IELTS Speaking test in India – October 2017

When B took the IELTS Speaking test in India, the examiner asked the following questions:

Speaking testIELTS test in India

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– What subject are you studying?
– Do you like to stay in the college after lectures?
– Let’s talk about friends.
– Do you prefer having more friends or a limited number of friends?
– What do you usually do when you go out with friends?
– How often do you meet them?
– Let’s talk about robots.
– What do you know about robots?
– Do you like them?
– Would you prefer a robot or a human maid? Why?
– Would you like to have a robot driving a car? Why?

Cue Card

Talk about a speech you have heard that inspired you. Please say

– Who was the speaker?
– What was the speech about?
– Where and when did you hear it?

Discussion

– Why were you inspired by it?
– What do you think about conferences?
– Can people who aren’t part of a particular conference attend it?
– Are international conferences a good idea? Why?

Related posts:

  1. IELTS Speaking test in Iran – July 2017 Below are the Speaking questions that P remembered after a…
  2. IELTS test in Pune, India – January 2017 (General Training) Two IELTS test takers S and J remembered the following…
  3. IELTS Speaking test in Argentina – October 2017 When J took the IELTS Speaking test in Argentina, he…
  4. IELTS test in India – April 2017 (Academic Module) Our friend S took the IELTS test in India and…
  5. IELTS Speaking test in Japan – January 2017 Our friend Y took the IELTS Speaking test in Japan…


from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-speaking-test-in-india-october-2017/

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The Great Debate: To Prologue or Not to Prologue?

As many of you know, book publishing industry professionals and readers alike have openly expressed their dislike of prologues.

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Let’s lay a quick foundation:

Prologues aren’t inherently evil or indicative of poor writing. Prologues can—and have been—executed with skill. But are they necessary?

That, in my opinion, is the biggest question—not “should I should write a prologue” but “does a prologue improve my story?”


Meg LaTorre-Snyder is a writer, developmental book editor, vlogger/YouTuber, and a literary agent apprentice with a background in magazine and book publishing, medical/technical writing, journalism, and website creation. Most recently, Meg took on the role of literary agent apprentice at the Corvisiero Literary Agency, representing authors who have written fiction manuscripts. On her YouTube channel, iWriterly, Meg geeks out on all things books—from the concept to the bookshelves (and everything in between). In addition, she works as developmental book editor for Advantage Media Group|Forbes Books, assisting professionals in developing nonfiction titles. To learn more about Meg, visit her website, follow her on Twitter/Facebook, and subscribe to her YouTube channel, iWriterly.

 

 


What is a Prologue?

Prologues come before chapter one and could be expository/introductory prose, a poem, diary letter, news clipping, or anything in between.

As a reader, when I start reading a prologue, I’m usually impatient to get to chapter one. But by the end of a good prologue, I’m wondering about the subsequent story and excited to see how the event fits into the rest of the plot.

That’s a well-written prologue, mind you. The bad ones I skim over.

If you’ve attended a writing workshop, you may have noticed literary agents voicing their dislike of prologues. Some even go as far as to say that when they see prologue pages in the query box, they are immediately wary of the story and submission.

Why such an immediately negative reaction?

This is largely due to the poorly-executed prologues littering query boxes and submission piles. You’d be surprised how many writers commit the deadly sins of prologues.

Prologue Don’ts

1. Using a prologue as a place for a massive dump… information dump.

Information dumps are one of the easiest ways to make readers’ eyes glaze over. Paragraphs of text that provide dense (albeit important) background information are tough to digest. Without strategically trickling this information throughout a scene or throughout the chapters/book, readers can be immediately turned off to a story.

Not to mention, the opening pages are a make-or-break moment. You have mere seconds to hook a reader (or industry professional—who are also readers!).

Many, many writers use prologues as a means to provide tons of background information to a story (rather than to slowly introduce these elements by weaving them into scenes throughout the book). Take a closer look at your opening pages to see if you have several stretches of paragraphs or sections of text that do this. If you do, it’s time to revise!

2. A boring prologue (that readers want to skip to get to chapter one).

Obviously writers don’t start writing a prologue saying, “What is the driest scene I can write? The more boring, the better!” If your scene lacks action or purpose that propels your story, you may be falling into this danger zone.

Look at your manuscript with the critical eye of a reader and ask: “Would I skip this prologue and go right to chapter one?” If so, consider what you can do to spice things up a bit (while keeping the prologue relevant to your story).

3. A prologue that has nothing to do with the main story.

Prologues need to somehow propel or impact your main plot. Period. If your prologue is filled with action, offers bite-sized pieces of background information, and weaves a compelling scene but is not relevant to your main plot, you probably need to re-think your strategy.

