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!

What Does Your Favorite Classic Monster Say About You?

You see them lurking in the shadows. You hear their howls on the wind. You feel them brush past, prickling awareness on your skin. As vegetation begins to rot and a chill invades the air, they sneak back into our collective consciousness en masse, awaiting their rightful place as the kings and queens of Halloween. Monsters. If there’s one thing we can learn from their … Continue reading What Does Your Favorite Classic Monster Say About You?

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 a criticism of general writing instruction rather than the specific … Continue reading The 5-Paragraph Essay Will Be Your Best Friend in College

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? Prosody, for the purpose of this article1, is the musical … Continue reading You’re Saying More Than You Think You Are