Release the butterfly within

How do I let my project become its most beautiful embodiment of the idea I’ve been developing throughout the writing process?


Photo Credit: Catherine Keefe

How do I effectively revise?

Students ask this, and it’s also a question I frequently ask myself.

It seems as if each writing project demands its own unique revision strategies.

I put what I’m working on away for several days or weeks, or months, if possible. I invite a few trusted readers to offer feedback.I read each line aloud, often in a British or Southern accent, to Chester my ever-patient Labrador retriever. It’s amazing how I will skip bad lines to spare his ears.

Leslie Pietrzyk, one of my favorite writing bloggers, dedicates her post today to “Strategies for Revision.” It offers something for everyone.

Some ideas are new to me.

Print out your manuscript in a different font.

Others are oft-heard which doesn’t mean the ideas are stale, but rather so effective they bear oft-repeating.

I go somewhere else to do my paper revising. Away from my writing desk, with my red pen in hand, my mind snaps into a different focus…

You can read the entire post here, “Strategies for Revision,” on Leslie’s blog, Work-in-Progress.

If you have any other effective revision methods, I’d love to hear about them.

To mete or not to mete? That is the question…

And so is: my self, or not my self? And most importantly, what happens when a writer’s private life interrupts public perception?


Photo Credit:  Cristian Baitg/

Ten days ago, Joe Yonan the food critic for The Washington Post, announced his intention to become a vegetarian.  “A former omnivore comes out as vegetarian” is an interesting article for both Writing About Food students as well as Composing Self writers. First, this is manifesto-like in its strong stance that a writer’s personal habits shouldn’t be perceived as a detriment to fulfilling his job. “Eat and let eat,” Joe Yonan petitions.  Connections to the Writing About Food class seem obvious. Composing Self students, consider the implications when a writer’s personal or health beliefs bleed into the professional realm.  Should a writer limit him or herself? Disclose all biases? Try to sway others to join in the change?

Lest you creative writers think there’s nothing in here for you to advance your skills, I challenge that notion.  How might this kind of real life dilemma spark a similar conflict for one of your own short fictions?

Give it your best shot…

I respectfully forward you a note from the illustrious editor of Calliope, Chapman’s own art and literary magazine specializing in the work of undergraduates.
Note the deadline to submit is Friday, March 15. Seven days from now. Hurry! Go see what you can dig up.
Photo Credit: Catherine Keefe
Dear Students,
You are invited to submit your best creative work to Chapman’s art and literary magazine, Calliope. Each student is allowed 2 submissions (art/writing, or both) and all majors and class standings will be accepted.
Please include titles, writing genre or art form, a contributor’s note (1-3 sentences about yourself/your work) and your work in a word, text, or picture file (no pdfs).
FOR ART: Original dimensions and high-resolution quality also required.
FOR WRITING: 2,000 words max.
Please send all questions and submissions to no later than Friday, March 15th, 11:59pm.
Victoria Fragoso
Managing Editor