Writing

  • Writing 

    I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl and was constantly making up stories inside my head before I even knew how to speak. It all started before I even picked up a book or had a general idea what the concept of “writing” really was. The craft of story was constantly calling out to me, even if I didn’t understand it back then.

    I’m sure many of you may sympathize with this. Perhaps you fell in love with a certain book so much you’d love to make a masterpiece like that for yourself. Maybe you find sentences lovely or certain adjectives exciting. To non-writers this may seem odd, but don’t worry, you’re safe to be odd here. I’ll be the first to admit I am a complete word-nerd.

    But the trouble is I’m also a student, which means writing has this odd dichotomy inside of me as an activity of complete enjoyment and also that boring assignment due next week. Sometimes, as I stare at my screen, I get overwhelmed with how much I don’t know or how much there is left to do. Writing is hard and, more than often, I need inspiration to pick up a pen and feel like I am truly working towards something.

    So here, as my gift to you, are books from writers to writers that will again renew inside of you that spark. 

    11.08 On WritingON WRITING: A MEMIOR OF THE CRAFT
    By Stephen King
    (2000)

    This is the first writing book I ever read, back in high school when I was fearful of the advice the book may contain because it was by Stephen King. Surely the man woke up with the genius to write his famous works. Yet, when I began to read, I found that King presented himself as any other human. There were his struggles, his disappointments, and also his highlights. This living legend is actually just a human with loads of ambition. He covers aspect of his life and also goes deeply into what he has learned are successful tools for any writer.

     

    11.08 Bird by BirdBIRD BY BIRD: SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE
    By Anne Lamott
    (1994)

    The advice begins with a story of Lamott’s father, also a writer, and gives the book its name. She writes, “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’” If you are overwhelmed by writing, pick up Bird by Bird for some inspiration on how to pace yourself.

     

    11.08 Of Other WorldsOF OTHER WORLDS: ESSAYS AND STORIES
    By C. S. Lewis
    (1994)

    C.S. Lewis, another of the greats, takes a different approach in this book than many others. Rather than explaining what the tools of a great writer are, he focuses on the importance wonder within a story, which was largely critiqued when he was writing. Speculative fiction writers should take notice of this volume as Lewis writes about his favorite stories and why readers particularly like them. On top of all of this, he adds stories of his own, including insights from his most famous works. This collection is truly a celebration of fantasy.

     

    11.08 Dear AllyDEAR ALLY, HOW DO YOU WRITE A BOOK?
    By Ally Carter
    (2019)

    After receiving numerous emails from teens, YA writer Ally Carter discovered that not only do teens have great questions about writing, they are also extremely passionate about the craft. Carter admits “how to write books” helped her when she was first starting out and felt she needed to send out a call to all teens to email their major writing questions. This book is a collection of those questions and Carter’s answers in an attempt to help writers, especially teen writers. Queries and answers range from, “how do I begin a story?” to, “what do I do now that I’ve finished?” and everything in between.

     
  • Poetry

    How are you enjoying National Poetry Writing Month? If you're participating in #NaPoWriMo, it can be hard to decide what to write about, but we're here to help! Here are a few prompts to get you started this week.

    Day 8: Idioms and proverbs are fun because when someone unfamiliar with one asks us, “What does that mean?” we don’t know always how to respond. We just know, right? Find an idiom or proverb you love (or one that you don’t get) and write a poem around it.

    Day 9: Use these random words and write a poem: coil, useless, hulking, wistful, space.

    Day 10: Let’s try syllable work and create a Cinquain poem. The Cinquain is five lines long. The first line is comprised of 2 syllables, 4 in the second line, 6 in the third, 8 in the fourth, and 2 in the fifth. 

    Day 11: Write a poem relying on the senses of smell, taste, hearing, touch. Do not use sight at all in the poem but rather create an image with the other four senses. 

    Day 12: Find five things in your house that start with the same letter. Write a poem where they all appear.

    Day 13: Write a poem where your first initial is the first letter of each line in the first stanza, your middle initial is the first letter of each in the second stanza  (if you don’t have one, you get one less stanza!), and your last initial is the first letter of the last stanza. For extra credit, create a final line where you have a word starting with each letter to finish off.

    Day 14: Let’s practice repetition! Pick a letter in the alphabet and try to repeat the letter again and again in your poem.

    For more poetic inspiration, be sure to check out last week's post, and be on the lookout for more ideas the next two weeks. 

