Welcome!

Be WIS with us.

Explore to your heart’s content.

Our blog is “Muse & Amuse”.    The goal is three-fold: 

1] We ponder the world around us.  In 2017, we focused on modern poetry through song and eternal poetry by the old masters. 

2] We offer grammar blogs and upcoming lesson plans specifically designed for Home School Helps. 

3] We promote books by Writers Ink authors.

Live / Laugh / Love invites you to be more than you were before.  Live your life, don’t just coast. 

Devotional planners, self-help motivators, and ways to improve your life are available here.

Home School Helps (and for any other teachers who find this site) offers free lesson plans and English course content for high school students.  Some lessons can be adapted for middle grades.  As part of Writers Ink Books, HSH will highlight books and manuals designed for teaching students.  The writer of HSH–M.A. Lee–is a thirty-year veteran of the high school English classroom, having taught all high school grades and all diploma endorsements (Honors English, Advanced Placement Literature, dual enrollment college composition courses, college preparatory (CP), technical-preparatory (TP or general), and reading skills courses.  You can see peruse her writing here.

Pro Writer Helps offers guidance for writers wanting to move from hobbyist to professional.  Information about writers’ guidebooks, such as Think like a Pro and the Think / Pro planner as well as Old Geeky Greeks:  Ancient Techniques for Modern Writers are here. Wander around our site for a while.  Remember, “not all those that wander are lost” (JRR Tolkien).

 

Current Writing

Discovering Your Novel
107% Complete
48,166 of 45,000 words
Designed to develop a novel in one year, this writers’ craft book will easily adjust to your own pace. Speed up, slam on the brakes, detour, or meander onto side roads, your drive to a completed novel is under your total control. The guidelines presented in Discovering Your Novel will set an achievable pace of one hour each day, five days every week, whether the hour is a single block of time or in 15-minute stretches. As this Cruise through what you know or inch along in your traffic of words, Discovering Your Novel will help you achieve indie publication—or set you on the seemingly different path to traditional publication which still uses the same crafting and marketing techniques. Discovering Your Novel will guide writers of any variety, from pantsters to plotters to puzzlers and mosaic tilers, wherever the Muse leads.

Great oaks from little acorns grow.

Muse & Amuse / Blog

Discovering Your Characters: Templates

Although Templates are only shallow, surface character development, many new writers–and veterans needing refreshers–enjoy working through them as they start developing their stories. Here are the character templates from Discovering Your Characters for those who need this seed. DiscChar Templates

Live / Laugh / Love

Be WIS. 

Recommended Reading

Planners:  all are available now at Amazon.  Blogs are available at the stated date.

  • 2*0*4  Lifestyle: Cityscape blog and purchase here:

    cover by Deranged Doctor Design
    screenshot is a little blurry
  • 2*0*4 Lifestyle: Teatime blog and purchase here:
  • 2*0*4 Lifestyle: Floral blog purchase here
  • 2*0*4 Lifestyle: Meadow blog and purchase > here
  • 2*0*4 Lifestyle: English Cottage blog and purchase here
  • 2 * 0 * 4 Lifestyle Mountain River (no blog) available here 
  • 2 * 0 * 4 Lifestyle Woodland (no blog) available here.

More Devotional Blogs for Easter

 

Pro Writer Helps: Be WIS

Pro Writer Helps

Designed for Newbies on the path to Publication

Next Work in Progress ~ Discovering Your Characters

The many types of characters that a novel needs as well as methods for development.

Current Writing

Discovering Your Characters
3% Complete
1,000 of 33,000 words

Templates for Characters

Discovering Your Novel

Browsing Books and Discovering Your Novel is available here.

Archetypes / Symbols:  a few of the blogs in the year-long series / available now

Information about Discovering Your Characters will become Book 5 in the Think like a Pro Writer series.  Coming Summer 2019.

MANUSCRIPT FORMATTING :: 7 + 10 things you need to know

This blog for the newbie gives a little guidance for the scary process of publishing your own work. 

