Steering The Craft, Anyone? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 29 Old 07-17-2007, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Everyone,
I've just picke dup Ursula K. LeGuin's "Steering The Craft", it's an excellent writers excercise book that iI've done by myself, but would now like to do as a group.

Would anyone like to join me? I have no problem typing out the pages so we don't all have to buy the book. Each chapter is only 5-6 pages, with an "assignment" and a few examples of what the excercise is looking for.

If anyone is interested, it's created to develop your writing skills not just in content, but also in form and style. It can be used for fiction or non-fiction and has amazing excercises for tenses, word choice, flow and everything else you want to hone about your writing.

Let me know and we can do weekly meetings? We can share out work and offer VERY positive and constructive feedback.
-Crystal
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#2 of 29 Old 07-17-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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sign me up!

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#3 of 29 Old 07-18-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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I'd also be interested in joining, sounds like it would be challenging and fun!
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#4 of 29 Old 07-19-2007, 01:11 AM
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This sounds very interesting! I wonder if I could purchase a "used" copy on amazon.com or half.com or something.

I'd love to join and participate, but may not feel comfortable sharing each piece--is that okay?
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#5 of 29 Old 07-19-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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This sounds very interesting! I wonder if I could purchase a "used" copy on amazon.com or half.com or something.

I'd love to join and participate, but may not feel comfortable sharing each piece--is that okay?

I'd also love to join and participate... but I'm in the same boat. It's been a long time since I've written though, and this sounds like exactly the thing I need.

write@home mama to big boy (04-06) and little boy (10-08)
and someone new in november stork-suprise.gif

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#6 of 29 Old 07-19-2007, 11:24 PM
 
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I'm curious...and am interested. With three kids, I am not sure if I can make the commitment, but would like to try....

Maury
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#7 of 29 Old 07-19-2007, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Everyone,
Share what you're comfortabl with, don't worry if you don't want to participate every week. Even if you don't share your writing, feel free to read everyone elses and comment.

Lets start next monday, okay?
-Crystal
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#8 of 29 Old 07-20-2007, 01:59 PM
 
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Hello Everyone,
Share what you're comfortabl with, don't worry if you don't want to participate every week. Even if you don't share your writing, feel free to read everyone elses and comment.

Lets start next monday, okay?
-Crystal
Looking forward to it
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#9 of 29 Old 07-20-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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Sounds good.

maury
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#10 of 29 Old 07-21-2007, 03:01 AM
 
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Sounds good!

write@home mama to big boy (04-06) and little boy (10-08)
and someone new in november stork-suprise.gif

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#11 of 29 Old 07-21-2007, 03:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sea_joy View Post
Hello Everyone,
Share what you're comfortabl with, don't worry if you don't want to participate every week. Even if you don't share your writing, feel free to read everyone elses and comment.

Lets start next monday, okay?
-Crystal
: Perfect! I just ordered the book for $3 from our closest used bookstore. I should have it by Mon!

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#12 of 29 Old 07-21-2007, 04:14 AM
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I just ordered it off half.com...won't have it by Mon. Tell me-are the exercise instructions short enough that someone could tell me (and any others that don't yet have the book) what it is? Or is there a long set up?

BTW-Half still has ONE copy used. Amazon has a bunch-cheapest being $3+S&H. If anyone was looking to buy it.

And I can't rent it from the library, ds owes too much $$ (lost, then found, a DVD). Hmm....maybe I'll just look through and do the 1st exercise at the library in a quiet corner.

Hopefully it'll be here soon.

Can't wait--so it'll be one exercise per week?
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#13 of 29 Old 07-21-2007, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so happy you all are into this idea! I plan on scanning the pages that explain the excercise and putting them on my blog, with a link here. I don't want to reprint copywrited material on Mothering. I'll also put up a link of the writing examples that she offers.

I'd like for everyone to do the excercises even if they don't have the book. So we'll do one every monday. I want everyone to come in and out, however suits them. I'll be doing every week and hopefully someone else will, too.

I'm so excited! The excercises start out easy and move into being more complicated, and although it's nice to have done the previous ones, it's not at all necissary. You can come in whenever you want.

See you Monday,
Crystal
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#14 of 29 Old 07-21-2007, 10:46 PM
 
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Wow!

I worked through some of this book a few years ago but really wanted to do it more in a group setting! I can't wait...I'll have to see if I can find my copy.


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#15 of 29 Old 07-23-2007, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Everyone,
Due to some pressing financial paperwork I had to do today, I'll be postponing todays excercise until tomorrw, when I will have to type it out. This might give time for your books to arrive?

In the meantime, how about an introduction all around?

My name is Crystal, I live on Lopez Island which is in Washington State.
It's a tiny little island with a very "alternative" bent to it, where different is normal.