  • Poetry

    You're halfway done with NaPoWriMo! Hopefully the muses are still inspiring you, but we're also here to help. Why not check out a collection of poems like this anthology? Struggling with meter and rhythm? Maybe listening to poetry like the ones in this collection will be just the cure you need.

    Day 15: Halfway there! Today, pick two of the poems you’ve already written and try to combine them in some way. This could be taking the style of one and the theme of another or perhaps creating a metaphor that recognizes two ideas you have thought about.

    Day 16: Write about a time you had to say goodbye, whether to a person, to an ideal, or to a time of life.

    Day 17: Find a random piece of prose online. This could range from blog posts (you could take this one for instance) or a page from a story. Print it out and practice blackout poetry, which is where you blackout all the words except the ones you want to use to create a poem.

    Day 18: Embody one of your favorite book characters and how they would react to a situation in your life.

    Day 19: Go to an art exhibit (like perhaps one in The Attic at your local library), listen to a movie score, or participate in some form of art that isn’t literary. Write a poem inspired by that piece of art. 

    Day 20: Everyone has that weird pet peeve. Today, write a poem about yours.

    Day 21: Think about food. Eat some food. Write about food. 

    If you missed them, don't forget to check out the prompts from the first and second weeks of April, and be sure to watch for next week's edition!

  • Poetry

    Well, poets, you've nearly finished! With just nine days to go in NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month), here are a few prompts to guide you:

    Day 22: Take a favorite quote of yours (or at least a part of one) and make it the first and last line of the poem. Try to make the quote mean something different with each use.

    Day 23: Make a concrete poem or a visual poem where the poem visually looks like what its describing (for instance, George Herbert’s poem “The Altar” was built to look like an alter) 

    Day 24: Poetry. Math. Poetry and Math. Write a poem about math. Whether that makes something in math a metaphor for life or you find a poetry form that is mathematical (like Fibonacci Poetry), let’s try to be inspired by math today.

    Day 25: Look at the last photo you took on your phone. Give yourself only two minutes to write a poem that is inspired by that photo.

    Day 26: Write a poem where the title has a completely different tone or context than the actual content of the poem. (Example: The title “Summer Fun” and then the poem is about winter) 

    Day 27: Write a prose poem about a Greek myth that interests you. 

    Day 28: Who do you look up to? Write a poem that is also a letter to an important person in your life.

    Day 29: Write a poem that is only 10 words long.

    Day 30: Think about poetry and yourself as a poet. Address your reader and discuss what poetry means to you. 

    How did #NaPoWriMo go for you? Please share your creations with us!

  • Poetry

    Poetry. I understand that the mere word instils fear into the hearts of some. But I think there is a kind of poetry for everyone. So, this month I wish to celebrate the art of poetry. 

    As I believe that there is poetry for everyone to enjoy, I also think everyone should dabble in the writing of poetry. As part of National Poetry Month, there is a challenge to write a poem every day. I am going to participate in this challenge and encourage all of you to do the same!

    I have written 30 days worth of prompts so you don’t need to have any fear or crisis with lack of ideas. Also, hopefully these challenges are diverse enough that they give you practice in many different styles of poetry. As you work to complete this challenge, I encourage you not to worry about how “good” your poems are. Just write for the sake of creating something that only you could have written. If there’s one that you like or see potential in, come back to it later and make it something even more beautiful. If there’s one that makes your stomach cringe, just try again the next day. Ultimately this is about practice, not perfection.

    If you don’t like my prompts (or would like more) please visit napowrimo.net. They will be posting daily prompts throughout April.

    Day 1: April Fools Day! Write a nonsense poem, which is basically poetry that has no meaning and is whimsical and focused mainly on rhyme. (A great nonsense poet is Dr. Seuss)

    Day 2: Find a book (perhaps at your local library) and turn to page 35, pick a sentence, and write a poem with that sentence as inspiration.

    Day 3: Write an elegy or an ode to an odd object found around the house. (For example, I once wrote an ode to all the bobby-pins I’ve lost over the years)

    Day 4: What’s your least favorite kind of weather? Ok, now write a poem glorifying it with beautiful language. 

    Day 5: Take a drive or search online for a house that is unique. Whether it is cute or creepy, large or small, write a poem about that house and why it struck you. 

    Day 6: Did you know Dictionary.com has a word of the day? Look up the one for today and somehow integrate that word into your poem.

    Day 7: Love poems seem to all be the same these days. Take the idea of love (in any of its forms) and compare it to an unusual object. Start your poem with: “Love is” and insert your own word or phrase. (For example: “Love is a Lucky Charms cereal box”)  

    We'll share another week's worth of prompts next Monday. In the meantime, feel free to share your poetric creations with us!

