Category: verbs

Susan Canavarro~Guest Writer

Susan Canavarro is an artist living in Florence, Oregon. Her memoir, “Fragments: Growing Up Bohemian Poor in Dementia’s House”, is available in e-book and paperback. This is her first Guest Writer appearance on our blog. I write memoir fragments. Following a few of Robert and Jack’s writing techniques, I am working on getting rid of the passive voice, replacing weak verbs with strong, using concrete nouns, shucking armored prose, and looking for metaphor. Eliminating the passive voice requires taking ownership of my thoughts and feelings and imagery. My ah-ha moment: taking ownership is scary. Taking ownership means I must stop being the victim. Taking ownership leads me to truths about myself like: I’m afraid to express myself with certainty because I am afraid of being wrong or stupid. So I hedge all writing, all painting, all thoughts using my passive voice. The passive voice is a great tool if you want to create a character like me in your novel. But I want to be strong, so out it goes! Shucking armored prose is also about taking ownership. Don’t fill up the page with abstract nouns and weak verbs like, my favorite, I’ve been thinking, or I would have thought…and for god’s sake, stop with all those adverbs! I can’t always avoid armored prose, but I’m learning not to love it. In writing The Auto/Body Connection I explored the...

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Page Eight–Zen Poetics-The Poetics of Fiction 2

Page Eight–Zen Poetics–The poetics of fiction 2 ©2012 by Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray This is the Second Posting on Zen Poetics for Fiction Writers: A Golden Rule: Force the writer to create with power.  Zen Poetics: How to read a poem To read a poem, you must first HEAR it. Let the words roll out and over you. To read a poem, do this—tape yourself reading it then close your eyes and listen. Poems want to enter you as voice. Poems want to enter you as emotion. The voice enters you and you hear action and you see images. Story to the fiction writer is the big thing. Story moves in time. Image and action and compression are the big things to the poet. Compression means the poet squeezes out all the Unnecessary leaving only the Essential. Time is essential to story. Not essential to poem. The Unnecessary is any word or cluster of words in a line that impedes the image’s completion. Image is analogy. Analogy is metaphor. Her hair hung like copper wire Coiled on ashen shoulders Zen  Poetics Unearths Illusion Fiction writers get lost in language because language is deceptive. Clearing out the Unnecessary lets the writer show the story as it happens instead of telling the story in garbled mucked up prose loaded with embedded clauses and wondereds and imagineds and realizeds. The...

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Going Cosmic with Timed Writing

Going Cosmic–The Power of Writing Practice ©2011 By Jack Remick & Robert J. Ray Writing practice, writing under the clock, frees you from the clutches of the infernal ghost in the culture machine – the editor. The editor, wrapped in rules and logic, dresses up like mom, and dad, and the third grade teacher who taught you to dot your I’s and cross your T’s, and begin every sentence with a capital letter. The editor, logic posing as a rocket scientist  puts astronauts on the moon, builds atomic bombs, creates architectural marvels out of steel and concrete and glass – but the editor cannot open the doorway to the creative unconscious. Helpless in the clutches of the ghost in the culture machine, the language dies a cold, cold death. The dead language is all around us. It is around us in Pentagon obfu-speak, it is around us in oprahesque-tele-babble, it is around us in politico-pseudo-psycho chatter, it is around us in the punchless wonders of thickly paragraphed novels marching over the edge of the world like literary lemmings – weak verb, soft noun, zero conflict, washed out, pale skinned three-legged lemmings. With writing practice, writing under the clock, you shoulder the dead language aside to discover the energy of your creative powers. The dead language: “He slipped out of the room to look for the clock, and by his...

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