Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Balance/Writing Craft: Beginning to Write

Look at me! I'm organized! Sort of...

So I must apologize to those I usually follow with a little more dedication here on Blogger, as I have not been very active lately. University is my main priority at the moment and unfortunately that means neglecting my blog and fellows bloggers is sometimes going to be necessary. I'm hoping to soon be able to find a sort of balance that will allow me to keep up with everything happening here without falling behind in homework. But just for future reference, if I disappear for a bit, I'm probably studying, so please forgive me.

On a related note, I'd like to say that I am still absolutely loving university life! In this post, I would particularly like to focus on what has been going on in my Writing Craft lecture and tutorial. We just wrapped up the study of 'How?' and over the past three weeks the topics has been 'Beginning to Write', 'Research: Observation and Accuracy' and 'Memory and Incident'. I thought it would be nice if I could share some things that were covered... but for the sake of not overloading you, I'll put them in separate posts.

Beginning to Write

The readings for this week were The Sopranos by Alan Warner (pages 1-18) and First Love by Vladimir Nabakov (pages 39-47 in Spring in Fialta).

We started this lecture with an interview of Jerry Seinfeld. While he talks mostly about comedy writing, the things he's saying can be applied to any genre of writing. Anyway, you KNOW your lectures are going to be awesome when they start off with Jerry Seinfeld.

Another tip we were given was that we will learn to write better through reading. That sounds obvious, but it was nice to just hear someone say it and to tell us HOW we will learn to write better:

- When we read differently, we learn to write differently. I like to write YA and fantasy, but if I start reading crime novels, I will learn how to write crime novels. 

- If I read more attentively, I will learn to write more attentively. This is something most of us should already be doing, but the more we practice it, the better we will continue to get at it. 

- If I read with more discernment, I will learn to write with more discernment. I can read something and think, I really don't like what the author has done there, or, I really love what the writer is doing here, and then keep it in mind when I then go and write something.

- If I read more widely, I will write more widely. Again, I write YA and fantasy, because that's what I read. If I start reading crime, I might start writing crime. 

- If I read in conversation with other text (that is, with the ability to draw links and references from another text) then I will learn to write in conversation with other texts. 

Some basic information and a lot of encouragement from Jerry Seinfeld, but still something I find writers find reassurance in when it's reiterated. Can you relate yourselves to any of these tips? 

I had to look over my lecture and tutorial notes to write this, so it totally counts as studying! What was I saying earlier about finding a balance? I'll be posting about the other two lectures over the next week, so stay tuned!

- Bonnee.


  1. No need for apology, you're doing what you need to be doing! I'm glad you're enjoying yourself.

    I'm curious how Seinfeld's Pop Tart routine turns out. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for it.

    The last writing class I took was a science & technical writing class back in college, so it's really interesting for me to get these glimpses into formal classwork. In regards to your question, I know I'm reading much differently than I used to, which is sometimes annoying when I start analyzing a piece too much. Ah, well, it comes with the territory. Be well, I'm looking forward to the next installment!

    1. I want to know how the Pop Tart routine turns out too!

      Science and technical writing sounds icky and not very creative... But I do love reading! Do you find that you tend to change your writing as you change your reading?

    2. The most important thing I learned in S&T Writing was what had to come somewhere in the conclusions of any report. Roughly, "We need more funding."

      Um, tough question. I don't *think* so, but it's hard for me to say. I know I will sometimes see things and think, "I should try to do that more," but I'm not sure if I succeed.

    3. Oh, and here's Seinfeld doing the Pop Tart thing on Letterman a couple years back:

    4. More funding? That'd be right. A lot of things need more funding, it seems.

      I'm absolutely sure I don't succeed in trying things I notice in other books half the time, but I still like the fact that I've found something I WANT to try. Best of all is when I realized it has actually worked.

      Oh thanks for the link! Funny man, that Seinfeld... Might have to post that to the discussion board for the subject.

  2. Real life always comes first.

    I agree that we learn to write by reading. Which is why I find it interesting that some of the books I've read and loved do a lot of the things we're told now not to do. Do we have to be careful while we're learning as we're reading. lol

    1. We definitely have to be careful when we're learning to write through reading for exactly that reason. And considering the amount of self-published material out there now, this is even more important, because those things publishers are telling us not to do are not being filtered.

  3. It looks like you are busy.
    Thanks for sharing what you've learned with us.

  4. Focus on your studies in university. It's a great opportunity for you to become a better writer. I love Seinfeld and still enjoy watching the re-runs on TV. For me, it's the best TV comedy sitcom ever. It's wonderful that you class covers different styles of writing. You might find out that you have the talent to write for TV sitcoms, for example. I accept that it's good to read a lot of books to become a better writer, but I don't read much. Just curious .. are you quiet in classes (I was) or raise your hand and participate in the discussions?

    1. I can't remember who I was with, but I was joking with another writer-friend about how the world would be better off if we took the writer's of 'Neighbours' and 'Home and Away' hostage and wrote the endings for those two T.V series, so that they'd finally go away. It is still a tempting idea...
      I hated reading as a kid! Not sure what changed in me, but I'm glad it did.
      I go out of my way to participate in class discussion, especially in my tutorials. Lectures are a bit more difficult because I'm busy taking notes.

  5. You're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing by focusing on school...and, um, sharing everything you're learning in your writing classes with us. :D

    And yes, of course, read, read, read. I actually think reading outside of the genre you want to write in is a great thing. Bringing in those crime story elements into a fantasy story is a good hybrid mix, in my opinion.

    1. I like sharing what I've learned with my fellow writers! :) I get to revise, you guys might learn something new... we all win!

      That's an interesting hybrid mix I hadn't thought about before... I think I might do some experimenting! And reading different genres is always nice. You might suddenly find something you didn't know you liked.

  6. Excellent tips! Yes, I really read to dissect a novel. I guess that's why it takes me so long to read books because I'm looking at every part and trying to figure out sentence structure and plot structure. Crazy.

    1. I like being able to dissect a novel, it's fun and useful. But I hate how it can distract from the story and slow you down. Oh well!


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