I had my first baby, Maeve Carys (care-iss) on December 30th this last year in a tub on our living room floor. My husband and I are enraptured with our little human....:

My husband will be attending St. John's College this August in Santa Fe New Mexico, so we're currently contemplating packing our house up into boxes. (Note I said "contemplating" this consists mostly of wondering out loud about how many boxes we're gonna need.)

I've been writing since I was a kid, all fiction of one sort or another. I've had a foray into screen writing, as well as short story writing and poetry.
I LOVE to read, although I haven't got enough time to do it these days. I think maybe having a due date will help me get a kick in the pants to actually accomplish somthing I want so much to do -write!

I'm really excited about everyone wanting to do this, I think it'll be really fun.
Tomorrow then,
Crystal
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#16 of 29 Old 07-23-2007, 11:51 PM
 
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I'm April. 33yo. widowed SAHM of two. I've never written much fiction. I like to write mostly short essay's, articles and poetry. I live in S. Arizona. My senior high school english teacher and a beloved college professor inspired me to start writing. I have been writing ever since, mostly for myself.

I just got my book this afternoon so I am off to read and do the first exercise.

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#17 of 29 Old 07-24-2007, 07:49 AM
 
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My name is Maury. I am married to John. and have 3 wonderful children. Oliver 7, Carter 4, and will be 2 in 2 weeks.

I grew up in NJ, lived in CA for 10 years and moved to GA when my oldest was 8 weeks old. I do not love it here, but am making my peace with it.

I enjoyed writing a lot in high school and took a creative writing course in college, but then I never did much else with it.

Thank you Crystal for initating this.

Maury
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#18 of 29 Old 07-24-2007, 01:53 PM
 
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My name is Maury. I am married to John. and have 3 wonderful children. Oliver 7, Carter 4, and will be 2 in 2 weeks.

I grew up in NJ, lived in CA for 10 years and moved to GA when my oldest was 8 weeks old. I do not love it here, but am making my peace with it.

I enjoyed writing a lot in high school and took a creative writing course in college, but then I never did much else with it.

Thank you Crystal for initating this.

Maury
I also grew up in NJ but now live in CA.

I'm a first time mom to my 9 month old son. I'm a hybrid WAHM/WOHM mom, I go into work two days a week and take my son with me. It's busy, but it's balancing out well.

My husband and I were high school sweethearts, and after years of dating we married in 2002. We just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.

When I was younger I wrote all the time. I journaled, wrote fiction, and participated in student newspapers. I still write, but right now it's all website copy, business letters, and Internet forum posts I'm looking forward to doing something creative again!
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#19 of 29 Old 07-24-2007, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Everyone,
Here's excercise one of Steering The Craft, in it's simplest form. I would suggest to anyone with the means to pick up a copy for themselves, it's pretty cheap, and in addition to what I've typed out here, there's 5 pages or so before each excercise. There's also an excellent dictionary of writing terms and easy to understand grammar.
Here it is.....

Excercise One, BEING GORGEOUS

"For fear of copyright manners" Said Crystal, "without waking the baby, into fearful screams, I shall tap out what Le Guin's excercise 1 means.
To write out a narrative "A what?" A narrative, not prose nor poetry- of lovely, sinewy, floaty, hungry, prowling, growling and whispering writing. Take care not to stumble, or bumble into rhyme, and take the greatest care not to fall into a repetative time.

A page and a half is the most it can be, are you ready? Get set, 1..2...3!




Here are Le Guin's examples:

Gertrude Steins, "Susie Asado"
http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/show/3540...in-Susie-Asado

Rudyard Kipling's "How the whale got his throat"
http://www.boop.org/jan/justso/whale.htm

Mark Twain's "The celebrated jumping frog of calaveras county"
http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/hu.../jumpfrog.html
(note, Le Guin only suggests reading the 5th paragraph)


I thought it would be a good idea for us to write, as an introduction of sorts, to specify what we're looking for in terms of response. Don't feel bad if what you want is for everyone to tell you exactly what they liked and leave it at that! If you're interested (in addition to praise) in hearing constructive criticism, feel free to ask for that as well.

Le Guin suggests that we don't ask questions to clarify the authors intent. She says that if you do have a pressing question, clear it with the rest of the group. Some of us like the mystery, in for example, not knowing who Carla's lover is, or whatever.

I think, if you're up to it, adding a little bit on how you liked or didn't like the excercise would be good, too.

LeGuin says:
Did concentrating on the sound of writing enable or release anything unusual or surprising, a voice you haven't used often? Did you enjoy doing the excercise or was it a strain? Can you see why?

