Le Guin Writing Exercises #3 - Sentence Length

*I have been reading Ursula Le Guin's book Steering the Craft and completing the exercises here to give myself some accountability.

Ursula Le Guin's Third Exercise - Sentence Length Practice

In this exercise, the writer is asked to write one paragraph with many small sentences (no longer than seven words, no sentence fragments), and one paragraph made up entirely of one sentence. Different versions of the exercise are offered including:

1. Using the same topic for both pieces.
2. Using different topics for each piece.
3. Using topics meant to be fast paced for both short and long sentences and seeing what changes.
4. Using topics meant to be slow paced for both short and long sentences and seeing what changes.

I plan on using the same topic. The topic I will use is from @anndeecandy's Instagram account giving memoir prompts. I will turn my memoir prompt into a fiction prompt and use it for this exercise. This particular prompt asks the writer to address the idea of growing…

Strawberries and Violets

Last year, almost at the end of summer, I finally bought a dead-looking bunch of strawberry plants. My daughter had been begging for us to plant strawberries, and it had taken me that long to make the purchase. Truthfully, it only happened because a leftover slab of strawberries pretty much walked its way into my cart while I went to buy something else. Still, promise kept, strawberries bought.

We planted the strawberries and, since we live in Idaho, it was still cool enough for them to grow. We got about three strawberries and all took turns taking a bite. Then we waited excitedly for the next year, when there would be more strawberries.

When spring came we were happy to note that the strawberries had spread out and begun growing even more plants. Little white flowers dotted the greenery, all of them promising a bountiful harvest. We had neighbors with awesome strawberry patches, and felt we were well on our way to acquiring our own.

And then, something happened. If that sounds vague…

Thoughts on Editing a Book

This is a writing blog. It's a record of my thoughts on writing. 
Ironically, I've often struggled with what I want to write about in this space. Time spent writing at my house (six kids, remember!) is limited, and I can't spend hours blogging "about writing" while I fail to work on my writing. As I've thought about this the past few months, I've had these thoughts:

1. I want the content on this blog to be useful to other writers, or interesting to those who want to know more about the world of writing.
2. I want my time spent here to be improving my own writing craft. Let's hit two birds with one stone, amiright?
3. I want to be able to share my writing, rather than horde it on my computer (even if/when agents/editors aren't ready to do the same). Writing is interactive, it needs to be coupled with reading, and I shouldn't have to give that part of writing up because of the faraway opinions of people I don't know.

Sooooooo, I started a f…

Unfurl - First Draft Poetry

My written thoughts always come out in the first draft in a somewhat "poetic" form. 

Bearskin's first real draft (there was an original draft that is nowhere near the same book) was written primarily in poems that I later fleshed out. One of my drawer manuscripts, Of Two Minds, was also written in poems to begin with, though it has only kept a few of its poems for its final draft. 

I *blame* this on my childhood obsession with L.M. Montgomery. Something of the rhythm of her writing has formed a big corner of my foundation when it comes to writing. I don't know that anyone else will see the similarity, but in my head, it's all growing from the same place. 

So last year, when I had a year of moving and baby-birthing and such, I told myself I'd write a poem a day to keep my writing habit. It pulled me through those months, and I enjoyed the simplicity of a short poem. I didn't need to flesh out the middle, or come up with small plot lines, or make sure I was de…

Le Guin Exercises #2 - Punctuation

Punctuation? Punctuation! Lot, and lots, and lots of punctuation!

This week's Ursula LeGuin prompt (from Steering the Craft) is to try writing a piece without punctuation so that, as an author, you notice why you use punctuation. I added onto the prompt in the following ways:

1. I took @anndeecandy's memoir prompt for the day for a topic, allowing myself 10 minutes to write with no corrections.

Topic: A time when you've been an outsider.

2. I also decided to punctuate the piece abnormally afterwards, and see if I could make it funny. It hurt my heart to punctuate incorrectly, and only a few parts were funny.

3. I decided to punctuate the piece normally. (I wanted to delete some words to make it cleaner, but I went with my "no corrections" assignment from above.)

And after all that.... I'm pretty sure I still want to stick with punctuation.

Here goes:

An outsider. No punctuation.
There are people who know how to talk to each other you know they like talking the…