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Wrote an essay on cycling for creative writing

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Wrote an essay on cycling for creative writing

Old 09-10-09, 12:44 AM
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crydee
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Wrote an essay on cycling for creative writing

So, I had this assignment to write an assignment for creative writing for a class we were supposed to write an article as if for a magazine, so a it already had a target audience. Even though I picked bicycling and no one else in the class knew much about it it was widely received and was said by my professor the best content she read for a draft.

I thought I'd share it with ya'll since this where I became a commuter to a full time "roadie" just by reading threads on advice non stop (gogo waterrockets).

http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AQ...p4NGRjaw&hl=en

Mainly, I want to confess I quoted a few guys here (Pcad and Dr. Pete) from my extensive reading of the boards when I first got started (the boards back then were way more cluttered with helpful threads). I was wondering how it is appropriate to quote them in this essay. I put their names from what I can tell in the article and quotes around them (and exaggerated a bit by necessary, but by reading their posts everday I felt as if I "know" them.) I Just want to make it is legit.

If you enjoy reading or have any literary/quoting feeding back please feel free to help. I want to share it with others and improve on my writing skills so every bit helps. I know it could be improved upon by cutting down on length and stuff but for the sake of what I submitted to the class I'm keeping it the same. We had to have like 4 pages. I think a lot of fluff could be cut down.

edit: if dr pete or pcad would say pm with their thoughts on this, this would be great, but just reminded this is fiction (but everything about me is true) and largely based on what I gained from reading the forums for a couple of years

Last edited by crydee; 09-10-09 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 09-10-09, 12:56 AM
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I read the entire thing. Thanks for sharing
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Old 09-10-09, 01:04 AM
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you sir know how to write.
Good read.
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Old 09-10-09, 01:16 AM
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I liked how you described how one of characters couldn't distinguish the sweat from tears on the bike ride. That shows you have talent. Overall it was just ok. But I don't read magazines so take that as you will.
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Old 09-10-09, 01:39 AM
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Not bad, though I felt the urge to print it out and start editing. Habit I guess...

I disagree with one thing though. We don't ride because we can; We ride because we have to. We ride because it's such a big part of our identity that we're scared that we'd wake up one day with our awkward tans and shaved legs in a place without our bike and have to actually deal with something instead of inflicting ourselves with a pain more palpable and visible than whatever might be plaguing our minds.

Last edited by ridethecliche; 09-10-09 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 09-10-09, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by swak View Post
you sir know how to write.
Good read.
Thank you very much!

Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
Not bad, though I felt the urge to print it out and start editing. Habit I guess...

I disagree with one thing though. We don't ride because we can; We ride because we have to. We ride because it's such a big part of our identity that we're scared that we'd wake up one day with our awkward tans and shaved legs in a place without our bike and have to actually deal with something instead of inflicting ourselves with a pain more palpable and visible than whatever might be plaguing our minds.
I agree, that line could have a stronger impact with "we have to." Adding abit more about awkard tan lines is great too depending on who I share it with. Imagine the essay in cycling or a sports magazine. In a section about getting people to ride and I think it fits. That is how I described it to the class, something everyone could enjoy and think about riding, or a person who rides could read it, so it fits in.

Originally Posted by DenisMenchov View Post
I liked how you described how one of characters couldn't distinguish the sweat from tears on the bike ride. That shows you have talent. Overall it was just ok. But I don't read magazines so take that as you will.
The character was me. If you read it more careful I go on to describe Pcad then talk about how I learned how much cycling can mean and then it was me. The idea of the assignment was to write an article with a target audience so the professor saying write it for a magazine fit that, magazines target audiences so putting ourselves in writing for that made us write for a "magazine" however, the essay can adapt. Thanks for the pros, I hope you can read some more comments and rethink it if you can see it more than a magazine article

Last edited by crydee; 09-10-09 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 09-10-09, 02:21 AM
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I'm no english major or editor, but if you wanted me to I could shoot you some suggestions.

