Literature Masterclass

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Miss Lockheart, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. Miss Lockheart Administrator | Aesthetics Leader | Mother

    *Taps ruler on desk* settle down settle down!!!

    Now then, since you are the most adept minds in the literature area of this forum, it's only right that you get the chance to transcend good writing and become great at it, and this is where my Masterclass comes in. Over the next few months I'll be posting some tutorials covering the essentials of story and poetry writing, including both the technical intricacies of the English language and what I like to call the "wow" factor- how to really sell your writing to a potential critic.

    Now this may all seem a bit serious for a KH forum (lol XD), and of course you can take or leave these tutorials as you wish. However I hope that you do take advantage of them, as there will be some valuable tips contained in each that you can apply to your literature. I'll take questions at the end of each one (post them in this thread or PM me as you wish ^^) if you want anything explaining any further, or if I've not covered something you really want some help with. And don't forget that myself and Axi are always on hand to approve, proofread and help you edit your stuff if you need it. Literature can be hard work, but of course the rewards are worth it ^^

    My first tutorial on Sensationalism will be following shortly. Watch this space!! :D
  2. Tyler Durden SSFW I and II Team Winner

  3. Miss Lockheart Administrator | Aesthetics Leader | Mother

    Lesson #1- Sensationalism

    How many people, at first sight can tell me what this means? *waits for a show of hands* :D

    I'm hoping that many of you by now will have heard of the term "Sensationalism", especially those of you who've done some editorial work on school newspapers and such. It's a huge buzzword when it comes to really selling people your literature.

    Sensationalism is defined in the dictionary as this-

    –noun 1. subject matter, language, or style producing or designed to produce startling or thrilling impressions or to excite and please vulgar taste.
    2. the use of or interest in this subject matter, language, or style: The cheap tabloids relied on sensationalism to increase their circulation.
    3. Philosophy. a. the doctrine that the good is to be judged only by the gratification of the senses.
    b. the doctrine that all ideas are derived from and are essentially reducible to sensations.

    It's the top definition which applies most to writing- basically this means that in order to create a good descriptive style, and to give your work a sense of drama and really get people to want to read, then it's necessary to "dress" your literature with big and bold language that can shock, intrigue and really draw the eyes to the page. Dressing your sentences with high-impact adjectives and buzzwords will give the writing that extra edge to keep people interested. It's a tactic highly depended upon by Western tabloid media, who have to make their stories sell (although sometimes at the cost of the truth it must be admitted).

    Let's have a look at an example. Here's an ordinary sentence that you may find in a horror story-

    Brad had been running, and stopped to have a rest. He was sweating and scared.

    Bored already? ;)

    So let's dress it up!!-

    Brad had run several long and arduous miles, and stopped to take a brief yet well-needed rest. He was sweating profusely and his eyes were wide and un-blinking with fear

    Much better ^^

    Sensationalism can be used in a number of ways. Some people prefer to use it subtly to add a bit of descriptive spice to their compositions, whilst others who are aiming for the "wow" factor will cram in as much as they can. It really depends on what kind of effect you are trying to achieve. When deciding on how much Sensationalism to use-

    - Think about the type of story/report/poem you want to create and which genre it will ultimately fit into.
    - Be creative- some words get used to death, so it's interesting to discover new descriptives and see how they fit. As long as they are contextual, then they should add a lot of impact to your writing.
    - Don't overdo it!! Even tabloid newspapers don't use too much pepper ;)
    - Finally it's good to remember that no amount of Sensationalism will account for sloppy storylines or a lack of content. Use it as you would use sugar to dust the top of a cake ^^

    Any questions?
  4. Arthur Clan Leader - Absolute Synergy | Greeter

    More like deduction: I need to look up for books of figurative speech.
  5. Miss Lockheart Administrator | Aesthetics Leader | Mother

    Figurative speech? As in the use of unusual comparisons like metaphors and similies?
  6. Arthur Clan Leader - Absolute Synergy | Greeter

    Yes, book like that.
  7. Miss Lockheart Administrator | Aesthetics Leader | Mother

    These should put you on until the next tutorial, which I will make about Figurative language ^^

    Let me make a point here though- Sensationalism and Figurative language, though closely related, have some notable differences. Sensationalism is often used more as a shock factor, and it's descriptive value is often superficial and even sometimes exaggerative in nature. Figurative speech is a much more subtle way of describing things in your literature, and often paints a more sincere and endearing picture through words, although the metaphors etc. used are often unusual and tend to be more florid also.
  8. Miss Lockheart Administrator | Aesthetics Leader | Mother

    Lesson #2- essay structure

    Lesson number two!! *coughahem*

    This is for Lone Wolf, who kindly gave me the idea to do a masterclass on this subject. Hope it's helpful ^^

