there's so little time. Hope they help you as they helped me. Ready?

First of all, make sure you write everything as if it were fair copy. Don't tempt yourself to write haphazardly, in many colours and fonts, ignoring the style guide you should be using. It's better to look at what you write and think that it's almost ready. As the hours flow by, it will become more difficult to focus on such changes; that's why it's better to write correctly from square one.

Second, I say, when you use a certain source, you should always put the reference book or article into the works cited list as soon as you use it. And make sure the reference is formed according to the style guide you should be using. This is going to save you much time later, when you will be too tired to take care of such details.

Third, it helps if you imagine that you are not working on a text, but on a map. Maybe it's because my first degree is in surveying engineering, and I enjoy working on maps, but I always tend to visualise my essay as something physical, something which exists in space.

Besides, a very good essay has landmarks and signposts. Landmarks are key issues that we need to write towards them and explain them carefully while signposts are the key words that move us, both writer and reader, from one issue to another. It is important that we use landmarks and signposts in our essays, as if our essays were maps which present ideas in space.

It's so difficult to combine working and studying, especially in the case when you have to write as many essays as I had to write. Writing essays is one of the most creative things ever: first your mind absorbs the information and then it generates new ideas. That's why any tips that are going to make this process easier are always welcome. Do you have any?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Quotes about writing



I found some very nice quotes that can give us inspiration to write, especially in the days it gets very difficult. I would like to share with you the ones I think are true for me:


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
― Maya Angelou
It is important to be who you want to be, in this case a writer. It is pointless to try to become anything else.


“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” 
― Maya Angelou
Sometimes there’s no need to hear the answers. You need only to feel that people share with you the same questions.


“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 
― Stephen King
All writers had a passion for reading. 


“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” 
― Jack Kerouac
No universal truths were verbose.


“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” 
― Anton Chekhov
Don’t be analytical in your writing; you have to show, not to tell!


“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” 
― Henry David Thoreau
But many people have been inside their homes all their lives, yet have written great novels. It depends. Nevertheless, I like this quote.


“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” 
― Stephen King, On Writing
Again, don’t be verbose in your writing. 


“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” 
― Stephen King


“Always be a poet, even in prose.” 
― Charles Baudelaire
In this case, writing will never be boring.


“One always has a better book in one's mind than one can manage to get onto paper.” 
― Michael Cunningham


“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” 
― Jack London


“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.” 
― Ana├»s Nin
Many times when reading a novel I have realised that the writer has shaped many of my thoughts into words.


“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” 
― Stephen King, On Writing
In other words, don’t over-analyse. Readers want you to be subtle, and to let them finish the job.


“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” 
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The easy way of writing


I have been dreaming about becoming a writer since I was a child, and I used to write stories very often.

Yet I had a very sadistic view about writing: that writing should flow naturally out of you. That you shouldn’t fret about it, or else you were not a ‘true’ writer. If you put any effort whatsoever, you didn’t have much talent as a writer. These were my views back then.

Anything that would make my writing life easier, I regarded as ‘cheating’.

Now I embrace anything that can help me write more and better.

One book that has helped me a lot is What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter. The following writing sketches are inspired from this excellent book and its instructions.

The book advises to practise writing opening lines for imaginary novels just to get the knack of it.

The following pairs are based on opposite ideas to make it easier. And it is easier because now I am writing with a solid, concrete purpose:

PAIRS OF SENTENCES TO BEGIN A NOVEL

BIRTH
A new baby exactly at the beginning of the day, cracking alive together with the crack of dawn, can bring nothing but optimism to our black, shabby world. 

DEATH
A low moaning, together with the cry of a bird, and the shadow of a blackbird, marked his last moments of mortal sorrow. 

MOTHER
She cast her eyes down the small body, and found herself. 

DAUGHTER
A twig made a chirping sound –or was it a bird?– as Karen moved towards her mother’s table at St Tropez. 

RICH
Donna’s idea of breakfast consisted beaches, sea, and at least five of her friends. 

POOR
He looked down at his navel, and back in the mirror, he touched briefly his eyebrows, his mouth, his chest, and only then did he realise he was completely, absolutely, terribly hungry.

Do you think that these opening lines would make interesting novels?
What could be happening in terms of plot?
What about the characters these openings evoke?
Would you like to write your own opening lines? It is so easy!