Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular by Lawrence Rust HillsThis is one of the best writers guides Ive ever read about the structure of the short story. Some of Rust Hills opinions on popular fiction get pretty elitist. But his advice on how to write a quality short story has given me a lot to think about. Its a very good book.
One of my favorite passages is when he talks about how Joyce Carol Oates claims to have conquered writers block. She says writers block is caused by some problem in the work that the mind cant consciously solve, and that the solution is to put the work aside for a bit until the subconscious solves the problem(p. 194).
Many PhD students have had little or no positive writing experiences, and because writing is one of the most important skills you need, it is very important that you experience writing as positive, and not as something difficult, hard and complicated…. How do you feel when you think about writing? Most writers — even those with a lot of experience — will suffer from an inner critic, who whispers about all kind of fears when they write. It may be worthwhile to find out what your biggest fear about writing is, so you can work in a more targeted manner towards a solution. You may want to ask yourself when you feel good about your writing. What can you learn from those experiences?
Do you tend to view a writing project as a challenge or as a chore? Or is it merely a dull duty, one that you have no strong feelings about at all?
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What this handout is about
In a post-secondary environment, academic expectations change from what you may have experienced in high school. The quantity of work you are expected to do is increased. When instructors expect you to read pages upon pages or study hours and hours for one particular course, managing your workload can be challenging. This chapter includes strategies for studying efficiently and managing your time. The quality of the work you do also changes.
For example, you might feel perfectly fine writing a biology lab report but apprehensive about writing a paper on a novel. You may confidently tackle a paper about the sociology of gender but delete and start over twenty times when composing an email to a cute classmate to suggest a coffee date. These terms do NOT describe psychological attributes. Although there is a great deal of variation among individuals, there are also some common experiences that writers in general find stressful. Choose a writing buddy, someone you trust to encourage you in your writing life. Your writing buddy might be a friend or family member, a classmate, a teacher, a colleague, or a Writing Center tutor.