It doesn’t matter if your writing is solid if the scenes aren’t strategically moving toward that pretty plot arc—depicting an emotional journey for your character and exhibiting the stakes for your protagonist and the world at large.

4. Prologues that are too long.

The modern reader (often) prefers shorter chapters—prologues included. If your prologue is longer than most of your chapters (or if both your prologue and chapters are longer), it might be time to reevaluate the structure and pacing of your chapters.

5. Using the prologue to hook the reader as the sole purpose.

For this example, I’m thinking specifically of the prologues that throw the reader into the action—and I mean the middle of the action. Maybe it’s the center of a bloody battlefield or twisted in the sheets of a love affair. Whatever it is, the reader is unceremoniously plunked into the action in a world they’re unfamiliar with and whose characters they don’t yet know (and love).

While action scenes are a gripping way to begin a story, consider whether or not this action is important to the central plot and if this beginning isn’t too overwhelming/confusing for the reader to acclimate to.

6. Using the prologue strictly to provide atmosphere or to do some early-on world building.

World building is one of the things I love most about fantasy and science fiction. These delicious details are… well… delicious! The setting is described with enough detail to have the readers visualizing the character’s surroundings but not too much to bog down the pace of the scene.

Proceed with caution if the prologue is used strictly to set the tone and introduce world-building elements. Often, these details can be weaved into your chapters without the need of a prologue.

However, like anything in this industry—the type of prologue or the inclusion/exclusion of them altogether are subjective. Not to mention, skilled writers have a way of proving the rules wrong.

So, when should prologues be utilized? In other words: when are they an asset to your story?

According to Brian A. Klems, “A prologue is used when material that you want to include in the opening is out of time sequence with the rest of the story.”

Prologues should supply information that is—or will be—important to understanding the plot. Often, the prologue doesn’t include the protagonist and takes place outside of the central plot (though not always).


paula munier, beginnings, how to write beginnings, story ideasIn The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings, author and literary agent Paula Munier shows you how to craft flawless beginnings that impress agents, engage editors, and captivate readers. You’ll learn how to develop the big idea of your story and introduce it on page one, structure opening scenes that encompass their own story arc, kickstart your writing with effective brainstorming techniques, and introduce a compelling cast of characters that drive the plot. You’ll also examine best-selling novels from different genres to learn the secrets that experienced writers use to dive straight into a story.

With thorough examinations of voice, point of view, setting, dialogue, and conflict, this book is a must-have tool for luring your readers in with your opening pages—and convincing them to stick around for the ride.


Types of Prologues

Here are a few examples of different types of prologues:

  1. Background/History: This type of prologue provides background to the history of the world and events that previously transpired—such as a major battle or betrayal. These events typically took place before the beginning of your story and somehow significantly impact the events going forward.
  2. Different Point of View (POV): As many of you know, debut authors are encouraged to minimize the number of rotating POVs in their manuscript (capping out at a maximum of six-ish). This type of prologue could be advantageous when diving into another character’s perspective—particularly when that character’s insight is only needed once and provides a foundation for the story.
  3. Protagonist (Past or Future): These prologues are great for showing a pivotal moment for the protagonist—either in the past or in the future (such as a defining moment years ago or after the main plot has taken place).

Strengths of a Prologue

 Fear not, writers. Prologues aren’t all bad. In fact, they come in handy in a number of scenarios:

  1. To provide a “quick-and-dirty” glimpse of important background information without the need of flashbacks, dialogue, or memories that interrupt the action later on in the book.
  2. Hook the reader into the action right away while having the readers asking questions relevant to the central plot—and therefore eager to learn those answers in the opening chapters.
  3. Offer information the reader couldn’t otherwise glean from the plot (such as a break from the point-of-view narration or from a different character’s perspective).
  4. Introduce the antagonist—providing background motives that either humanizes the character or exhibits his/her evil intentions. This angle can be handy if the protagonist doesn’t meet the antagonist until later on in the book.
  5. Introduce a philosophy or religious belief important to the plot/setting.
  6. Foreshadow future events, thereby creating suspense for the reader and get them asking questions (and eagerly reading on).

Do I Need a Prologue?

Trying to decide whether or not you should keep (or even write) a prologue? Consider the following questions:

  1. What information am I providing in the prologue? Why is it important to reveal it up front? Can it be revealed throughout the story in smaller trickles and still be as impactful (or more)?
  2. Does this character’s POV come up again later in the story? If so, would this work as a first chapter instead?