    Quite often I see essays that have great content and are grammatically sound, but structurally are all over the place. So I'm going to give you some tips on pooling your ideas together and translating them into the essay or piece with maximum ease. This will help your essay to make sense, as your points will be clear and in the correct order. Also it might help if you are struggling for points to make in the first place, if you have a format which works and you can apply to any piece. Finally it just helps to give your writing that extra bit of polish that can really impress whoever is reading ;)

    1. The Bulk Of The Piece

    In order to get the best structure, it's important to break your work down paragraph by paragraph. This gives you structure within structure, and makes things much less laborious for putting your ideas down. Here's my first rule of thumb (lol this reminds me of school)-

    Develop (PQD)

    Point - this is the most basic aspect of the paragraph. It sums up what you are trying to say in just a couple of sentences, clearly and concisely. A good idea for creating your points is to brainstorm them onto a piece of paper, and then creating your couple of brief sentences from the brainstorm. Try to stick to the facts in this section as much as you can, as there will be room for your personal opinions later.

    Quote - a good essay always has quotes from the subject matter to back up the point you are trying to make. Keep these as relevant as possible, and try not to use too many at a time. Stick to the two or three that make the most sense and are the most relevant.

    Develop - this is where the bulk of your essay will lie. You can bring other relevant facts from different parts of the subject matter in at this point. This is especially important if you are making comparisons- go into as much detail as you can but try to avoid waffling or irrelevance. Also you can start to introduce your own opinions here, try to keep these at the back-end of the paragraph. Opinions are often controversial matter, so remember to be cautious. Present your opinions logically and use the factual matter at the beginning of the paragraph to back it up. Make references to your introduction aswell- if you are trying to prove something or bring something to the reader's attention, explain how you are doing this by bringing up this point.

    Paragraph sizes will inevitably vary, as some will be more important to the whole essay than others. As long as you remember not to mix up your points (unless it's a good comparison) and follow the PQD rule, you should have great paragraph structure ^^

    So let's move on the the essay or piece as a whole. Now that you have your brainstormed ideas and have formed paragraphs about each one, you can start to put them in order-

    - Try to start with the most important point either first, or in a "last but not least" kind of position. Putting it first will grip the reader's attention and give him the juice of the piece, whilst putting it last will help revive boredom (just remember if you're putting it last to have the next most important point first).
    - In the middle, try to vary your paragraphs instead of going best to worst. Although there's always that chance that the reader will scan until he finds the points most relevant to him, it's still worth keeping things on an even keel rather than going from great to boring.
    - Group related points together. This is really important!! If you have one point that leads in to another, then it's natural to feature that one next.
    - Titles are a good idea to add extra order and professionalism to a piece.

    Finally it's imperative that your essay has a beginning and an end. These can make or break your work- a reader won't make it to the juice of the piece if he's bored before the introduction's over. And a messy ending can make you seem careless. I would recommend spending 1/3 of your complete working time on these two important aspects. They should act as a literary frame for your well thought-out points. A paragraph or two for each is acceptable, but of course these should be significantly bigger than the other paragraphs in order to present and sum up your bulk matter (this is especially important for your introduction).

    2. Introduction

    Introductions are always tricky because it's more important here than anywhere else that you do not sound boring or cliche. The first few sentences can be the hardest, and yet they are the crux of the piece because they start the reader....well, reading O.O

    A good idea, and one that I use a lot, is to bring out a snippet of your work (perhaps an interesting point or opinion), some interesting historical matter or a memorable quote, and stick it on the beginning. Simple!! I especially like the idea of using a brilliant quote to get you started, because it gives you something that you can easily follow it up in the next few sentences, and it grabs the attention awesomely. After your interesting beginning, you can introduce the project to the reader and explain what it is you are trying to achieve with your points. Tell them a little about yourself and your interest in the subject, and why you are so keen to write about it. Make it clear what you are trying to do and what you want the reader to gain from your essay, what you wish them to understand about the whole thing.

    3. Ending

    This is the second toughest part of creative writing, as it can too easily turn into a race to finish the project (now that you've spent so much of your life on it lol >.<) and can make things feel rushed, throwing off the reader and causing disappointment. Yet this is the best time to summarize everything you've mentioned. Bring back the most important points and show how you've achieved what you set out to do, and a brief nod to some of the lesser points is helpful too. You can also state your overall opinions here on the subject matter, and what you would like to see in the future from any subsequent pieces. Also a bit of comedy to lighten up the piece after all that heavy point-making is helpful :p as are some more memorable quotes. Round things off nicely like this and you will have hit the jackpot in writing terms ^^

    Well that's all I have for now. Any questions or suggestions on how I can improve on this tutorial, or any other subjects you'd like to see- PM me or leave a message here. Thanks for your time guys ^^
  9. Lone Wolf Super Lupine | SSFW I, II & III Champion Team

    Reminds me of Ms. Phillip's class. :)

    She was my favorite english teacher, between.

    Although the point was actually a thesis statement, :p.
  10. Miss Lockheart Administrator | Aesthetics Leader | Mother

    Lol yeah I tried to fashion it on a science or lit project type of essay :p should apply for reviews too

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