Get Your Grammar On! Evening Writing Workshops added at VC


Evening Discrete Skills Workshops
Ventura College * Fall 2018
Tutoring Center, under the stairs of the LRC.
LRC 160

In addition to regularly scheduled workshops at Ventura College, these have been added to meet the needs of evening students as well as students who are in classes during the day:

Wednesday, Nov 28th 5:30 – 6:15  Citation Tools
Thursday, Nov 29th 5:00 – 5:25  Editing Tools
Monday, Dec 3rd 5:30 – 6:15   Transitioning
Thursday, Dec 6th 5:00 – 5:25  Paragraph Building
Wednesday, Dec 12th 5:30 – 6:15  Editing Tools
Thursday, Dec 13th 5:00 – 6: 15  Tips for Scholarship Essays
Bring your drafts and your questions!

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

elmoreleonardrulesofwriting-1so claims Elmore Leonard  in the book Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing which I read about today on the blog Brain Pickings.

Leonard was a novelist but most of his rules still apply to writing in general.If you want to read the why and the wherefore and his stories that generated these rules, you’ll need to go to Brain Pickings, or even better, buy the book Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing (public library)  illustrated by Joe Ciardiello

1. Never open a book with weather.

“If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.”

2. Avoid prologues.

Found in nonfiction, Leonard writes that “a prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.”

3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.

Because, Leonard writes, said is “far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated,” and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.”

In academic writing, “writes” is the standard. However, words like


etc can come in handy to further your own argument.

Be careful of “exclaims.” We Writers tend to be on the quiet side.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”.

    “…he admonished gravely,” writes Leonard.Can you show us instead of telling us?

5. Keep your exclamation points under control!!

And even more so in academic writing!

6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

Leonard advises that “you don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.”

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

Check out the writing rules by Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood, and Neil Gaiman or one of the other authors in the series.


#HarryPotter20: Must See Dance Video plus Photos of London’s Harry Potter World

For all you Harry Potter fans out there!

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Just in time for the 20th anniversary celebrations today of J.K. Rowling publishing the Harry Potter series of books, check out this very creative video that tracks the arc of the novels from beginning to end! And below, learn about why YOU should definitely check out “The Harry Potter Experience!”

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You Are Perfect As You Are AND You Could ALSO Use Some Improvement

and remember to register and vote!

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“You Are Perfect As You Are and You Could Use Some Improvement,” says Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.

Confused? It’s all about discrimination, and I say that discrimination has gotten a bad rap.

As a wine writer, I have a discriminating palate — without it, all wine would taste the same, right? I wouldn’t be able to discriminate or tell the difference between a good wine and a bad one, one that is worth $25 or $5, one that exhibits red or white stone fruit, cigar box or spice cabinet, herbal notes or floral ones.

We discriminate between colors of clothes choosing certain colors, textures, styles to go together.

And we have to discriminate in our writing about which word to use and how to spell it, where to use a comma, a colon, a semi-colon or a period and how to indicate what proofreading mark to use when and where:

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March for Climate, Jobs, Justice 2018: Workshops prepare us to RISE 9/8

join us! I’m one of the co-organizers of the event in Ventura!

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What’s this graph about you wonder? At Palmer Station Antarctica, starting in late July 2018, severe fissuring of the glacial sheet was equal to a magnitude 6 earthquake. What normally takes several hundred years occurred in one day in a section a little larger than Connecticut. This glacier helps lock down the others in place. Summer is coming to Antarctica and It’s already melted about 400 million tonnes of glacier.

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Lost In The World? Seek A Sense of Place

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I’ve been on a rant for a few years now about technology and it’s impact on our souls.

First I read Richard Louv’s book about nature deficit disorder, Last Child in the Woods, and more recently, Florence William’s The Nature Fix. I’ve written repeatedly about the topic, and shared significant recent research in blog posts like this one from October 2017.

In particular, I am concerned that we need to disconnect with technology in order to connect with nature, other species, and with each other, in order to care about and save our planet from climate change and pollution.

Connecting to place, I would argue, is part and parcel to being human, and is as important to us and our survival as a species as is our connection to each other.

As an avid reader, I am drawn to texts that explore our world and our connection with it. When…

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Earth Day: a whale of a tale

Happy Earth Day! Check out this Earth Action Project from students spring 2016!

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Happy Earth Day!

Depicted is a group project by some of my students. I challenged my classes to form a group and take an action during a three week period related to an environmental issues, environmental or social justice.

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Why Participate in Today’s Women’s Strike by Social Movements Scholar Jen Schradie

Why you should participate in #ADayWithoutaWoman on #InternationalWomensDay today March 8.

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“Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace puentes al andar,” writes Gloria Anzaldua.
This translates to “Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks.”

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. There are gatherings, marches, protests, art shows, and other events around the world today to honor the contributions of women, including this installation of this brave girl facing the stock market bull on Wall Street in NYC.

Because of recent political events and actions by the current Republican administration, a call went out for a General Strike– a day to walk out on the job.

Women’s March organizers encourage us to take the day off and avoid spending money as part of “A Day Without a Woman,” to show the impact women have on the economy and society. Through walking out, as Anzaldua points out, we build bridges.

What should you do? Should you strike? How can…

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