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The Psychology of What Makes a Great Story. “Stories,” Neil Gaiman asserted in his wonderful lecture on what makes stories last, “are genuinely symbiotic organisms that we live with, that allow human beings to advance.”

The Psychology of What Makes a Great Story

But what is the natural selection of these organisms — what makes the ones that endure fit for survival? What, in other words, makes a great story? That’s what the great Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner (October 1, 1915–June 6, 2016), who revolutionized cognitive psychology and pioneered the modern study of creativity in the 1960s, explores in his 1986 essay collection Actual Minds, Possible Worlds (public library). In an immensely insightful piece titled “Two Modes of Thought,” Bruner writes: There are two modes of cognitive functioning, two modes of thought, each providing distinctive ways of ordering experience, of constructing reality.

Bruner calls these two contrasting modes the paradigmatic or logico-scientific, characterized by a mathematical framework of analysis and explanation, and the narrative. Kurt Vonnegut’s Lost NYU Lecture on What It Takes to Be a Writer, Animated. Kurt Vonnegut (November 11, 1922–April 11, 2007) was not only a writer of timeless wisdom on the craft, but an irrepressible humanist of rare insight into the secret of happiness and astute advice on living meaningfully.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Lost NYU Lecture on What It Takes to Be a Writer, Animated

Although he was the era’s most sought-after commencement speaker and delivered some masterful lectures — including his now-legendary dissection of the shapes of stories — the most revealing talk Vonnegut ever gave was in many ways an antithesis to his formal public appearances. On November 8, 1970 — three days before his forty-eight birthday and shortly after his play Happy Birthday, Wanda June opened in New York — Vonnegut showed up at an NYU classroom as a guest lecturer with a handful of handwritten talking points.

The talk was recorded and broadcast on New York’s WBAI public radio station, and has been preserved by the Pacifica Radio Archives. How to Tell a True Tale: Neil Gaiman on What Makes a Great Personal Story. A Good Infographic on How to Organize Your Writing Office. April , 2017 Your attention span is affected by several factors and physical environment is an important one among them.

A Good Infographic on How to Organize Your Writing Office

Our attentional capacities are strictly related to the visual stimuli we are exposed to. The more visual stimuli competing for our attention the more divided our focus can get. Physical clutter, as this study shows, can reduce the ability to focus. Point of View. SMART teaching strategies. Students need to understand the differences between spoken and written language, and they should write with a meaningful purpose and audience in mind.

SMART teaching strategies

Teachers need to model and jointly construct writing before expecting students to independently produce written texts. During this modelling and joint construction, explicit teaching is required in relation to the features of language, for example, sentence structure, text structure, correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. 43.activevspassivevoice. Ms R's English and Literacy Blog : Photo. WriteToLearn. Writer Igniter - DIY MFA. Change Passive Voice to Active Voice. When a sentence is written, it can either be written in active voice or passive voice.

Change Passive Voice to Active Voice

Active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb. For example: Tom changed the flat tire.Passive voice describes a sentence where the subject is acted upon by the verb. For example: The tire was changed by Tom. In most cases, writing sentences in passive voice is discouraged because it can obscure the subject of the sentence, and confuse the reader. 21 Clever Writing Prompts That Will Unleash Your Students' Creativity.

Writing prompts: Caroline's favorite fifteen... A Great Tool for Creating Stories Using Maps. March 14, 2017Esri Story Maps is a web tool that enables you to combine the power of maps and narrative text to create engaging and inspiring stories to share with others.

A Great Tool for Creating Stories Using Maps

Besides maps, your stories can include places, locations, and geography. You can also embed a wide variety of multimedia materials to tell your stories. These include: videos, images, texts, shapes and many more. Writing prompts. Most Common Surnames [Last Names] in the United States (top 1000) Edutopia. Editor’s Note: A version of this post first appeared on Techie Teacher and Character Coach.


