12 June 2008

Writing Workshop: Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper

Materials needed: a sheet of paper, a pen or pencil, a highlighter, and your imagination
Step 1: Envision
For the next four minutes I want you to close your eyes and imagine a place. This can be any place you choose it to be. It can be in your room, it can be at the beach, or it could be your favorite quiet place. In your mind's eye I want you to really see your place. What does it look like? Can you see any colors? Can you hear any sounds? Are there scents in the air? And if so, what do they smell like?

Step 2: Free Response
Now for the next four minutes I want you to write without stopping about what you just saw in your mind's eye. Try not to censor yourself. Don't worry about punctuation or spelling. Just keep that pen or pencil moving on your paper. If your mind wonders off of your place, then write what your mind is thinking. For example, if your place is the beach and it reminds you about the last time you ate crab, write that. This is a writing workshop. It is a work in progress. You can't do this wrong!

Step 3: Edit Thyself
After four minutes, stop. Relax your hand. Now take your paper and fold it in half. For the next four minutes I want you to rewrite what you just wrote on the front side of your paper. Take out all of the riff-raff. Take out the sentences or words that don't pertain to your sense of place. Add anything you like but you must remember you have limited space here!

Step 4: Edit Thyself Again
Now you are going to fold your paper in half again. You will only have a very small space to write in now. (Your paper should be in four quadrants at this point if you opened it up to its original size.) You will fill this block with what you have just written in Step 3. You will have to decide what can stay and what needs to be edited out due to your lack of space.

Step 5: Adjectives
Highlight all of your adjectives. As a rule of thumb, for every ten words you write you should have at least two adjectives. Did you find you didn't have many (or any) adjectives? That is usually the case. The more describing words the better!

This is a process that can be repeated to help inspire you to write or to practice improving your imagery.

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