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Grammar and Good Writing

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Grammar and Good Writing

Post  LeftnRight on Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:26 am

I'm a 21 year old male, i have never have had good grammar. I'm looking into writing as a hobby, i was thinking of doing a writing activity every day or every other day. I was wondering what are some good exercises, as far as working with metaphors and allegories, i was also thinking writing short creative paragraphs on a variety of topics. Any suggestions?

PS- how will writing benefit me in my everyday life

Thank you, i look forward to reading the post


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Re: Grammar and Good Writing

Post  SammyR on Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:19 pm

hi there and welcome to writers online!

It's funny, because I have been thinking about this, if I were to teach someone how to write, how would I go about it?

I am a very systematic person. Because of that, I outline everything I am going to write before I write it. Poetry, stories, essays: you name it, I outline it. This simple act allows me to focus my writing and what I want to say.

Of course, first I need to have something I want to say. The first step in any writing is to brainstorm what you want to say. After that, I use my outline to decide the ways I am going to say it. That's where the metaphors / allegories / other poetic devices might come in.

For example: I want to say something about how much I hate snow. (Yes, it's snowing right now.)

I know what I want to say, but how am I going to say it? I need to decide what kind of writing this is going to be. For now, I think I'll make it a descriptive paragraph.

So I want to say that I hate snow in a descriptive paragraph. I can't just say how much I hate snow, I need to find ways to represent how much I hate snow. So I decide how many ways I want to describe my hate for snow. Let's say, I am going to have three main ways describing how I hate snow.

Now that I know my subject, what I am writing, how many ways I want to describe / approach it, I outline:

I hate snow - the way it covers my car.
I hate snow - the shovelling, the salting, the sanding to get rid of it
I hate snow - the cold when it melts and gets in my shoes

Now that I have the three ways that I am going to use to describe my hate, I need to thinking of more creative ways to describe THOSE!

Covering my car - blanket, blindfold, slow collection, creeping invader

The shovelling, etc. - wage war, work, blue lips, bitter cold, sea water melting down the roads, grit, dirt, grime

The cold - piercing, invading, creeping, crawling, sneaking, sliding, inside my jacket, inside my boots, winds blowing

Now that I have a few images I want to use to describe my hate for snow, I can go ahead and incorporate it all into the paragraph. Were I writing a longer work, like a short story, I might use seperate paragraphs to describe each item and have many more descriptive ideas. As it is, I am keeping it short for the paragraph.

"Its assault is silent: it takes over the land. A white sheet blindfolds Happy, my forlorn Honda Civic, who is lost somewhere in the driveway. Like drones we emerge from our hives, myself and everyone else on the street, with shovels, brushes and scrapers in tow: we wage war on the unsuspecting enemy. Sand and salt are tossed, caltraps hoping to catch and destroy some of the pale opposing troops. Yet in the end, as with most things, the only thing that will save us is time. Soon all our enemy will be is rivlets of salt and grime creeping down the roads in shame."

Since it was only a paragraph, I didn't even approach all of the items on my list. I didn't describe the bitter snow because I was too busy waging war. This isn't my favorite paragraph, but it's a good starting point and it would be a favorable opening to a short story about hating snow.

I don't know if this helped you or not. I hope it did. It works for me (usually) lol
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Re: Grammar and Good Writing

Post  MistyBlue on Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:46 pm

Thats a really helpful reply sammy, i wouldnt have thought if it in that way.

"Sometimes you're doing good work, even when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position" - Stephen King

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Re: Grammar and Good Writing

Post  Crakan68 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:43 pm

I cannot come as close to Sammyt's excellent reply, though I'd like to say that good writing goes in hand with lots of practice. My grammar improved after writing lots of hand written letters to family abroad and making sure my grammar made sense without the ability to make too many corrections. Of course now with email we can afford to be less cautious or careful!

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