Author: Jack Remick

Make Bad Writing Better

Note: This page is in its infancy. More internal links coming. ©2010 by Jack Remick and Robert J Ray The ProblemTree To solve your writing problems, click on the links. My story feels: too big – go to compression; scene list, spine-finder, character grid, Aristotle’s incline too disconnected — go to scene list, image and action, spine-finder, sector summary I can’t get started: go to the curve, firsts and lasts, pathways to the novel I can’t find my voice: monologue, dialogue, dialogue, monologue My writing feels: too loose – go to image and action, spine-finder too far away – go to operation ratio, nouns-verbs, objects too abstract – operation ratio nouns My character feels: lifeless – writing backstory, secrets, wounds, intruder silly – go to car action (car accident, near-death experience, incarceration) shallow – go to sexual triad, incarceration, intruder dull – go to syntactic flex, heavy on the LSR, intruder What do I write about today? go to firsts and last, getting started diagram My sentences feel: too short too long too uniform too formal – go to syntactic flex exercise, When do I start rewriting? go to synopsis for act three Where do I start rewriting? novel: climax, then subplot one, antagonist; short story: climax, then midpoint; memoir: Terrible Parent scene list Can I have more than one protagonist? character grid, core story, read Amsterdam Share this:TweetShare...

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Beginner’s Mind–Writing Practice

© 2010 by Jack Remick and Robert J Ray Beginner’s Mind: Writing Practice—Foundations of Craft Writing Under the Clock to Free up the Creative Mind We encourage writers to adopt timed writing as a discipline. For the writer who has never experienced timed writing, we strongly suggest buying and reading Natalie Goldberg’s foundation book, Writing Down The Bones. Writing under the clock (what Natalie Goldberg calls “writing practice”)  opens you up to all kinds of writing—poetry, fiction, sketch, dramatic writing, and essay. In this book we use writing practice to assist the writer in creating progressive segments of timed writing  which build stamina, strength, insight, flexibility, and writerly self-awareness.Timed writing is a sure-fire way to discipline. It’s in in three parts: 1) selecting a fiction problem 2) setting  the timer for five, ten, fifteen or more minutes 3) finishing what you start. Natalie Goldberg says it very simply: “Keep your hand moving until the time is up.” This  essential discipline—finishing what you start is the foundation of craft.  Timed writing frees up your creative mind by putting your internal editor to work watching the clock while you roam the fields of fiction unfettered to finish what you start without the internal editor bothering you about the small things. Writing practice strengthens the writer’s craft by extending writing times on topic that take writers deep into their creative unconscious to...

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The Intruder

How to use the Intruder to create drama in your story. ©2010 by Jack Remick and Robert J Ray The intruder is your key to instant drama. Say you’re writing a scene where two people are talking. Your dialogue is okay – you’re following the Rules (see Dialogue) – but when your friends act out the voices, there’s no heat. No fire. No drama.  The scene is dead. Solution – bring on the intruder. That third character. If your characters are in bed in a hotel room, the intruder could be a jealous spouse with a gun or a bellboy with champagne and caviar. The two characters and their dialogue create a closed circle, a private space, temporary but real; the intruder creates tension, because he (or she) disturbs the balance of two people alone. A couple of examples: Philip Marlowe the private eye is the intruder who penetrates the moneyed closed circle of Sternwood Manor (The Big Sleep). Jane Eyre is the intruder who penetrates the closed circle of Thornfield Hall (Jane Eyre). Jay Gatsby is the intruder who penetrates the closed circle of Daisy’s East Egg mansion. Gatsby, the hero with his head lulled by romance, will penetrate that circle only once. Tomorrow, because he crossed the wrong threshold, Gatsby will be dead. Katherine Clifton, the wife of Geoffrey the spy, penetrates two closed circles: circle number...

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A Course In Memoir

©2003 by Jack Remick and Robert J Ray This is a sample taken from a year-long course we taught at the University of Washington Extension. We developed a specialized language for this class–Memoir Moment, Node, Natural Journey–so it takes some getting used to. The goal was to bring some structure to the personal memoir process. We used rhetorical devices to enrich and enhance writers’ work.  We recommended Robert Harris’s Writing with Clarity and Style, A Guide to Rhetorical Devices for Contemporary Writers. We suggest that all of you who stop here also purchase this book and dig deep into it. You’ll come away a much better writer. The Language of Memoir, Week Two Boardwork: Author, Title, # of Pages Completed, Node Title 1. Introduction: Finding figures and modes in Slater’s Node 3, “The Convulsive Stage”, and then packing them into your prose in the Designated Node. Polysyndeton, p 111. 2. Warmup: The Node I’m working on (1-2-3-4 or 5), is built with X# of chunks named (1,2,3…) Reading in Groups Choose a Reader Words of Wisdom Mini-lecture on the goals of the Language of Memoir: Flexibility, elegance, grace, rhythm, balance. Your role as Guardians of the language Example: Churchill paragraph. Read it aloud, circle words, talk about it. 3. Prepping for the Rewrite – content analysis, mode search. The Process: Writer A reads a passage or paragraph Feedback from...

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Copyright & Excerpts

©2010-2017 Jack Remick, Robert J. Ray. All rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including text and images, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Short excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray and "Bob and Jacks Writing Blog" with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.