Day 4: Thursday. Styling :-)

Aug 4, 2021

People are on their own schedules (yay asynchronous!), so it might be Day 1 or Day 2 or Day 3 for you, or you might be ready to move right along with Day 4: Experimenting with Style. (And yes, it is already Thursday in Australia when I post this here at my 6PM Wednesday East coast location.)

I'll start with a big THANK YOU to people leaving comments on other people's stories! I'm scurrying to leave comments on all the stories myself, and in the meantime I am so grateful when I see comments from others there already (the randomizer can help lead you to posts that might be in need of comments). Each reader has their own unique perspective, and when you can share your reading experience with a writer, it's so valuable.
I'll have more to say about that feedback loop and revision tomorrow; today, Thursday, presents some opportunities to think about STYLE. I'm a word-nerd. I'm even a punctuation-nerd, ha ha, so I really enjoy the nitty-gritty of writing style – and in the spirit of playful punctuation I want to make sure to share this story from Martine in which punctuation marks ARE the characters: Tributary to River.

Microfiction Manual. Remember, these are just suggestions about how to make your way through the Microfiction Manual. If your main interest is in digital storytelling, for example, just keep on experimenting with multimedia. That's great! it's all about what you want to learn, and if you want to learn about some writing styles, you might explore one (or more) of these chapters today:
Chapter 6 is about person (1st/2nd/3rd) and point of view.
Chapter 7 is about quoted speech/thoughts and dialogue.
Chapter 8 is about verb tense (past/present) and paragraphing.

Collaborative writing. Jump in at the Thursday Word Doodle... and you'll find links there to all the word doodles of the week there too. I have really enjoyed watching those take shape, and if you contributed something, check back to see if the sentence kept on growing... and maybe add some more now!

Feedback on the Manual. I'm very grateful for feedback that has already come in about the Microfiction Manual. There's a form that you'll find in the book itself and also here: Manual of Microfiction Feedback. I hope to expand and improve the Manual, and I will be doing this track again for DPL next year. Designing online learning experiences in a highly compressed timeframe like this, with participants literally around the globe, is a huge challenge, and your feedback is the key — I've already learned a lot this week, and your ideas and suggestions would be very useful: thank you in advance for your help with figuring out what works, what doesn't, and what other options I could try. One thing I was thinking about was the option to have a soft start at a more leisurely pace, and then a more intense synchron-ish week together after the soft start; you can chime in about that here (see reply I had left to Greg). Any/all ideas very welcome!

Keynote. The keynote speaker for Thursday is Matthew R. Morris, with a live Q&A at noon EDT. Here's a link to all the keynote speaker information.
Also, the keynote Q&A with Ashley McCall on Wednesday was AMAZING. If you did not get a chance to listen in, I highly recommend it! The video recording is here: Ashley McCall.

And something from Gary Provost to inspire you as you compose your sentences... listen for the music!

text with each new sentence colored a different color

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.
Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony.I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when Il am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals-sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader's ear. Don't just write words. Write music.

Banner image by Rita Hutcheson Cobbs.

Laura Gibbs

I (she/her) recently retired from teaching online courses in folklore & mythology at Univ. of Oklahoma. I'm always a fox on social media, in honor of Aesop's foxes, and I'm a fan of ALL animal fables.

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