Productive reading: analysis

Good teachers will always recommend that you “read and…” Which means that you read and look for solutions for problems you have in your own writing, build your vocabulary, discover what excites you as a reader, watch how the dialogue unfolds, etc.  And one of the best ways to launch your analysis is to ask questions of the author. Ask questions Let’s say you’re writing non-fiction.  In that case, the books you’re studying will give you the stakes up front.  They will tell you what to expect, what question they intend to pose and answer, and, essentially, what they will conclude (although they might be coy about that last bit). Therefore, you can immediately ask the first question: Will this book center/expand/challenge my work? If so, keep reading and form new questions about pacing, approach, tone, organization, burden of proof, etc.  If you think the book won’t help you…move on.  I know that seems cutthroat, but if you tried to

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Synopsis writing

There is a truism about grant-writing in academia that goes something like this: Sure, applying for grants is exhausting and painful and humbling and almost always fruitless, but you’ll learn so much in the process. I really want to be able to brush this off with a casual “fuck that” but, as is often the case with these things, truisms hold….well, truth.  Every time I’ve applied for a grant, I’ve learned about myself, honed my project, produced useful abstracts, and strengthened the armor that protects me in the face of rejection. So, when it came time to decide whether or not I would apply to Clarion West, I decided to just go ahead and learn from the process. To be fair to myself, I suppose there’s a chance I’ll get in.  But it’s the tiniest snowball’s chance in the deepest layer of Dante’s inferno. More so, I applied because I wanted to see if the application process was as useful

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