  • NaNo 2017 FB event

    NaNoWriMo. Na. No. Wri. Mo.  NaNoWriMo. Reading this word over and over again makes me think of the Muppets classic song, “Manamana.” How are you supposed to say this word? And what does it mean? I have to admit that I saw this word everywhere for years before I figured it out.

    NaNoWriMo is the shorthand version of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo takes place every November, and during that time people are challenged to write a novel in one month. Here at the Provo City Library, we host NaNoWriMo Write In sessions the first three Saturdays of November from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

    We’ve been hosting Come Write In sessions at the library for a few years now, but this year things will be a little different. A few months ago we repurposed our old computer lab into a programming space. This is great news, because it means we’ll have more room for you to bring your laptops (or we have some you can use as well) and you can setup your writing space in the way that’s most convenient for you. Come be inspired by the general air of creativity and imagination that gathers when a group of authors come together to write and discuss their work! Fuel up with snacks and participate in writing sprints! 

    Not sure you are quite ready to begin the writing process? Would you like some general guidance on how to craft a good story? Gear up for NaNoWriMo by attending our Fiction Writing Basics classes, held every Wednesday evening from October 4th to November 8th, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. We’ll be covering topics such as:

    • How to create characters people care about.
    • Writing plots that are engaging and keep your readers' attention, with structures that make sense.
    • Strategies for busting through writer's block.
    • Learning how to edit your piece once it's done.

    All of the above events take place in our Shaw Programming Room, #260.

    One of my favorite parts of working in a library is the opportunity it gives me to meet amazing authors, so I can’t wait for the fun to begin!

  •  writing memoir

    Since I have been reading a lot of memoir, I have been thinking about how you write a memoir.  I have been an obsessive journaler since I was thirteen.  In my early twenties I wanted to do something more than just journal.  A writing mentor introduced me to Natalie Goldberg’s WRITING DOWN THE BONES and I was hooked. I didn’t know there were books about writing books! 

    The most important thing I learned from this book was to get in the habit of writing every day in my writer’s notebook. This is the first tool in your toolkit. So, I set the goal that I was going to write in my notebook for ten minutes every day. Soon, I discovered that I was writing for thirty minutes every day. My notebook turned into notebooks! These notebooks gave me the building blocks that I needed to translate messy journal passages into thoughtful, personal essays (more on that, later). If you are interested in starting a writing practice or enriching your journaling process, check out these books from our catalogue. 

    10.09 Writing Down the BonesWRITING DOWN THE BONES
    By Natalie Goldberg
    (2010)

    This is the book that started it all. Goldberg is full of energy and excitement. Go get a notebook! Sit down! Breathe! Write! But she doesn’t leave you hanging. Every chapter is about an aspect of writing. Say you want more help with wordiness; she has a chapter for that. Maybe you have writer’s block; there’s a chapter for that. You can either read straight through, or focus on different aspects of your writing. 

     

    10.09 The Right to WriteTHE RIGHT TO WRITE
    By Julia Cameron
    (1999)

    Julia Cameron’s first book THE ARTIST’S WAY introduces the idea of morning pages. That you roll out of bed and walk over to your desk and write for thirty minutes to an hour. In this book , every chapter introduces a myth that we have been taught about writing and ways to give away those myths and keep writing. Then she gives an invitation to write. These prompts are really fun and insightful. I really enjoyed them.

     

    10.09 Writers Idea BookTHE WRITER’S IDEA BOOK
    By Jack Heffron
    (2000)

    If you want practical advice and prompts for what to write about, this is your book. Building off the ideas that you will see in Cameron and Goldberg, Heffron gives you pages and pages of writing prompts that range from the tender to the hysterical (you wake up and find a clown in your room, what do you do?)

     

    10.09 Bird by BirdBIRD BY BIRD: SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE
    By Anne Lamott
    (1995)

    Lamott weaves stories of her childhood throughout solid, step by step writing advice. She is inspiring in her advice to get the first draft out in your notebook and then build from there. She also encourages you to keep your heart and your eyes open because writing is everywhere and anywhere and always within us.

     

    10.09 On WritingON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT
    By Stephen King
    (2000)

    Don’t be scared. This book is amazing. For those who love King’s stories, he does talk about how he wrote his books;  for those who are a leery, he focuses on the tools of the craft more than the scary details of his demented tales.  King’s biggest piece of advice is to read. Read, read, read. “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t the time or the tools to write.”