Pic for website 2012     Hello, again! Maureen Pratt here with my monthly blogpost about the craft of writing. Today, I'm going to focus on techniques to employ to find and write distinctive voices for each of your characters or individuals in fiction or non-fiction.

    I began my professional writing career as a playwright, earning my Master of Fine Arts in Theater Arts with a concentration in playwriting from UCLA and later having a number of plays produced. Unlike writing for the movies, playwriting "runs" on dialogue. A professional script for live theater contains very little, if any, description except to set the scene, and actor's notes should be non-existent. (Once a play has been published, which assumes it's been produced, these notes are usually inserted as guidelines for subsequent productions, however, original scripts do not include them.) So, it's vital that a playwright master the art of dialogue, crafting lines that contain meaning, emphasis, and character without "indicating" these in the script.

Example: "Mary: He did what? How? I don't believe it" instead of: "Mary (raising her voice and her eyebrows): He did what? (She sits down on the sofa) How? (She sighs) I don't believe it."

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DonnBusPhotos-007a2x3      Hello. I'm Donn Taylor, here again to talk more about poetry writing and ways to achieve the "higher voltage" that distinguishes poetry from most prose. We've talked about putting strong words in emphatic places, use of images, and a little bit about figurative language. Reserving that last for further treatment later, today we'll begin looking at ways to organize a poem. Those ways are infinite, or course, so we'll confine ourselves to some of the most common. Today, only one.

      First, some generalizations: In narrative poetry, the structure of the story becomes the structure of the poem. That leaves us lyric poetry: that is, poetry that expresses the poet's thoughts or emotions. (We hope those will be significant enough to interest the reader.) I like to compare a short poem to a paragraph: it has a main idea that may be stated or unstated, and everything in the poem points to or develops that one idea. (There are, of course, impressionistic poems that don’t follow that principle.)

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