This is if you are still at the draft stage.

I have to finish writing a paper first though...

Regardless, your descriptions were good, but you could have used a little more imagery. When I read it, I could feel what you felt but couldn't put myself in the saddle and see what you saw.

That's a big thing and would be my biggest suggestion.
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Old 09-10-09, 02:45 AM
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pcad passed the bar exam
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Old 09-10-09, 03:01 AM
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i just write poems, and make tons of spelling errors and grammar errors, ect. so take what i say with a grain of salt.

the first paragraph was like reading a tellegram. "i put on my helmet. STOP. i clean the chain. Stop. i put air in my tires. stop." it was so blocky, you had a chance to explain the experience of getting ready instead it sounded like a blah daily routine. for me it is a routine getting ready but i am excited to pump up my tires, packing food knowing i will be ready for anything. putting on my gloves in the second to last thing i do, so when i put on my gloves my fingers tingle with excitement and anticipation. so talk about how you clean your chain and what it means to you.

in the middle parts i saw some real honest, i really like this. however i would of liked to seen some metaphors to tie into cycling. you talked about smoothing out pedal strokes. maybe talking about pedaling in circles instead of mashing from 2olock to 7oclock, that could of lead into mind numbing jobs and related back to cycling how much its about repeation and say something like 20,000 idental strokes per ride.

for me i think about the people in my life, so each pedal stroke is me smoothing out relainships, confronting conflicting, and just finding myself on the open road and arriving at some destination and then finding myself in the world at this park or reservoir or this view.

i found all of the "you" and "i" statements to be conflicting. is it me the reader who is cleaning the chain and doing all these things i know nothing about or is it your experience. again put aspects of cycling that mean something to you in the story. the way you start every paragragh kills what the rest of it says. to start something like my grandpa died and we were really close by "it was so suprise someone really close to me died." i am the reader and know nothing about you, yeah its a suprise. i just found the introduction and conclusion to be predictable. i don't see you challenging the way you write in this essay.

btw its very brave of you to post this online. i don't post any poems i write online. i might read or give a copy to someone i know and i rarely submit to publication. i applaude you for posting your work.
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Old 09-10-09, 04:20 AM
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Thanks for sharing that with us
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Old 09-10-09, 04:28 AM
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I have a creative entry on my blog which was a parody of another thread that I wrote. I got banned for it though - granted it was a joke.
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Old 09-10-09, 05:58 AM
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The draft looks good. With more research and lots more elaboration and perhaps some different perspectives analogous to other sports, this draft could come out to be a published book.

I also like how you made it personal and I identified with some of what you were saying. You just need more elaboration. Pretend you're painting a big picture..it's unfinished for now.
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Old 09-10-09, 06:21 AM
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I read the whole thing, that was great. Keep working at it, don't submit it yet. Develop the piece of writing like you develop your sense of oneness with your bike

Chris
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Old 09-10-09, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by weavers View Post
i just write poems, and make tons of spelling errors and grammar errors, ect. so take what i say with a grain of salt.

the first paragraph was like reading a tellegram. "i put on my helmet. STOP. i clean the chain. Stop. i put air in my tires. stop." it was so blocky, you had a chance to explain the experience of getting ready instead it sounded like a blah daily routine. for me it is a routine getting ready but i am excited to pump up my tires, packing food knowing i will be ready for anything. putting on my gloves in the second to last thing i do, so when i put on my gloves my fingers tingle with excitement and anticipation. so talk about how you clean your chain and what it means to you.

in the middle parts i saw some real honest, i really like this. however i would of liked to seen some metaphors to tie into cycling. you talked about smoothing out pedal strokes. maybe talking about pedaling in circles instead of mashing from 2olock to 7oclock, that could of lead into mind numbing jobs and related back to cycling how much its about repeation and say something like 20,000 idental strokes per ride.

