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Poetry Madlibs: April Isn’t the Cruelest Month

Image Courtesy of Patrick Emerson

The following exercise comes to you courtesy of Rob Carney, an astounding poet and a professor at Utah Valley University. When Carney’s class was recommended to me, it came with one of the strangest testimonials I’ve heard. To paraphrase, my friend told me that when they took the course, they didn’t feel like they were learning at all. Rather — thanks to the exercises and assignments given in class — they were simply playing with language throughout the semester. It was only after the semester concluded that they realized how much this form of play had improved their effectiveness with the craft.

So, without further introduction, I bring you an exercise from that course (posted here with permission of the original author).


(Have enough fun that you can’t wait to share the resulting draft.)

1. Begin with “April isn’t the cruelest month. That would be [pick one of the other 11],

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Script Doctoring Rogue One

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Rogue One sure was a movie. I don’t mean to call it terrible — or even bad. In fact, there was a lot about it I enjoyed. However, I also felt its story was problematic in a number of ways. As an exercise in narrative structure and story troubleshooting, I’m going to walk through a “script doctor” exercise for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

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How to Make Writing Resolutions That Stick

Image courtesy of Wellness Works Hub

One of the greatest struggles for any would-be writer is finding the time, space, and — most importantly — motivation to actually write. To be sure, figuring out how to produce creative work consistently has been one of my own challenges. Over the years, I’ve come to a number of effective solutions.

In this article I’m going to make use of two pieces of my experience: what my studies of motivational psychology have taught me in relation to goal-setting and what’s worked well for me thus far. And with a current output of about 20 pages — or 5000 words — per week, things are certainly going well by my standards.

So, as you set your writing resolutions for 2017 and beyond, here is my advice.

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Coming Off Hiatus: Some Notes, Thoughts, and New Directions

About a year ago, the Creative Writing Guild went on hiatus. Now, at long last, I have the opportunity to end that hiatus and reactivate the site. For casual visitors, that’s all you need to know: There will be fresh content posted to the site regularly starting at the beginning of 2017.

For those who have been paying attention for a long time, who are interested in the inner workings, or who are otherwise curious about what’s been going on and what is to come … the rest of this post is for you.

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Write Process


Once again, Grand Snider of Incidental Comics shares with us the process of writing. Careful not to over react, it just makes recovery that much messier.

Going on Hiatus

After a great deal of contemplation and number-crunching, we’ve decided to put the site on a partial hiatus. The site itself will continue, but new posts will not be made in the weekly pattern we’ve been using in past months. We will continue to post as much as possible, given other demands.

The detailed reasons for this choice are complex, but it boils down to this: All volunteers, including leadership, are trying to balance educational, financial, and other personal ambitions with their time dedicated to the Guild. Many have been unable to contribute in the past couple of months, and those who remain are feeling stretched thin. Given that we can’t yet pay volunteers (and don’t expect to be able to do so for a long time), it makes the most sense to lower our level of commitment until we are able to gather the time and resources necessary to truly make the Guild a success.

Thank you so much for your support. And, as always, write on!