Sep 20, 2012, 5:00 AM
Post #1 of 1
The Time Is Now, Week 37
The Time Is Now September 20, 2012
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|Welcome to The Time Is Now. For even more inspiration, check out our Tumblr, Lines We Live By, a collection of excerpts from our favorite books.|
Choose a poem--one of your favorites or one you select randomly--and closely analyze its structure. How many stanzas does it have? How many lines comprise each stanza? How many stressed syllables are in each line? Is there a pattern to the number of syllables per line? Once you've fully analyzed the structure, write a poem of your own using that structure.
In R. V. Cassill's classic book Writing Fiction (Prentice Hall Trade, 1975), he describes "conversion," a method for revision that he says is "vaguely comparable to transposing a piece of music from one key to another." Try the following conversion exercise: Cut up a story into its paragraphs (using scissors). Rearrange the paragraphs, and add any connective writing needed to support the new structure.
Creative Nonfiction Prompt
Some of the best stories and essays revolve around the author's hometown. Spend fifteen minutes freewriting about the town or city in which you grew up. Focus on the people, the places, the landscape, and the memories surrounding them. Where was your favorite place to eat? Who were the most interesting characters? What did you do with your family and friends? What did the school look like? Where did you go when you wanted to run away? Read what you've written and choose a section or detail that you find most compelling. Freewrite about it again. Using the second exercise as a guide, put together a collection of items that relate to what you've written, such as maps, menus, or photographs. Next, reach out to family and friends for their related memories about what you've written. Use this collection of writing and ephemera to inspire an essay.
The Best Books for Writers
Each week we recommend a book--a newly published title or an invaluable classic--that will help you on your writing journey. This week's pick:
Economy of the Unlost (Princeton University Press, 1999) by Anne Carson
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A profile of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet laureate Natasha Trethewey,
our annual coverage of MFA programs, over 100 writing contests with upcoming deadlines, and more
in the September/October 2012
issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.
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