Category Archives: Craft Techniques

Writing techniques and exercises learned from things I’ve read, seen, and heard.

Writing, fast and slow

“If a short story doesn’t pour smooth from the start, then it never will.”—John Updike Creativity moves at different speeds. Writing fast: Sometimes a story will spring forth, fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus and you’ll feel … Continue reading

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IT by Stephen King: (how to write social commentary and still be entertaining)

“The task of a writer is not to solve a problem but to state the problem correctly.” — Anton Chekhov   It is a novel about an evil phantom clown who haunts a small Maine town called Derry. This evil clown, who … Continue reading

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Updike and dominant metaphors

Another interesting thing I’d like to mention about John Updike is his use of the central metaphor. In Adam Begley’s biography, Updike, the young Updike is at Harvard taking lectures on Shakespeare from Harry Levin. And it’s at this early stage … Continue reading

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How to Read: Part 4 – The Rhetoric Stage

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series How to Read

Rhetoric is the third part of the trivium, and it is basically the art of persuasion. In his introduction Write Like the Masters, William Cane writes: [Rhetoric is] much more than verbal volleyball and pontificating propagandism. Rhetoric also encompasses methods of being felicitous … Continue reading

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How to Read: Part 3 – The Logic Stage

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series How to Read

The Logic Stage If, during the Grammar level of reading, you were asking “What happened? Who did it happen to? What was this story about?”—you must now ask “How was it done?” Your job is to separate story from plot, character from characterization. Instead … Continue reading

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