“But Miss Parrish, I can’t think of anything to write!” Haven’t we all heard similar lines in our classrooms? We see hesitant writers sit with pencils in their hands and paper on their desks, almost as if they’ve been handicapped by the task we have set for them. How is it that some students have so much to say when talking, but when a pencil is put into their hand they suddenly hesitate, struggle, and have nothing to say? 3 Tips for Weaving Together Your Story's Pieces (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 6) - Helping Writers Become Authors. How to Self-Edit Infographic. Learning how to self-edit your writing empowers you to polish your prose.

How to Self-Edit Infographic

Ernest Hemingway famously quipped that you should ‘write drunk and edit sober’. This might not be good advice for teetotallers (or in general). 7 “Tricks” to Improve Your Writing Overnight. No matter how bad (or good) your writing is today, it’s possible to improve it overnight.

7 “Tricks” to Improve Your Writing Overnight

Photo Courtesy of © Here are seven quick “tricks” that can improve the very next piece you write. Know your reader. This means more than knowing a few demographics (how old they are, their average income, etc.). To know your readers means you understand their fears, frustrations, and aspirations. 5 Tips for Writing a Strong Short Story. Finish this Book, back cover. In the world I live in inside my head...: May 2011. Author, Jody Hedlund: Describing Characters: Moving Beyond Hair & Eye Color. By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund Whenever I'm in the planning stages for a new novel, one of the things I try to do is get a clear picture of what my characters look like.

Author, Jody Hedlund: Describing Characters: Moving Beyond Hair & Eye Color

I believe we as writers need to know as much as possible about how our characters look if we want them to come to life. I build my character's appearance in numerous ways. If my character doesn’t already have a real portrait from history, I pick one from photos of actors or models. How to Improve Your Handwriting Style: 4 Steps. Steps. Revising Your Writing (& Awesome Editing Symbols You Should Know) Maybe I’m a nerd, but I love the editing process. I love recasting sentences to make them stronger, choosing specific words to make dialogue sing, correcting grammar until it’s fit to print and drawing little squibblies all over the page (mainly because I like the way squibblies look). Honestly, I use editing marks so much that sometimes I get bored with the usual suspects and make up my own.

Here is a list of Well-Known Editing Symbols, just in case you aren’t familiar: Here is a list of the Brian A. Klems Lesser-Known Editing Symbols Worksheet: Bridgid Gallagher - Struggling to reach "The End"? How to Finish Your Novel. Just in time for National Novel Writing Month: If you struggle to finish stories, then this is the blog post for you. Learn how to identify what's holding you back, and then get my best tips to help you finish your novel. Are you struggling to finish your novel? How to Grow as a Writer: 5 Ways. Perhaps one of the questions that gets tossed around the most in writing circles the question of how to grow as a writer. It can feel elusive and unclear–how does one grow in a skill that can’t be quantified, like math? How does one get better as a writer when the skill can’t be taught like teaching someone to ride a bike?

There’s no ten-step process to becoming an exquisite writer (although many of us wish there was). From Hemingway to Dickens, from Voskamp to Niequist, there is a wide and maddening range of what readers love and what any particular reader might consider “good.” How to Write a Horror Story - 6 Terrific Tips. This guide to how to write a horror story covers the basics. First, read a definition of horror and common elements of horror fiction. Then read 6 tips on writing horror stories that you can use to evoke intense feeling in your readers, even if you don’t exclusively write horror: Defining horror The word ‘horror’ means ‘an intense feeling of fear, shock or disgust’ (Oxford English Dictionary). The word comes from the Latin horrere, meaning ‘to tremble or shudder’.