If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

The post The Great Debate: To Prologue or Not to Prologue? appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/craft-and-story-beginnings/great-debate-prologue-not-prologue

IELTS test in the USA – October 2017 (General Training)

Our friend H took the IELTS test in the USA and remembered the Writing and Speaking questions:

Writing testIELTS test in USA

Writing task 1 (a letter)

Write a letter to a company manager with whom you arranged a delivery of goods and say

– Inform him/her what items you have purchased that were supposed to be delivered.
– What issues did you face with the delivery service?
– Suggest what can be done about the matter.

Writing Task 2 (an essay)

Some people are convinced that mature age employees are beneficial to a company. Others think that younger employees contribute more and hence are more beneficial to a company. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Speaking test

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– Do you enjoy your work?
– Will you continue doing it in the foreseeable future?
– Do you like sunny, warm weather?
– Why don’t you like sunny weather?
– What do you do when it is sunny?
– Where would you like to settle in the future?
– Do you like advertisements or pop-ups while browsing the internet? Why?
– What kind of advertisements do you prefer?
– Do you like serious or humorous ones?
– Why do you like them?
– What is your opinion about advertisements on buildings?
– Do they have any drawbacks or negative impacts?

Cue Card

Talk about sports that you like to watch on TV. Please say

– What sports do you like to watch?
– Why do you like to watch these particular sports?
– Who do you usually watch the sports with?

Discussion

– Do you think there is a difference between watching sports live or on TV?
– What is the main difference, in your opinion?
– Do you think commercialisation of sports is necessary?
– What are its pros and cons?
– How can schools promote sports among children?
– Some people think sports are a waste of time. What is your opinion about this section of society?
– Do you think it is justified that athletes are paid very high salaries?
– Why is it so?

Related posts:

  1. IELTS test in Australia – February 2017 (General Training) Our friend A took the IELTS test in Australia and…
  2. IELTS test in Brazil – March 2017 (General Training) The topics and questions below were shared by an IELTS…
  3. IELTS test in Kazakhstan – February 2017 (General Training) Our friend T took the IELTS test in Kazakhstan and…
  4. IELTS test in Taiwan – July 2017 (General Training) Following are topics and questions that K remembered from a…
  5. IELTS test in India – June 2017 (General Training) Here is what D remembered after taking the IELTS test…


from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-test-in-the-usa-october-2017-general-training/

Launching Into Scenes with Action

All great novels and stories start out with a mere idea. Maybe it’s a large idea that spans centuries and crosses continents, like Patrick Rothfuss’s first book in The Kingkiller Chronicles series, The Name of the Wind; or maybe it’s magic realism manifest into stories, like Aimee Bender’s books. No matter how grand or ordinary, strange or beguiling your idea, you must take it through an alchemical process that transforms it into a story. How do you do that? This is the function of the scene; it is your story maker. Inside each scene, the vivid details, information, and action breathe life into your flat idea and round it out into something in which a reader participates.


Jordan Rosenfeld is the author of the writing guides Make A Scene Revised and Expanded Edition, Writing the Intimate Character, Writing Deep Scenes with Martha Alderson, A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, and Write Free with Rebecca Lawton. She is also the author of suspense novels Women in Red, Forged in Grace, and Night Oracle. Jordan’s articles and essays have been published in such places as The Atlantic, mental_floss, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Pacific Standard, Quartz, Scientific American, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and more. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter.


Any story or novel is, in essence, a series of scenes strung together like beads on a wire, with narrative summary adding texture and color between. A work of fiction will comprise many scenes, the number of which varies for each individual project. And each one of these individual scenes must be built with a structure most easily described as beginning, middle, and end. The beginning of each scene is the focus of this chapter.

The word beginning is a bit confusing, since some scenes pick up in the midst of an action or continue where other actions left off; so I prefer to use the term launch, which more clearly suggests the place where the reader’s attention is engaged anew.

In a manuscript, a new scene is usually signified visually by a break of four lines (called a “soft hiatus”) between the last paragraph of the previous scene and the first paragraph of the next one, or sometimes by a symbol such as an asterisk or a dingbat, to let the reader know that time has passed and a new scene is beginning.

Each new scene is a spoke in the wheel of the plot you started with, and the spoke must be revealed in a way that is vivifying for the reader and provides an experience, not a lecture. Scene launches, therefore, pave the way for all the robust consequences of the idea or plot to unfurl. Each scene launch is a reintroduction to your character and the situation she is embroiled in, capturing your reader’s attention all over again.

You can launch a scene using characters, actions, narrative summary, and setting, but this particular post will focus just on launching a scene with action.

