WIR #39: Steering the Craft

Steering the CraftLe Guin, Ursula K. Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew. Portland, Oregon: The Eighth Mountain Press. Copyright © 1998, by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Ursula K. Le Guin's web site:

The first exercise found in Le Guin's book, which I completed this morning, is a fun one.

Write a paragraph to a page (150-300 words) of narrative that's meant to be read aloud. Use onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition, rhythmic effects, made-up words or names, dialect — any kind of sound-effect you like — but NOT rhyme or meter.

What I wrote for this exercise:

The horse’s hooves clop-clop-clopped on the cobblestone street, clop-clop-clopped as its rider prodded it on down the narrow lane, and they plodded onward, towards the skyspires of the sorcerer’s lair in the midst of Scintillating City. In the distance, the tall, reaching skyspires rose above the surrounding wood, pawing, clawing, stretching skyward, and piercing the clear blue of the cloudless, innocent sky.

Having crested Knobby Hill, the cobblestone street now rolled down, swinging left and swinging right, between rows of two-storeyed houses, their windowed façades a rainbow of pastels. Blues and purples, and reds and oranges, and greens and yellows, every one of them streaked with the brown and muddied trails from the runnels a recent, rusty rain. The cobblestone street wended its way westward, toward Womblytown, where it wound alongside the wild, rushing rapids of the roaring Ram River.

(258 words)

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