Well, enjoy!
-Crystal
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#20 of 29 Old 07-25-2007, 08:49 PM
 
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This one looks like fun. I'm sharpening my pencils
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#21 of 29 Old 08-01-2007, 12:18 AM
 
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I posted my results from the first exercise on my Momspace blog page. It's a longer than a normal thread post so I wanted to put it on my blog to keep from cluttering up the thread.

I'm open to criticism of any kind, be it constructive, deconstructive or destructive.

I'm looking forward to seeing how others fared with this exercise. I thought it was a lot of fun.
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#22 of 29 Old 08-01-2007, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's my long sitting in my notebook writing excercise. I'll take anything that pops into your head for criticism/ praise. I am aware, though, that it is very non- linear. I thought I would take as much focus as possible off of plot and put it on "being gorgeous". In fact, it makes no sense at all.

You've been warned.

"To start a thing of sparkling prose, and not let me get sucked in, belly first, into the surging pull of childishness is a challenge."

Said Miranda

"To plunge a stark bubbling forth from my pen, like a froth, to spurt onto the page like a human liquid."

Linda bespoke with a calm tone of voice, rising and falling like a splindering Joyce.

That rhymes.
Oh Shit.
I'll have to delete it.

"Nevermind Linda, "

says Dear Abigail

"Let's point to the point, so I know where it lies."

I think this may be meter, poorly printed on my page. At least alliteration has a place upon my stage. And rhyming, too! But are we allowed to start a sentence with and? Or But? Or or?

"Is it bubbly enough?"

Muses Luna...

"Is it too short?"

Nevermind that, pry the prawn from your ears. To dwell upon the shallow caves of plot and rules shall get us squarely in the middle of nothing.

Here's another:

Old man in taxicab kills bear.
Most Brutilly.

"Russians, I mean to say, "
holding my hands
as if to pray
"hold the keys to the secret, the one
worth more than gold.

How to stay
alive when your
soul's gone cold."
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#23 of 29 Old 08-05-2007, 02:13 AM
 
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I liked that a lot, sea_joy, it was great to read out loud. The non-linear nature makes perfect sense in the context of this exercise. Looking forward to seeing more of your work, I like your style
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#24 of 29 Old 08-06-2007, 06:52 PM
 
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Wow - you both did an amazing job.
*.*
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#25 of 29 Old 08-06-2007, 11:43 PM
 
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Very vivid, fivi2 I got a clear mental picture of the scene. Glad you're joining us

After seeing other writers' exercises, I'm starting to notice that this exercise makes the scene easier to "see" because of what you can "hear". What a clever exercise. I'm getting excited about the next one!
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#26 of 29 Old 08-08-2007, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Would anyone else like to add anything before we move on? I'll post the next exercise tomorrow, I think, that way any last minute writing can be added.

I loved the other writing! It was fun to read everything out loud. I hope everyone else feels elike I do, like we're getting nicely acquainted with our writers toolbox.

Okay, more tomorrow!
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#27 of 29 Old 08-08-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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Just got a moment to sit at my computer and read the MDC forums.

This is a great idea, and I'd love in on the next one.

Peace,
Kim
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#28 of 29 Old 08-15-2007, 03:29 AM
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Are we still doing this? I enjoyed reading everyone's first entry, but I felt kind of silly posting my own, but here goes.



What a higgety piggety mess this is-
It’s higgety piggety for sure.
The more I mull over messes made
The more they become blossoming blemishes
On an otherwise pockless Island

The little boys strolls carelessly in
Past the moutains of messes
So I say to the little boy “Little Boy,” I say
“What can be done in the interim
For such an insistant mess
Made completely of pure and perfunctory
Higgety Piggetyness?
Surely you’re as sure as I am sure
Of the surely serious nature of this mess.
So what do you suggest in regards
To this Higgety Piggety mess?”

But the little boy could do nothing but stare,
Stare blankly back at me and my Sureness.
Surely he was mocking me
Maybe mocking me and my mess?
No words escaped his Little Boy mouth
No explanations formed in his brain

And then I saw what the little boy saw.
I used the eyes of the little boy
and the Higgety Piggety mess disappeared
As surely as I’m sure it was there at all.
Little Boy’s eyes sharpened on the structure, and the mess was no more.
In its place was a partially perfect, potentially purposeful pile
Set there by magicality and imagination
For Little Boy to rough-and-tumble his way
Through another lazy summer day
On the Higgety Piggety Island.


Again, this is not my favorite piece, and and constructive criticism is welcome.

VERNA: Can I just say that I love this line?
Quote:
Slip, slip...sizzle.
It's so fun to say out loud and imagine.

PS-Working on exercise 2. I've got some ideas brewing as we speak.
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#29 of 29 Old 08-18-2007, 01:17 PM
 
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i'm sorry this thread died

Wife to the man I never expected, DS born at home '07, '08, baby girl born at home Oct '09!
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