The Action Launch

Many writers believe they must explain every bit of action that is going on right from the start of a scene, but narrative summary defeats action. The sooner you start the action in a scene, the more momentum is available to carry the reader forward. If you find yourself explaining an action, then you’re not demonstrating the action any longer; you’re floating in a distant star system known as Nebulous Intellectulus—more commonly known as your head—and so is the reader.

Keep in mind the key elements of action: time and momentum. It takes time to plan a murder over late-night whispers; for a drunk character to drop a jar at the grocery; to blackmail a betraying spouse; or to kick a wall in anger. These things don’t happen spontaneously; they happen over a period of time. They are sometimes quick, sometimes slow, but once started they unfold until finished.

The key to creating strong momentum is to start an action without explaining anything. A scene from M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts does just that:

When the key turns in the door, she stops counting and opens her eyes. Sergeant comes in with his gun and points it at her. Then two of Sergeant’s people come in and tighten and buckle the straps of the chair around Melanie’s wrists and ankles. There’s also a strap for her neck; they tighten that one last of all, when her hands and feet are fastened up all the way, and they always do it from behind. The strap is designed so they never have to put their hands in front of Melanie’s face. Melanie sometimes says, “I won’t bite.” She says it as a joke, but Sergeant’s people never laugh. Sergeant did once, the first time she said it, but it was a nasty laugh. And then he said, “Like we’d ever give you the chance, sugar plum.”

M.R. Carey plunges his reader into the scene in this novel. For a significant portion of the early scenes, the reader doesn’t know why Melanie, a ten-year-old child, is restrained in this way. The lack of explanation for what is happening forces the reader to press on to learn more. The action here gives the reader clues: Something about Melanie is either threatening or dangerous, though, based on her internal narration, we don’t yet know what. We want to know what grown men, including a Sergeant, no less, would have to fear from a child so much that he would have to strap her into a chair and point a gun at her the whole time. Clearly something more is going to happen in this environment, and judging from the tone of the paragraph, we can probably expect something intense and thrilling. Action launches tend to energize the reader’s physical senses.

Here’s how to create an action launch:

  • Get straight to the action. Don’t drag your feet here. “Jimmy jumped off the cliff”; not “Jimmy stared at the water, imagining how cold it would feel when he jumped.”
  • Hook the reader with big or surprising actions. A big or surprising action—outburst, car crash, violent heart attack, public fight—at the launch of a scene can then be the stage for a bunch of consequences to unfold. One caveat: You’ll be unlikely to pull this off in every scene.
  • Be sure that the action is true to your character. Don’t have a shy character choose to become suddenly uninhibited at the launch of a scene—save that for scene middles. Do have a bossy character belittle another character in a way that creates conflict.
  • Act first, think later. If a character is going to think in your action opening, let the action come first and the thought be a reaction. “Elizabeth slapped the Prince. When his face turned pink, horror filled her. What have I done? she thought.”

Scenes are the building blocks for any work of fiction—the DNA sequence that makes a novel un-put-downable and unforgettable. When writers are able to craft effective, engaging scenes, they
can develop a complete, cohesive story—and a mesmerizing experience for readers. Make a Scene Revised and Expanded Edition takes you step-by-step through the elements of strong scene construction and demonstrates how the essential aspects of a compelling story—including character, plot, and dramatic tension—function within the framework of individual scenes to give momentum to the whole narrative.

 

The post Launching Into Scenes with Action appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/excerpts/launching-scenes-action

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 415

For today’s prompt, write an I Believe You poem. This could be a poem about someone’s vision for the future or someone’s story of the past. It could be a poem about a real person, a fictional character, or even yourself (written in the first person by someone else–or a “staring in the mirror” poem).

*****

Order the new Poet’s Market!

The new 2018 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer, includes hundreds of poetry markets, including listings for poetry publications, publishers, contests, and more! With names, contact information, and submission tips, poets can find the right markets for their poetry and achieve more publication success than ever before.

In addition to the listings, there are articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry–so that poets can learn the ins and outs of writing poetry and seeking publication. Plus, it includes a one-year subscription to the poetry-related information on WritersMarket.com. All in all, it’s the best resource for poets looking to secure publication.

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at an I Believe You Poem:

“The Incident”

From across the house, I hear it–
the kicking, slapping, and screaming.
Then, I listen to the feet pound
my way with warnings of “Daddy!”

