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Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!


It’s Memorial Day and I want to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has ever served in the military.  Over the course of my teaching career, I’ve gotten to know quite a few students who were either planning on joining the military or already enlisted.  They go through experiences I know I could never go through, and they do so willingly! So here’s a great big thanks to all of you!

In honor of Memorial Day, a day when we reflect on past sacrifices, I went back to an old (but important) post about where to go online to ask for and receive feedback on your writing and updated the links to include more sites as well as a short description of each site after its link. 

Although writing essays isn’t a matter of life and death, there are some sacrifices that you need to be willing to make if you are to do a good job.  One of those sacrifices is the willingness to expose yourself to criticism by soliciting feedback on your work.  I know just how hard it is to hear negative comments about your writing (I just wrote a seminar paper for a graduate class and let me tell you, negative comments hurt graduate students just as much as they do undergrads), but it’s a risk you have to take if you want to improve your writing.

You can revisit the post “How to Get Feedback on Your Writing” here. Let me know if there are any other sites I should add to the list!


Photo credit: The U.S. Army

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Web Fiction Spotlight: Above Ground


Really good web fiction is hard to find (Although, Web Fiction Guide is making the hunt easier), so when I find one that’s so well written I can use it in my college composition classes as an example of writing done right, I want to spread the word about its greatness to as many people as possible.  Above Ground by A. M. Harte is one such web fiction and this blog post is dedicated to its greatness.

Above Ground takes place in the far distant future.  It is a post-apocalyptic tale that sets itself apart from other works in the genre by not describing a future world ravaged by a nuclear war or a zombie plague.  Instead, in the Above Ground world, humans began to inexplicably change, evolving either physically into half animal-half human creatures or mentally into beings capable of overpowering others using nothing more than the power of thought.

The story revolves around Lilith, a girl who has lived her entire life underground.  For her birthday present, her friend Emma buys tickets to a show on the surface world.  What happens at that show sets the stage for the rest of the story and the experiences, both good and bad, that Lilith goes through. 

If you’re a fan of good writing and are looking for a book with a setting, plot, and characters that are full of depth and complexity, Above Ground is the perfect web serial for you.  I would love to go on in great detail how this story exemplifies great writing, but I’m afraid I’d spoil too much of the plot for those who have yet to read it.  Fear not, though! I do plan on writing a couple of posts that will use specific examples from Above Ground and take them apart to reveal the techniques A. M. Harte uses to craft her art. 

This blog post is admittedly too short to do this web serial the justice it deserves, but time constraints keep me from being able to write more.  I plan to make up for my brevity in this post by going all out in future posts that deal with this web fiction.   If you’re craving a slightly more in-depth review of Above Ground, please read the reviews posted on Web Fiction Guide

Check out Above Ground at!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Brief Hiatus

This will come as no surprise to those who have been following along with the blog and not seeing any updates in the past couple of weeks but I wanted to make it official:

Writing Simplified is on (a brief) hiatus.


Unfortunately, the demands of work and school have caught up with me and for the past few weeks I’ve been researching and grading papers like crazy.  This next week marks the end of my toil as all my students’ research papers MUST be graded and returned by this Friday and my two seminar essays (about 20 pages each) MUST be written and turned in by Monday.  I will still have creative writing essays to grade as well as final exam essays, but my own schoolwork will be over and I’ll be able to devote time to the blog again. 

On the bright side, I have SO many post ideas saved away that I am just itching to write so once I’m back there will be at least a post a week (probably more).  Thank you for sticking around through the chaos that is my life. I’ll be back soon! 


Photo credit: TheTruthAbout