for me i think about the people in my life, so each pedal stroke is me smoothing out relainships, confronting conflicting, and just finding myself on the open road and arriving at some destination and then finding myself in the world at this park or reservoir or this view.

i found all of the "you" and "i" statements to be conflicting. is it me the reader who is cleaning the chain and doing all these things i know nothing about or is it your experience. again put aspects of cycling that mean something to you in the story. the way you start every paragragh kills what the rest of it says. to start something like my grandpa died and we were really close by "it was so suprise someone really close to me died." i am the reader and know nothing about you, yeah its a suprise. i just found the introduction and conclusion to be predictable. i don't see you challenging the way you write in this essay.

btw its very brave of you to post this online. i don't post any poems i write online. i might read or give a copy to someone i know and i rarely submit to publication. i applaude you for posting your work.
I actually liked that paragraph...It hit home for me...

That's what it's like at our house when my wife and I get ready for our rides. It's like a check list of things we do before we go out. It's a bang, bang ritual....Things that must be done...

Step 1, check
Step 2, check
etc....

Then the fun begins....The ride!
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Old 09-10-09, 06:34 AM
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I applaud you for writing about your passion. Your piece was also very personal, with the association to your grandfather's death. Someone said that playing emotional live music is like standing on stage naked; I feel it's the same way with writing about intimate/personal things. Even less personal things exposes you to criticism and such.

I don't know what your assignment was, meaning if the essay supposed to be a particular message, satisfy a particular "editor's request", or if you just had to write an editorial.

I used cycling as my main topic in English classes in college and couldn't type fast enough to get the words down. I hope you find the same happens with you.

cdr
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Old 09-10-09, 06:57 AM
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good read... I liked it
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Old 09-10-09, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by weavers View Post
"i put on my helmet. STOP. i clean the chain. Stop. i put air in my tires. stop."
I pump air in my tires.
and oil my chain
Performance: Name of the game.

Sorry, I had to...
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Old 09-10-09, 07:39 AM
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Write what you want, in the style you want. One thing I hate about english classes are the subjective nature. If you like it, and you wrote something a specific way because that is how you want it to be read, then leave it. As you can see from the first 15+ posts everyone had there own view. Some liked it and other would change it. I guess that is why I always like math and sciences better.
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Old 09-10-09, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Jynx View Post
Write what you want, in the style you want. One thing I hate about english classes are the subjective nature. If you like it, and you wrote something a specific way because that is how you want it to be read, then leave it. As you can see from the first 15+ posts everyone had there own view. Some liked it and other would change it. I guess that is why I always like math and sciences better.
It's a draft. It needs to be edited.

That being said, some people are commenting on the stylistic nature of things, which isn't the point.
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Old 09-10-09, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by rbart4506 View Post
I actually liked that paragraph...It hit home for me...

That's what it's like at our house when my wife and I get ready for our rides. It's like a check list of things we do before we go out. It's a bang, bang ritual....Things that must be done...

Step 1, check
Step 2, check
etc....

Then the fun begins....The ride!
Bang bang ritual with the spouse? Sounds good to me!

Sorry, I couldn't resist....resume thread.
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Old 09-10-09, 03:56 PM
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Great essay. Just gonna put it out there you said chamosis.
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Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
Are they talking about spectators feeding the cyclists? You know, like don't feed the bears?
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Old 09-10-09, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
Not bad, though I felt the urge to print it out and start editing. Habit I guess...
+1. I like the lesson plan the OP's creative writing teacher used. I may borrow it for my class.
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Old 09-10-09, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Jynx View Post
One thing I hate about english classes are the subjective nature.
Unfortunately, the subjective aspect of writing and literary interpretation is central to the subject. This is especially true where creative writing is concerned.
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Old 09-10-09, 04:15 PM
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Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-10-09, 04:59 PM
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"had to pack for my first funeral, probably the hardest one you have to deal with"

It's good to write about what you know, and mostly you have. But you still have some things to learn.
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