We Need More Hope-Filled Media

Whenever anyone asks me what kinds of movies and shows I like, I tend to just give the vague umbrella answer of “fun and feel-good,” occasionally followed up with, “if I wanted to be depressed, I’d just watch the news.” This usually returns a mixed bag of recommendations, since of course different things make different people feel good. I know multiple people who listen to … Continue reading We Need More Hope-Filled Media

What Happened to Competence Porn?

In 2009, Leverage writer John Rogers wrote in a blog post about how viewers enjoyed “watching competent people banter and plan,” something his team had come to refer to as “competence porn.” This phenomenon, now named, has loosely cropped up throughout all forms of media over the years, from Odysseus escaping the Cyclops to Sherlock Holmes besting Moriarty to James Bond just, well, being James … Continue reading What Happened to Competence Porn?

Should You Write a Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

You’re reading this on the internet, so you’ve probably heard of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. You probably have a decent idea of what she is and where she exists in the world of fiction. There’s like a seventy percent chance you immediately associate the term with Zooey Deschanel, and considering most of her well-known characters are in fact some version of the Manic Pixie … Continue reading Should You Write a Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

How to Write an Enneagram 1 Character

One of the hardest things about writing characters is making sure they’re different enough from each other that a reader can tell them apart. There are multiple ways to do this: base them on real people, give them qualities of different animals or elements, use a personality typing system, make it up as you go and hope it works.  The Enneagram personality typing system is … Continue reading How to Write an Enneagram 1 Character

An Open Letter to All of My Facebook Friends

Dearest Acquaintance Facebook Tells Me I Once Knew, I don’t recall the exact moment we became friends or even who sent the initial request. It was the thing to do at the time, a way to say, I see you and I recognize your worth as a part of my life. Or something like that. Like I said, it’s been a while. We may not … Continue reading An Open Letter to All of My Facebook Friends

Channel Your Inner Twitter Mob: A Guide to Communicating Effectively

You’ve got something to say. But how do you say it so that people will listen? How do you preemptively head off pointless arguments? Keep people reading until the end? How can you be sure you’ll get your meaning across every single time? The art of communication is one that you’ll spend your whole life perfecting. Language is constantly changing, culture is constantly changing, people … Continue reading Channel Your Inner Twitter Mob: A Guide to Communicating Effectively

When Metaphor Breaks Down

We as a species love to speak in metaphor. Perhaps it’s a learned trait, perhaps it’s hardwired somewhere in the poetic soul of humanity. Perhaps it’s just our feeble attempt to grapple with things and ideas that would otherwise be incomprehensible or our desperation to avoid careful, nuanced understanding at all costs. Many experts and laypeople have written about metaphor and its relation to thought—does … Continue reading When Metaphor Breaks Down

Writing Realistic Dialogue: How Real is Too Real?

If you struggle with writing dialogue, you’re definitely not alone. As a big part of characterization, dialogue can be the difference between whether a reader loves or hates your characters. Dialogue that’s not broken up by action can be confusing, but too many dialogue tags can bog down your writing. Plus, people tend to talk differently than they write. Should you include slang or speech … Continue reading Writing Realistic Dialogue: How Real is Too Real?

Stop Putting Commas Before Verbs!

My dearest internet writers who have chosen quantity over quality and eschewed the laws of grammar in the name of poorly constructed stream of consciousness sentences, this one is for you. Rather, I suppose, it is meant for you, but it is really and truly for the grammarians and pedants of the world who will read this and agree with it and perhaps even share … Continue reading Stop Putting Commas Before Verbs!