The Collected Revision Techniques

Direct links to revision techniques discussed in the PowerPoint, in order in which they are presented.

Revision Technique: Adding Descriptive Phrase(s) into a Sentence

Revision Technique: Adding Descriptive Sentences into a Paragraph

Revision Technique: Adding Descriptive Paragraphs (Leaps) into Your Paper

Revision Technique: Adding a Descriptive Paragraph into Your Piece

Revision Technique: Fight Clutter and Eliminate Adjectives

Leaps and Tangents: Going Deeper By Adding

Add Descriptive Paragraphs Leaps and Tangents: Research, Accessing Outer Data

Revision Technique: Add Descriptive Paragraphs (Leaps and Tangents) into Your Paper: Interviewing the Author

Writing Prompt: Second-Guessing on Paper and The Rhetoric of Process

Writing Prompt: Research and The Rhetoric of Gaps

The Substantial Word Riff; Or, the On Being Blue opening sentence imitation

Reflection and Retrospection: Establish a Double Persona

Revision Technique: Reflection and Introspection II: Bring Metacommentary Into Your Writing

20 Templates for Opening Sentences

The Lede, Intro, Nut Graf, and Narrative Opening

Writing Prompt: Place Us in the Room Where You Are Writing

Writing Prompt: Write a Sestina Version of your Writing*

Put Your Writing in Reverse Or, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”–izing Your Writing

A Collection of Oulipo Exercises

Revision Technique: Place an Objective Correlative Into Your Essay

Use an Oblique Strategy


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Filed under ENG 247 Fall 2015, Handouts, Revision Exercises, WRT 563: Creative Nonfiction

Conferences for English 247

There will be no class meetings on Tuesday, November 17, and Thursday, November 19. Instead, we will have conferences. We’re meeting to go over your grade for the class, for which I will present a breakdown for your review, as well as your draft of the Make Your Own ‘A Few Words About Breasts’ Assignment, which is due Sunday, November 15. Sign up for a second/double appointment if you would like to go over revising and improving your grade for the first assignment.

Email me to set up time(s). These are available on a first-email, first-served basis.

These conferences will take place in my office, which is Dolan Hall, 442 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203. My office is Room #1, the first on the right as you walk in. Please note that a missed conference, or one you fail to schedule with me, counts as a missed class (i.e., one absence), and cannot be made up.

Wednesday, November 11 (to revise first assignment only)


10:30am Shannon W [revise first assignment]



3pm Daniel S [advisee]

3:30pm Danielle V [revise first assignment]

4pm Kayla P [revise first assignment]

Thursday, November 12 (to revise first assignment only)







4:30pm Shi H


Monday, November 16 (to discuss new assignment and revise first assignment)

10:30am Carly D

11am Marissa S


12pm Vanessa C

12:30pm Vanessa C

1pm Johan H

1:30pm Kayla P

2pm Jennia R

[I have a meeting from 2:30-4pm]


4:30pm Lauren D

5pm Shannon W

5:30 Danielle V

Tuesday, November 17 (to discuss new assignment and revise first assignment)

10am Emma T

10:30am Emily B


11:30am Shi H

Wednesday, November 18

3pm Evan C

3:30pm Christianne L

4pm Samantha C

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Filed under ENG 247 Fall 2015

Syllabus for Literary Journalism and First-Person Writing


Course Description: Literary Journalism and First-Person Writing

We live in a first-person writing boom. From Buzzfeed and New York Times to blogs and podcasts, we encounter personal writing everywhere to understand the present moment. But who writes these pieces, and how do they get published? This class covers a branch of nonfiction that is intended for immediate publication from a professional standpoint. We will study classic and contemporary examples of literary journalism to learn how to write pieces that integrate topical subjects, use research and reporting techniques, and employ conventions of personal essay and memoir. We will learn how to pitch editors and will dip our toes in new storytelling methods: video, audio, and web publishing platforms. Students will critique each other’s drafts, learn to write pitches to publication, and complete one piece of immersion journalism, one topical personal essay, a profile piece, and an author interview published in in Pine Hills Review, the college’s literary magazine. We will also collaborate on a final pop-up publication on the Medium platform.

Possible Assignments:

Profile Feature Assignment

Make Your Own ‘A Few Words About Breasts’ Assignment

Make Your Own ‘White Album’ Assignment

Op-Ed: My Turn, Ripped from the Headlines,

Interview with Author for Pine Hills Review

Immersion Writing Assignment

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Freewriting: Memoir

Directions: Here below is a list of two writing projects in advance of writing a short memoir piece.

Please write as much as you can but not more than is needed (let’s say 750-3000 words).

Project 1: Memory and Imagination

Pick a time period (from 12 months to 3 years) in which your life was at a crossroads, were about to experience a great change of place or mindset, or were otherwise experiencing some sort of transformation or self-definition. Or perhaps a really fun, perhaps decadent time you had (i.e., an off-the-hook party).

1. Write down memories of this time period or specific event. Who were you with (we might call these people, yourself included, as the characters)? What was happening, specifically (action)? When and where did it happen (setting)? Why was this happening (motivation, obstacles)? Verify all the facts you can: date, time, location and address. Tell us about the details of this event using the senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing). If there was a conversation you remember, write down dialogue as best as  you remember it.

Lastly, tell us your interpretation of this time period/events. How would you characterize yourself during this time? How would you describe your life, the people around you, and your surroundings? Be as specific and as subjective as you can. Don’t try to hold back and be impartial: what do you think of this time/event in your life?