The youngest says, “Daddy! He called
me names!” The name-caller says, “She
hit me real hard, and he punched me,”
referring to the teenager,

who makes his way slow down the stairs
while making little grunts before
laying out his tale of woe, “They both
teamed up on me, and were hitting

“and kicking and assaulting me.”
Then, they all begin lobbying
in unison before breaking
down into punches, kicks, and screams,

before I say, “I believe you
and you and you; I believe you
all, and there’s just one thing to do:
Apologize to who isn’t you.”

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). As the oldest of three brothers, he’s had to say his fair share of apologies on this planet.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

*****

Find more poetic posts here:

The post Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 415 appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-415

IELTS Speaking test in Argentina – October 2017

When J took the IELTS Speaking test in Argentina, he was asked the following questions:

Speaking testIELTS test in Argentina

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– What do you think about robots?
– Where are they used?
– Do you think robots will be developed further?
– What do you think about mirrors?
– Do you think people use mirrors a lot? Why?
– What do you think attracts people to buy something?
– Do you think the government should help small shops? Why?

Cue Card

Describe a popular place for swimming in your city. Please say

– What is this place?
– Where is it situated?
– Why is it so popular?

Discussion

– How often do you go there?
– Who do you go there with?
– Why is that?
– What sports do you like?
– Why do you like them?

Related posts:

  1. IELTS Speaking test in Tashkent, Uzbekistan – February 2017 Our kind friend B took the IELTS Speaking test in…
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  3. IELTS Speaking test in Vietnam – August 2017 When D took the IELTS Speaking test in Vietnam he…
  4. IELTS Speaking test in India – August 2017 Thanks to K who took the IELTS test in India…
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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-speaking-test-in-argentina-october-2017/

Why I Write Poetry: Marie Elena Good

A few months ago, I posted about “Why I Write Poetry” and encouraged others to share their thoughts, stories, and experiences for future guest posts. I’ve already received so many, and I hope they keep coming in (details on how to contribute below). Thank you!

Today’s “Why I Write Poetry” post comes from Marie Elena Good, who writes, “I just enjoy it.”

Marie Elena Good daily watched her poems accrue, while posting and hosting a blog (or two). But life called, her muse stalled; regretfully she bid adieu. With publications next to nil (and dithering on kid lit, still), her market research does her in – she hardly knows where to begin. Her bio crashed, but still she’s blessed – she gets to poem with poeming’s best!

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works. Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

Why I Write Poetry: Marie Elena Good

Marie Elena Good

The first poem I wrote was for a second-grade homework assignment. Funny how someone who has a difficult time with memorization can effortlessly recall the final couplet of her first poem, half-a-century after composing it.

“Beauty is a stallion, running free and wild.
Beauty is the crying of a newly born child.”

I spent much of that day mulling ideas in my head, unhappy with every phrase I painstakingly forced on to the paper. I remember believing I would have to take a “zero” for this assignment. I went to bed that night feeling defeated. How would I explain to Sister Josephine that I had tried my best, but had nothing to show for it. I couldn’t sleep. Then I remember the above couplet slipping effortlessly into my restless mind. I knew this was the end of my poem, and that my task was to work in reverse to find the beginning. And so my very first poem was birthed backward, and long after I should have been asleep. (Huh. Self-prophesy, this.)

Though my personality leans self-critical, I was pleased with my poem. I took great pleasure in the marriage of rhythm and rhyme, imagery and emotion. I look back now and see it as a seed poem that remained dormant far too long. It would be nearly four decades before I would write my second, which was in response to a poetry prompt on April 1, 2009 (wink wink). Much to my surprise, I wrote and publicly shared a minimum of one poem every day that month. I continued writing daily for years, thanks to Robert and others willing to artistically splay their hearts.

Still, contemplating why I write gave me pause. Some express a need to write that nearly rivals their need to breathe. Perhaps if this described me, I’d be a better poet. Honestly though, I just enjoy it. I especially relish the short forms, as I delight in expressing much in few words.

In the interest of transparency, I have a confession: Though I enjoy writing, my joy is made complete when a poet, in whose words I find worth, finds worth in mine. (Which is just a nicer way of admitting I am an online, instant-gratification poem junkie.)

Finally, writing poetry led me to discover a deeply rooted feeling:

I may write a truth,
but it isn’t truly mine
until I poem it.

*****

If you’d like to share why you write poetry, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwmedia.com with a 300-500 word personal essay that shares why you write poetry. It can be serious, happy, sad, silly–whatever poetry means for you. And be sure to include your preferred bio (50-100 words) and head shot. If I like what you send, I’ll include it as a future guest post on the blog.

*****

Find more poetic posts here:

The post Why I Write Poetry: Marie Elena Good appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/write-poetry-marie-elena-good