Word Play

Who this Course Will Help

Ready to flex your writing muscles in new ways? 

Word Play is a short, low-stakes course designed to help you take a break from bigger projects and take some time to play with language. It presents focused writing exercises that explore diction and figurative language choices, which help us develop voice in our stories, essays, and poems. 

Writers of all levels and intentions are encouraged to join these focused word-based exercises, honing language skills and developing new ones that will support the writing they do in any genre. Many prompts may become prewriting for new projects or help you revise projects already in the works.

What this Course Specifically Teaches

Word Play presents focused writing exercises that explore diction and figurative language choices, which help us develop voice in our stories, essays, and poems. 

About the Instructor

Liz Whiteacre has been teaching writing since 2000. She’s worked with writers of all ages and abilities at places like University of Indianapolis, Ball State University, College of DuPage, the Indiana Writers Center, and the Indianapolis Chinese Community Center. In 2015, she won an Excellence in Teaching Award from Ball State University and was poetry faculty for the Midwest Writers Workshop in 2016. Whiteacre’s poems have appeared in Kaleidoscope, Wordgathering, Disability Studies Quarterly, Disabled World, and other magazines. She is the author of Hit the Ground and co-editor of Monday Coffee & Other Stories of Mothering Children with Special Needs.

What this Course Includes

You will receive weekly video lectures, writing exercises and recommended readings, and access to the Word Play Facebook community where you might share questions, excerpts of your writing, your responses to reflection questions, etc.

The four units offer three language-based exercises each week, so you may tailor your experience to your needs and schedule. Each lesson also offers suggestions for further reading on related topics, which you can chose to do while you work on exercises during the class or chose to save for the future.

Course material is presented English, but writers are encouraged to experiment with other languages they know as they compose.

Course Syllabus

Unit 1: Building Your Lexicon

In Unit 1, we will hunt for words, play with meaning, and consider how culture affects the context of the words we use.

Unit 2: The Right Word

In Unit 2, we will play with figurative language, exploring how to express abstract ideas, like emotions, in concrete ways.

Unit 3: Developing Distinct Voices

We have explored ways to build our vocabulary during Unit 1, and we considered how we can use the figurative meanings of words in Unit 2 to help us make abstract ideas more concrete for readers. This week, we will focus on developing distinct voices in our poetry and prose, and we will end the week with a syllabic challenge to test our heightened skills. (Tip: as you hunt for words this week for your Word Journal, you might want to focus on collecting interesting words that have only one syllabl

Unit 4: What to Cut?

Sometimes, what’s not said can be effective. Or, a word or phrase rings insincere or out of tune. Exercises will help you explore strategies for revising language in your writing.
“I left Liz's sessions both inspired and educated." — ,

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