Think like a Pro:  New Advent for Writers

Infographics (available now) give a taste of the chapter information in Think like a Pro.  Here’s the blog list for the infographics:

2 versions available ~ beautiful flowers or the guiding task lamp

A little more about the Raison d’Etre of the book and the planner.  7 lessons (maintaining deadlines, keeping bum in chair, developing plot AND characters, overcoming writer’s block, sparking  creativity, and being professional) give answers that newbies always ask.

To keep you on track with your writing, W.Ink Books has a Think/Pro companion planner:  undated, project-focused, two-page weekly layout with daily word counts and progress meters.  Monthly and seasonal reviews and previews along with additional trackers to help you maintain your writing goals.  And the planners match the books!

Blogs about the Follies of Trusting the Grammar/Spelling Checker

Current Books for Writers

Another Writers’ Guidebook:  Old Geeky Greeks, available now.

Home School Helps

Home School Helps

Home School Helps provides insight and instruction for high school level courses in the Language Arts.  On this page are several pillars, in which you can find specific information in the form of blogs.

For MATH, here’s a website that practices the times tables in a game format that kids should love.  Click this link. 

Looks like fun!

I wish I had had an online game to practice Math. I might not have been so numbers averse.  Oh well.

According to a promo, this website “contains over 100 Maths tests from reception level to Year 4.”

The Pillars
  • Literature: Poetry (Eternal and Modern) which will contain Figurative Language (inc. Symbols and Archetypes) [alphabetized]
  • Grammar/Usage/Mechanics, including the Grammar Monster blogs
  • Composition: writing composed essays and essays of various types
  • Using Technology to Assist Instruction

Literature

No literature study is complete without canonical literature.  The literary canon is filled with works that have enduring themes, protagonists we all still related to, and well-crafted writing.

POETRY/ eTERNAL AND mODERN

In my three decades of teaching high school Engiish, I discovered that my students were extremely resistant to poetry–unless I first engaged them with modern songs, the poems that they heard and sang without realizing they were poetry.  Intermingling canonical poems with modern songs can be challenging, so I offer this yearlong blog series. Listed below, in alphabetical order of the literary term which focuses the explication in the blog.

