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
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
In his comedy special “New In Town” John Mulaney remarks that the satisfaction of cancelling plans is akin to using heroin. Having never used heroin myself, I can neither confirm nor deny the validity of this statement; I can however affirm that I love not doing things. I’m a homebody through and through, and I can’t remember any time in my existence where I would … Continue reading No, You Can’t Reinvent the Wheel, But…
My wife and I got our first dog together in November of 2019. I should first clarify by saying that of course we grew up with dogs, both us with labradors whom we loved and adored, but the dog we took in during the waning months of 2019 was our dog. Like never before in our lives we were solely responsible for the health and … Continue reading 5 Things About Writing That I Learned From My Dog
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?
Your fingers hover the keyboard. You inhale deeply. Then you do it: you type the words “The End.” You exhale. You blink back tears of joy. You’ve finished the first draft of your story! It hasn’t been easy, but you’ve pushed through. You’ve done the thing. You finished your draft. Then you think, “Now what?” First, take a break. Read that book you’ve been putting … Continue reading How to Edit Your First Draft
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!
From March through the end of August, I experienced a major creative dry spell that convinced me I wasn’t a writer anymore. I was just a person who happened to write sometimes. But my dad, another evening writer, gifted me The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron because his friend said it was life-changing. I’m sure it is, but I barely made it past Week One, … Continue reading Mourning My Morning Pages
As writers, we’ve all been there. Staring at a blank page, an idea humming in the back of your mind. You write a sentence. Read it. Delete it. Rinse and repeat. You know what you want to write. You have ideas and characters and a general idea of the setting or aesthetics. But the words won’t come. The story won’t spark. What do you do? … Continue reading How to Spark Your Writing with Mood Boards
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