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I just had THE most liberating experience

steering the craft

I've started reading Ursula K. Le Guin's book on writing, Steering The Craft. Having just completed Chapter Two, (Punctuation: which sagely advises reading Strunk & White's Elements of Style) I decided to do its exercise, which was simply to write 350 words of narrative without any punctuation, no commas, no periods, no apostrophes, and no paragraph breaks.
Why this was so liberating is because I'm kind of a persnickety writer, too fussy with every word in each sentence even while in first-draft mode. It takes me forever to write anything. Using this exercise as my guide, just getting out words all thrown down in a bunch, I wrote 335 words in 15 minutes. Three hundred and thirty-five words in 15 minutes!! And they're good words, which actually does matter. For me, that's like lightening speed.
I'm going to use this method in the future because however long it will take me to clean up those 335, I will still end up with better writing done more quickly. I can't wait for Chapter Three.

Title of Chapter Two::damn the semicolons cried the captain full speed ahead :)

To put this into perspective, it took me nearly an hour to write the above, barely 200 words. Seriously.




( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2014 03:38 am (UTC)
Oh,we are twins, separated at birth! I am just like you when it comes to writing: persnickety.

Definitely want LeGuin's book.

She is a wonderful writer herself. One of her books (The Left Hand of Darkness) was assigned reading for Sam's Mosaics class this semester. I have the original paperback edition - I think it cost me 75 cents - so old it doesn't have an ISBN. FanSee
Jan. 15th, 2014 05:56 pm (UTC)
Good to know I'm not alone :)

I've actually done a couple of more chapter ending assignment, I don't normally do these in writing how-to books but this time I'm having so much fun, I must, and the above-mentioned method continues to work. I'm writing madly and loving it. If you give it a try, let me know if it does or doesn't work for you :)

I haven't actually read any of her works, but have her Earthsea Trilogy on my mission101 so...soon!! I think the Left Hand will come soon after as I keep hearing such good things about it. Did you read it? Did Sam enjoy it?
Jan. 16th, 2014 12:56 am (UTC)
Never heard of this book. Might have to give it a read.

Have to say that writing w/o punctuation would drive me mental.
Jan. 16th, 2014 03:56 pm (UTC)
I thought writing without punctuation would drive me mental too, but instead, I just let the words flow, stream-of-conscious, and it was wonderful. It will take some time adding punctuation in but, for me anyway, it will be worth it.

If you do read le Guin's book, let me know what you think.
Jan. 16th, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
I need this so much its incredible.
Jan. 16th, 2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
I thought you might be like me, meticulous, and doing this exercise allowed me to just let the words flow naturally, no worries. I can fix it up in the second revision (and the third and the fourth...) I've done a couple of more exercises, trying to maintain this idea, and it continues to work. What's fun is that I'm using all of her exercises to write one story, each exercising coinciding with one part of the story. What will be interesting is at the end, making them all mesh together harmoniously.

Hope it works :)
Mar. 12th, 2014 05:15 am (UTC)
I tried this the other day and wrote 16 pages.
Mar. 12th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
I didn't do that well, that's impressive! I'm glad you seemingly found the technique beneficial. Was it just a writing exercise or are you working on a story?

When I posted this, I was at about 8 or 9 thousand words, thinking I'd end up with around 15,000. I'm now at 27,000 with an end-goal of more like 35,000. It's weirdly wonderful how these things can get so out-of-hand, isn't it?
Mar. 15th, 2014 03:00 am (UTC)
A diary entry.

I love stream of thought.
Jan. 16th, 2014 03:37 pm (UTC)
"I'm kind of a persnickety writer, too fussy with every word in each sentence even while in first-draft mode."
Ha!Ha! Join the Persnickety First Draft Club! I hear ya and feel ya, hon!
Jan. 16th, 2014 04:11 pm (UTC)
It's good knowing I'm not alone. Maybe give this a try, let the words flow and then, be persnickety on the second draft. Join the Persnickety Second Draft Club, which I think will, for me anyway, allow writing to be more natural and fun.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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