  • Introduce easy metaphors and more with Rufus Wainwright’s “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother”,  4 Types of Love:  eros, storge, agape, and philia.
  • Allegories: Connecting the classical “Carmina Burana” by composer Carl Orff with the Eagles’ “Hotel California“.
  • Allegories with riddling meanings: “Tapestry” by Carole King
  • Allusions, in T.S. Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi” about New Year’s Resolutions, easy to spot by anyone who knows Christ’s story, the birth and crucifixion.
  • The power of free verse: e.e. cummings’ “i carry your heart with me”. This poem is an excellent contrast to Sonnet 18, by William Shakespeare (see in this list at “sonnet”).
  • Inference:  the power of suggesting meaning:  Cold Play’s “Clocks”
  • Metaphors: Sting is a master of the unusual extended metaphor, often known as a metaphysical conceit.  His “Fortress around your Heart” is the perfect conceit, in that it transforms the required object with an usual comparison and also develops the writer’s vanity (this time, in capturing the poem’s persona’s arrogance in this relationship).
  • Another metaphor and one of M.A. Lee’s favorite poems:  Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “First Fig”
  • Paradox with dream and reality:  One Republic’s “Counting Stars” .  I despise the video that accompanies this song:  some Hollywood director’s attempt to be edgy and cool by disrespecting religion–while the song has nothing to do with religion.
  • Sonnet 18, “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?”, by William Shakespeare, one of the greatest love poems in the world. 
  • Symbols are a kind of shorthand for authors, just as allusions are a shorthand.  
    • Color symbols are used often, and knowledge of the symbolic meanings of colors can be revelatory: color symbols
    • Numbers can also be symbolic.  Once readers have a quick understanding of the basic meanings of number symbols, meanings expand exponentially.
    • Symbolic numbers also structure Lynne Alvarez’s “She loved him all her life”, a perfect little free verse.
  • Aristotle first expressed that literature should have three Unities:  time, place, and action.  The ancient philosopher was discussing necessities for dramas, but two famous modern poets played with the challenge of the 3 Unities: Robert Frost’s “Once by the Pacific” and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Time Does Not Bring Relief”  
  • Verse Types:  All poems are written one of three ways.  Most of us think that all poems have rhyme.  Two of the major forms of poetry–blank and free–have no rhyme at all.  In the following paired blogs [blank then free then pure], I first explain the basic elements of the verse type while in the second blog I present the MMO of Old Masters & New Masters in working within that verse type.
    • Blank Verse has 10 syllables in a metered line but no rhyme (the rhyme is “blank” or absent).  Robert Frost, Terrence Williams, and Seamus Heaney give us three examples.
    • Blank Verse: Means/Method/Opportunity ~ Macbeth’s famous speech,  a selection from William Cowper’s “Winter Morning Walk”, another selection from Robert Frost’s “Birches”, and Wallace Steven’s “Plain Sense of Things” (a poem I did not know before I researched for this blog.  I now think highly of this poem.)
    • Free Verse has neither rhyme nor rhythm.  George Herbert’s “Easter Wings” is one of the first examples of what we call shaped verse.  Walt Whitman is credited with developing the catalog, and his “Song of Myself 26” is a great example.  The simple free verse form that most of us are familiar with is best shown with two examples: Gwendolyn Brooks “We Real Cool” and Arcelis Girmay’s “Elegy” .
    • Free Verse: Means/Method/OpportunityShaped Verse = Roger McGough’s “40 Love” and Carolyn Forche’s “Ancapagari, Catalog = Walt Whitman “I Hear America Singing” and Maya Angelou’s “Women Work” and Billy Collins’ “Introduction to Poetry”, Simple Form = Carl Sandburg’s “Bones” and Charles Simic’s “Stone”
    • Pure Verse has both rhyme and rhythm.  This explanation touches on Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, with a closer look at Sara Teasdale’s “Christmas Carol”
    • Pure Verse:  Means/Method/Opportunity ~ Wilfred Wilson Gibson’s “The Stone”, Vachel Lindsay’s “This Section is a Christmas Tree”, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, Eugene Field’s “Jest `fore Christmas” and C.C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”.
4 Requirements of Song
  • Dolly Parton’s “Wildflower” begins our look at these 4 Requirements of any poetry
  • “Paper Cup” by Jimmy Webb (of the Fifth Dimension) continues to build on our understanding of the 4 Requirements
  • Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” adds final touches to the 4 Requirements for poetry

Occasional Poetry:  Lessons for Writers as well as Readers

  • Mother’s Day > Li-Young Lee’s “I Ask my Mother to Sing”, George Barker’s “Sonnet to my Mother”, and Judith Viorst’s “Some Advice from a Mother to her Married Son”
  • Father’s Day > Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays”, Jan Beatty’s “My Father Teaches Me to Dream”, Cecil Day Lewis’ “Walking Away”, and Li-Young Lee’s “The Gift”
  • Patriotism (Memorial Day, Flag Day, Veteran’s Day) > Rupert Brooke’s “The Soldier”, Gwendolyn Brook’s “the sonnet-ballad”, and Carl Sandburg’s “Grass”
  • Independence DayWalt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing”, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymn”, Wilfred Owen’s “From my Diary: July 1914”,  and Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”

Grammar, Usage, Mechanics

  • Grammar Starters, handouts that serve as 5-to-15 minutes beginnings for instruction.
    • Grammar Starters, 1st 6 Lessons.  Use these as reminders of previous knowledge.
    • GS 2:  16 Lessons.  Reminders as well as gradual introduction of newer and/or harder concepts.
    • Mixing the Grammar Lessons with reading comprehension and figurative language–teaching through insightful quotations.  GS 3
Grammar Monster Blogs

Composition 

Sentence Structure Blogs  
  • Inversions:  Yoda Charm?  Not quite.  Switching words around in a sentence is a Star Wars gimmick, but writers have used inversions for centuries.  The official terms are anastrophe and chiasmus (one of my favorites.)
  • Creating Emphasis through Repetition: simple repetition, incremental repetition, auxesis (climatic ordering with sets of three), polysyndeton/asyndeton, and anaphora/epistrophe

Using Technology to Assist Instruction