2. Next, find one person who shared with experience with you, and interview them. Ask that person about two things: one, what do they remember most about you from that time period/event; and two, what was their interpretation of the time period/event as it relates to you. Don’t tell them about your interpretation; rather, just write down or write out what they say.


Project 2: Character sketch of yourself

Stay in this time period from your first project, and think about yourself from this time as a former version of yourself. What kind of person were you? If it helps, think of yourself in the third person, a “he” or “she,” and answer the following questionnaire. Feel free to complete all of these sentences or skip ones that don’t make sense to you, but for least 3-4 of these, expand into a paragraph that is your own, with an explanation, memory, or deeper description.

The narrator of this story is like _____.
This is the time of my life when _____.
I had a job/I did not have a job. I made _____ a year/hour. This is what I would do at my job: ______.
I had/did not have a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/partner. He/she/my partner ______.
Most of my time was spent doing _____.
What do I miss most of this time? _____ .
A typical outfit for me around this time? _____ .
My hairstyle during this time? _____ .
What kind of music did I listen to during this time? _____ .
What do I miss least? _____.
This story shouldn’t be told because _____ .
This story should be told _____ .
Which actor/actress should play the narrator in this story? _____.
What is the color of this story? _____ . Why?
What does this story smell like? _____. Why?
What section of the library does this story belong? _____. Why?
During the time of this story, I met the following famous people or important local figures: _____.
I believed in God/I didn’t believe in God. I still believe in God/I don’t believe in God now/I still don’t believe in
God. Here’s how I would describe my relationship with faith at this time _____.
The narrator of this story is like me in the following ways: _____.
The narrator of this story is not like me in the following ways: _____.
The headline on the front page of this life story’s newspaper read _____.
What did I expect to happen in my life? _____ .
What really happened? _____ .
If I passed the narrator of this story on the street, I might have though to myself, ‘_____ .’
What would I say to the narrator of this story? _____.

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Filed under ENG 247 Fall 2015, Writing Prompts

Directions for Advisees: Preparing for Your Advising Appointment, Advisement Times

Hello, Daniel Nester Advisee!

This post explains what you need to do before your advising appointment on Advising Day this coming Tuesday March 24, 2015 as well as outline how to set up an appointment with me. If you are a continuing advisee, you probably know the drill; if you are a new advisee, I urge you read all of these directions, and email me with any questions before we meet.

The goal of this 15- to 20-minute meeting is for me to advise you on which classes you should take, discuss your academic progress to your degree, approve your tentative schedule, and give you a PIN number so you can register for classes. We have a short time to accomplish this.This means student advisees need to do some work before we meet. Advisement meetings will take place in my office Dolan Hall, 442 Western Avenue, 1st floor, Room #1 first on the right. My office phone number is 518-454-2812; my email is nesterd at strose dot edu.

Preparing for Your Advising Appointment

1. Email me to sign up for a meeting. The schedule with appointment times is at the bottom of this post. Check this page and refresh it often. Advisement times are on a first-email, first served basis. There are as many appointment times as there are advisees, and then some.

2. Obtain and fill out a Course Registration Form. This is important. The English Department has copies as well as the Registrar in Saint Joseph Hall’s Student Solution Center. Here is a link to a PDF filePlease do not come to our advisement appointment without filling out the top matter of this form (i.e., your name and address) and courses you need to take.If we change your choices through the course of our meeting, we can simply cross one course out and add another. Bottom line: bring the form and fill it out beforehand. If you do not come to our appointment without a filled-out form, I will have to reschedule our appointment. If you show up without a form or with simply a blank form, there’s no point in meeting, since a large part of our meeting will consist of me looking at you writing out your address.

3. Login to Banner ( and review your Academic Progress report. Print the report out or download it for your files. Look at it and see if all of your classes are falling into the right places. Identify which areas in your English major requirements as well as your Liberal Education requirements you still need to fulfill.

3a. If you are a transfer student, looking at your Academic Progress Report is doubly important. Make sure that your transfer classes are there, that nothing looks strange or out of place, that your transferred classes are also “counting” for requirements you think they should be. For example, make sure that a class you thought fulfilled a requirement is not languishing in your General Electives on the bottom-right-hand corner of your report. You should also have a copy of your Statement of Transfer Credit report, which tallies up which classes you took at your previous institution, and tells you where it will apply in the College of Saint Rose degree requirement. If you transferred from some of the local colleges, the college keeps a Transfer Equivalency Database online.  This information is designed to help provide you with an unofficial evaluation of the courses and how they may transfer to the College. It’s helpful to see if any of your courses should have gone somewhere else on your degree requirements. Please come with these questions at our meeting, and we can figure out the next step. Those of you who have already met me for an advising appointment know that I take ample notes in your student folder regarding what administrative tasks need to be done to make sure classes are falling in the right places in the Academic Progress Report, there are no clerical errors, etc.

4. Review the semester’s English Department Course Offerings and read the course descriptions. College-wide courses will appear online. Look at your Academic Progress report and identify which kind of English courses you need to take. This is your major; read the courses descriptions and come with questions about particular courses.Figure out your schedule as far as days of the week are concerned.And finally: Have an idea of which English course(s) you would like to take next semester (as well as Summer, if applicable).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

10am Daniel S [IND STUDY]



11:30 Georgie D [Advisee]

12pm Sawyer K [Advisee]

1:00pm English 315 meet-up


2pm Christina M [Advisee]

2:30pm Alyssa C [grad student]




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Filed under Advising, Handouts