You Need To Try This Guaranteed Method of Creating Depth In Your Writing – Sacha Black. One of my favourite quotes is a juxtaposition, pitting perfection against failure. “I think perfection is ugly. Writing Dialogue - 7 Tips. Natalie Goldberg - How to start writing. The Four Rules of Using Fake Words – Mythcreants. If your story takes place in another world, none of your characters are really speaking English. They aren’t telling stories or recording history in English; they’re doing it in the language you invented for them. An English language book describing their journey is clearly an anachronism. Guide To Using Pinterest for Writers (Infographic) - mandy wallace.

15 Great Plots from European Mythology and Ancient Literature – Bryn Donovan. Some of you gave me some nice feedback on the rough excerpt I shared at the last WIP Wednesday (and if you shared something as well, thank you! Must-visit sci-fi websites for writers. The imagining of possible worlds is the staple of science fiction. As expert Bruce Sterling puts it, science fiction (or SF or sci-fi for short) is ‘a form of fiction that deals principally with the impact of actual or imagined science upon society or individuals’.

In speculative fiction this impact can be strictly technological (as in novels featuring robots or degrees of space exploration not yet possible) or it may be environmental (as in Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood). 13 Inspirational Lessons From Stephen King’s On Writing. A Guide to Fantasy and Fairy Tale Fiction for Self-Published Authors - The TV show, Once Upon A Time, has become popular in the last few years and established a large fanbase. The show takes well-known fairy tale characters like Peter Pan, Cinderella, Snow White, and many others and plants them in a modern setting with a very fantastical feel. Recently, the insanely popular Elsa and Anna from Disney’s Frozen were added to the show’s long list of characters. I’m not a fan of the show, but I can easily see its mass appeal.

Formatting your Novel Manuscript – Lara Willard. Quill - Packs of Interactive Writing Lessons. Quill is a free service that puts a new spin on the old writing worksheets that most of us used in middle school. The service offers more than just the writing practice activities, but that is its core feature.

There are three activity categories within Quill. Those activities are Quill Proofreader, Quill Grammar, and Quill Writer. Hemingway Editor. Create a Book - It's Simple, Free and Fun. Something Sketchy: A Beginner’s Guide to Storyboarding.

Interactive Fiction

Imagination Prompt Generator: Random Writing Blog Prompts, Writer's Prompt Tool / Writing prompts. Creative Writing Activities. PDF to Flash page flip - flipping book software. Myths and Legends from E2BN. Instant Grammar Check - Plagiarism Checker - Online Proofreader. Inklewriter. Writing Guides. Samples of persuasive writing. Cure writer's block with writing prompts, exercises, generators & gizmos. The Character Name Generator: Generate a Character Name and Personality. The Great Animations Shed. Gone Google Story Builder.

Read, Write, Compete... And Get Published! A Handy Interactive Visual on The Digital Storytelling Process. Grammar Bytes! Grammar Instruction with Attitude. Road to Grammar - Your Road to Better Grammar.

Go for Grammar Gold. Grammar videos. English Grammar Rules. Twine / An open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories. Poetica: Make words easy. StoryJumper: Publish and read children's story books. Narrable.

Docs Templates. Printing Press. Creative Writing Prompts. Pre-writing with Dr. Seuss. 5 Tools Students Can Use to Create Alternative Book Reports. Activeprompt. 8 Excellent Rules to Improve your Writing Style. Batalugu. Meograph – 4 Dimensional Story Telling Web 2.0 Style.

Cube Creator. Esltevfikileri - home. StoryKeepers - home. The Original Fantasy: Beginnings Part 1: Cast The Spell In The First Line. Writing Rules! Advice From The Times on Writing Well. DRAFT - Opinionator. Flash Fiction Online. Create a PicLit. ACMI Story Monster.

Children's Books: Story Scrapbook. A Simple Guide for Teachers to Create eBooks on iPad using iBook Author. Writing prompts. FREE Graphic Organizers for CSI. A List of The Best Free Digital Storytelling Tools for Teachers. Widbook - Write, read and share. Story Starters. StoryKeepers - VideoMaking ToolKits. Four Web 2.0 Collaborative-Writing Tools.