Like this murky, dream-like photo of Doubtful Sound, NZ, felt sense can seem dream like. There's this feel of deep meaning and yet its prelinguistic; its embedded in our bodies.

Felt Sense

What is Felt Sense? Felt Sense refers to Related Concepts: Inner Speech; Creativity; Invention; Tacit Knowledge; Writing Processes Felt Sense & Composing Sondra Perl, a professor of English and subject matter expert in writing studies, contends writers Thus, for Perl, composing is an ongoing, recursive process where writers consult their felt sense in order to ...


The term heuristic is derived from the Greek word heuresis, which means to discover or invent. Heuristics in contemporary discourse are exercises writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . use to stimulate thinking about a subject, topic. Heuristics do not predispose a particular outcome but are instead meant to serve as points of departure. There ...

In the Moment: A Write-from-Experience Activity

This assignment asks you to craft a story based on personal experience. This is different from literary analysis or research paper assignments which ask you to open with a thesis to continually reference and support. Stories are constructed differently. Successful stories describe events in such a way that readers get to experience the story as if they were directly observing events. Consider the following when drafting, writing, and revising:

Place your readers into a significant moment you’ve experienced. Narrow your focus from the start. Select a story out of one, tiny, narrow corner of your life and avoid expanding on all the details around the story. Do not give us an introduction that explains everything before it happens. Let the story speak for itself and trust your readers work at discovering what your story is about. Try to drop your readers into the action of your story to create immediacy.


Synthesis Notes: Working With Sources To Create a First Draft

Synthesis notes are a strategy for taking and using reading notes that bring together—synthesize—what we read with our thoughts about our topic in a way that lets us integrate our notes seamlessly into the process of writing a first draft. Six steps will take us from reading sources to a first draft. When we read, ...

Snort, Snuffle, Write

Write about a fever.  Write about a headache.  Write about snorting and snuffling your way through the common cold.

You may see these as boring writing prompts.  Who cares, you might ask, about someone who's taking his temperature every other minute?  What's so exciting about popping a couple of Tylenol?  Do I really want to write about snot?   

The purpose of this article is to convince you that illness--even in its most mundane manifestation--is a storyworthy topic, particularly when you are working within the mode of realistic fiction.


In the late 1930s, the novelist and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo read an article about the Prince of Wales paying a visit to a hospital in Canada for veterans of the first World War and meeting a soldier who had lost all of his limbs and senses from an explosion. From that inspiration Trumbo wrote his most famous novel, Johnny Got His Gun, about a soldier who wakes up in a hospital to find his arms and legs amputated and that he is blind, deaf and mute. It was published in 1939 to great success and in 1971 was adapted into a film that has since become a classic. But the adaptations didn’t stop there: it was also turned into a play in 1981, and the version you are probably most familiar with was the inspiration for Metallica’s 1989 song “One,” with scenes from the 1971 movie appearing in the music video.


Summaries tend to be interpretive. They give the author's critical evaluation of the source. Would your summary differ, for example, from the following summary of The Wizard of Oz? Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.

Like paraphrasing, summarizing involves reporting someone else's ideas in your own language. Unlike paraphrasing, however, summaries allow you to sort through the information in the secondary source and report only what you consider to be essential. A summary is therefore much shorter than the original, whereas a paraphrase may be the same length. In addition, you do not need to cite particular pages when summarizing a source.

Double-Entry Response Format

The double-entry format is a useful technique to help you extend your thinking about a source or to critique an rhetor’s text. One very effective technique for avoiding note-bound prose is to respond to powerful quotations in what  Ann Berthoff calls the double-entry notebook form. The double-entry form shows the direct quotation on the left ...