• The 5-Paragraph Essay Will Be Your Best Friend in College

    The 5-Paragraph Essay Will Be Your Best Friend in College

    There’s a rampant hatred of the five-paragraph essay among academics and writing instructors, and I’ve heard many a teacher express the desire to do away with it completely. The arguments for its destruction usually revolve around students’ stunted writing abilities, especially in terms of writing for a specific audience, but every criticism I’ve found is […]

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  • You’re Saying More Than You Think You Are

    You’re Saying More Than You Think You Are

    This is not about body language. It has nothing to do with tone of voice or eye contact or facial expressions. This is about the unconscious linguistic associations that people will make while reading your writing, and why ignoring things like etymology and prosody makes you a really bad writer. But first, What is prosody? […]

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  • How to Critique Creative Writing: A Comprehensive Guide for Readers

    How to Critique Creative Writing: A Comprehensive Guide for Readers

    One of the biggest problems facing young writers is a lack of solid constructive criticism. Bad books get self-published because friends and family didn’t want to be mean. People delude themselves that they’re good writers because no one has ever told them otherwise. And it’s hard, giving negative feedback. But it’s necessary. It’s so, so […]

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  • The Best Day Jobs for Writers

    The Best Day Jobs for Writers

    There’s no right way to write professionally. The only necessities for the writer’s life are to care about the craft and put in the hard work. Everything else is more of a whatever-works-for-you type of thing. That being said, working on a novel doesn’t pay the bills. Submitting poetry won’t reliably get you groceries. So […]

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  • “Because” Is a Coordinating Conjunction. Fight Me.

    “Because” Is a Coordinating Conjunction. Fight Me.

    Let’s go back to middle school English class for a moment. What is a conjunction? Conjunctions are parts of speech that join two words or phrases together. There are three types of conjunctions: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative. Coordinating conjunctions join two grammatically equal words or phrases. They’re usually remembered by the acronym FANBOYS: for, and, […]

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  • Grammar Exists to Make You a Better Writer

    Grammar Exists to Make You a Better Writer

    There are two types of people who talk about grammar on the internet: those who pedantically criticize every real and imagined misuse, and those who rant on Tumblr that they’re gonna write however they want cuz that first type can suck it. Both types have entirely missed the point of grammar. Grammar functions as a […]

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  • Stop Using the Word “It”

    Stop Using the Word “It”

    It’s absurd to tell you to stop using a pronoun, especially one that’s so ingrained into our language, most writers don’t even realize when they use it. It is a useful word, standing in for long referents, keeping you from awkwardly repeating yourself, introducing Mario. But it is also a crutch. Nothing will weaken your […]

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  • The Art of Writing Metaphors

    The Art of Writing Metaphors

    Trends in language are just as real (and often just as cringeworthy) as trends in culture. They fade in and out, they’re remixed and replaced. They’re intensely popular and often very bad ideas. Instead of parachute pants we have superfluous dialogue tags, instead of slap bracelets we have metaphors followed by explanations. It’s a toss […]

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  • The Most Dangerous Advice Young Writers Believe

    The Most Dangerous Advice Young Writers Believe

    You’ve seen them on Tumblr, on Pinterest, in writing groups. You’ve seen them reblogged with the captions “yes!!!!” and “THANK YOU” and “this is really good advice!” You may have even posted one somewhere yourself. Words to use instead of… Said. Very. Great. Feel. Nice. You name it, there’s probably a badly made infographic for […]

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  • Deconstructing the Constructor: An Interview with Mark Rosenfelder

    Deconstructing the Constructor: An Interview with Mark Rosenfelder

    When it comes to the putative title of “Master of the Constructed Language,” Mark Rosenfelder’s claim to it has some serious merit. He has quite literally written the book—four, in fact—dedicated to conlangs and helping readers with crafting their own. The most recent of these, The Syntax Construction Kit (SCK), was released in November. Mr. […]

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